31 May

It’s only…

This post is actually just a regurgitated Facebook conversation I had with someone a couple of days ago, but here goes…

A couple of weeks back, I popped into my local leisure centre. This isn’t my usual leisure centre (which I pay a monthly membership fee to use) – it’s one I pop into if I’m in a rush, as it’s closer to home.
As I’m not a member of this place, I have to pay £4.30 each time I swim there.
I only go every so often, so it’s not worth me having two memberships at different centres.
The sales manager at the centre, put to me that I spend ‘£4.30 here, £4.30 there’ and that I should take a two-monthly membership, paid for up front, for ‘only £75’.
I said that I have a membership elsewhere and only pop in ‘as and when’.
‘But it’s only £75!’, she said.

And therein lies my issue. It’s not ‘only £75’: that £75 is not the only thing to leave my bank account. It’s £75 in addition to any other monthly payments I have to make. It’s ‘a spare £75’, rather than ‘only £75’.

For some reason, when selling products or services, the seller – sometimes, not always – only seems to think of cost in isolation. Their customer doesn’t appear to have any other monthly outgoings, and will just consider the cost of one product/service: ‘it’s only £400’.
Actually, it’s £1,500 of existing monthly commitments plus that £400, so £1,900 in total.

The original conversation I had, was in relation to business networking costs. A six-month membership is £200 (plus a fee for each individual meeting), but if you’re just starting up, this isn’t ‘only £200’ in isolation – it’s £200 in addition to your essential outgoings, just to be up and running; website/email hosting, business cards, travel costs, rent etc.
Those things have to come first for that business to even function, day to day. If you have ‘a spare £200’, after those essential outgoings, then you can buy the six-month membership package.
Having said that, I can’t knock business networking – it really helped me, in terms of finding both clients and collaborators.

But… instead of selling the cost of your product as ‘only £x’, why not show a little empathy; ‘look, I know you’ve got to cover [insert costs here], but this may well help you by bringing in an additional £x, which would cover those costs, plus a bit more’.
If a person genuinely hasn’t got the money in their pocket, they’ll still say no, regardless.
If they have got the money, and can start to see the old ‘speculate to accumulate’ route, then they’ll stump up.

It’s just about framing things differently. Try to avoid putting things as ‘only’ a certain amount – you have no idea what other commitments someone has or what they’re willing to spend.

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