Mike and I didn't buy a bed, Katie and I did. And it was slightly before the whole "we'll ship it to your door in a 4" cube and WHAMMO it expands into the perfect bed and it's all yours for $16 and if you don't love it send it right back" thing happened. And I still don't understand that whole thing, but I digress.
We went first to this nice looking furniture store and a guy there spent a bunch of time with us and led us through what was around and he learned about us and helped us out a lot. And then since we were spending a whole pile of money on this thing and we were on Rockville Pike where there are about 60 mattress stores within 100 yards, we told him "thanks, we need to look around at other stuff, there's a good chance we'll be back."
The next place we went to was like the "leave off the last S for Savings!" place and we got the whole "what do I need to do to put you two in a new mattress today?!?!?" bit. And at the end, that price was some amount less than the first place's. So we went back to the first place and said "we'd really prefer to buy this from you, their price is less, help us get to you." It was an expensive purchase and the differential was significant. He couldn't get us really too much closer, their costs were higher and people need to make money and smart sellers realize that you do need to make your minimum on everything no matter what and that's that. So as I recall he was able to give us the pretty expensive pillows that matched the mattress. And that was it, we bought from him.
The reason I think of this now is that I recently had the cycle where a person calls up, "I love the blog and what you guys do, I've really been able to become informed about wheels through it" and asks for the recommendations I can give him. I'm genetically incapable of holding back on these things, and I genuinely take it for granted that people will reward this with a sale if the parameters match, so I give him the best I've got. All told we spend almost a half hour on the phone together. And then the next day the guy calls back and says he's been shopping my recommendations around and he's got a lower price on one of the top recs and he's going to buy there if he chooses that one, and can we do any better on the price given for the other recommendation.
I get it that people do that. I get it that people shop price. I just give the bed example as an illustration of my process when I'm on the other side, which flavors my process when I'm on this side. We do a lot of work to help people. It's not easy or free, and so it has to, at some point, fold into our prices. Which aren't generally anything like high anyhow. If we create your decision, I do get bemused when that isn't rewarded with a sale. Most people in sales experience this phenomenon, and most are along the spectrum of my reaction to it, I would guess.
My take is that I'd like to see the people giving real value stick around and thrive. There are a lot of ways of giving value. We do a lot on the blog and through email and phone calls. Other people go to live events and do other things. Some people do the "what can I do to get you into a new set of wheels today" thing. Those aren't the ones I'd like to see survive.
It's just about Halloween, which means that it's just about to the end of the month, which means that the current pre-order is about to close. Yes I realize the slight irony of placing this sentence at the end of this blog.