The Next 5

The weather report says we’re getting more freakin’ snow in Minnesota this week – 4 to 6 inches worth. In April.

I blame myself, I guess, for giving spring a big welcome a couple of weeks ago. Mother Nature seems to be enjoying herself at our expense.

But it’s gonna get warmer, right?  I mean, it has to, right?


Okay, so we’re on a power-pop Raspberries kick this week.  This is one sweet summer song by the boys from Cleveland…”Drivin’ Around” was from their October, 1972 album Fresh, but wasn’t released as a single until 1974. It didn’t chart, but it’s a hell  of a warm weather tune!

We’re spending the next several blog posts going over the answers to our 35 question True/False quiz on price, value, selling and what’s important to customers (click here to review, click here to download the quiz).  In the last entry we discussed the first five questions.  Now let’s look at questions 6 through 10:

#6. Price is more important than availability:  FALSE.

This one’s kinda easy – doesn’t matter how cheap something is, if you can’t get it you can’t get it. You have to get something else, especially if you’re a contractor and you have a job to do.  Or if you’re a homeowner and you need a job done – if you can’t get the cheap guy (usually because he’s so busy working cheap), you can’t get him. You either wait, or get someone else who won’t be as cheap.

Availability trumps price every day of the week.

And twice on Sundays.

#7 I’d rather compete with an idiot than a crook.  FALSE.

When it comes to pricing his services, an idiot doesn’t know any better.  He either thinks he doesn’t deserve to charge higher prices, doesn’t know how to figure his real cost of doing business or somehow thinks undercutting with low prices is the ticket to heaven.  Idiot may be a strong word, but the guy may, in fact, be very good at what he does even though he doesn’t charge nearly enough for it.

The crook, however, isn’t going to bother with low prices.  Why would he?  If you’re going to steal, steal big.  Personally, I’d much rather compete with a crook – makes me look better by comparison and I don’t have to deal with the “why can’t you do it as cheaply as this guy” comparisons.

#8.  Price is rarely the deciding factor.  TRUE!!!

I know, I know, you always hear your price is too high when you lose a job.  But how often is price the deciding factor when you buy something?  Do you buy the cheapest tubing cutter you can find?  Not if you want to cut tubing reliably. Would you buy the cheapest work boots you could find?  I would think comfort and appearance would be equally important, wouldn’t you? Would you buy the cheapest PEX tubing out there if you had to wait 4 weeks for it? Not if you needed it in 2 weeks, you wouldn’t.

In addition, there’s the old adage that states quite clearly that “if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” People are afraid of paying too high of a price for something, but they’re even more afraid of paying too low of a price for something.

Would you take the lowest price bid for a vasectomy?

Didn’t think so.

If price was truly the only deciding factor there would only be one seller of all there was to sell of any one thing.

We’ve already discussed how availability is more important than price and how service is more important than price.  Chances are if people are telling you they aren’t hiring you because your price is too high, there’s probably something else lurking that they didn’t tell.  Price might be the reason they give, but it’s rarely the real reason.

#9.  Some products are so good they will sell themselves.  WICKED, TOTALLY AND INCREDIBLY FALSE!!!

This is the modern version of the “Better Mousetrap Theory,” or BMT, which says “he who builds a better mousetrap will find that the world will beat a path to his door.”  We discussed the fallacy of the BMT in a previous blog post (click here to review), but simply stated there are no assurances that your “mousetrap” –whatever it may be – really is better.  Or that someone has the wherewithal to understand, let alone decide, that your mousetrap is better.  Or that he cares.

Nothing, my friends, nothing on this great big beautiful Earth is inherently so good that it sells itself.  Nothing.

Don’t believe me?  Ask yourself one question…

Why do we have pimps?

10. Quality is obvious. I mean, just look at it!  FALSE.

You know, that Tamockifier from Europe is pretty slick looking.  Everything from the styling to the paint job to the box looks 21st century.  The stodgy old US-made Tamockifier hasn’t changed its looks in 25 years…still the same looking thing I was putting in back when Boy George was big.

Haven’t we all been there?  New, pretty and shiny vs. reliable, consistent, the same?  Good looking is always nice, but doesn’t what’s in the box matter a lot more than what’s on the box?

Ten down, 25 more to go.  Stay tuned!

Oh yeah, and don’t forget to let me know what you think about all this.  A little feedback goes a long way!

And one last Raspberries tune to get us through the spring that never was.  Stick with it for about 28 seconds – you’ll get to the live performance of one of Rolling Stone Magazine’s top 100 singles of all time:

“Overnight Sensation” peaked at #18 on the Billboard charts in ’74, and marked the end of the band’s heyday.  They did get back together in 2005, proving that power pop ages very well indeed!  (Make sure to watch the entire video – 35 years goes by in an instant)

4 Responses to “The Next 5”

  1. I was 23 in ’74 and you can’t beat a good rif, even when Hendrix, Cream, and Santana dominated my 8-track. The helmet hair of the Raspberries and Pop in general disturbed me at the time. One of those things you regret when GREAT music was everywhere. Actually, that was 69 and 70. Now that i recall, 74 I had moved into that San Francisco sound of Doobies, Cold Blood, Tower of Power and walked into The GDead live at Santa Cruz C.C. Man, it was fun being young back then. Anyway, love your selections.

    The quiz is fun. Even for an old guy like me, in this economy it is so good to revisit the basics and discuss and reflect and remember why we do what we do; Ahem, while being good business people too.

    Thanks for your work. Keep it Real, bro.

  2. Thanks for the kind words Bob. Funny you mention Tower of Power – what a great band! Do you know what became of their bass player?

  3. Thank you for these answers, especially # 7. You stepped on my toes real good. I really needed that. I am (have been I hope) your ultimate IDIOT. Everyone compliments me on my great work, but I can’t support my family on my work. This whole series of answers finally opened my eyes.

    I cannot thank you enough for this.

  4. Thanks Alex — I’m glad you’re finding it helpful. Didn’t mean to step on your toes…but I hope you’ll be able to use the information here to make the money you deserve. Please let me know how we can help…


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