The Whores of Corporate America

We are the Whores of Corporate America.  We succumb to outside pressure and do unnatural things in order to close business to satisfy an artificial time-line.  It starts innocently enough, with an offering of a discount on some small transaction that we’re being pushed to bring in before the end of the month.  But as time goes on, we, our managers, and customers get used to the “end of the month” or “end of the quarter” deal.  We come to expect it.

The problem, of course, with this lowest-common-denominator sales tactic is that it sends the wrong message to our customers.  Instead of conveying to our customers that they always get a fair price for the goods or services we provide, we inadvertently tell them that if they wait us out, they’ll get a better price.  And so, instead of transactions closing naturally, in line with an actual need, our deals get bunched up at the end of a reporting period.  Stress levels go up, prices come down – all because of some day that we’ve decided is more important than others.

The next time you decide to drop your pants to get a deal within the month or quarter, consider the implications.  What are you conditioning your customer to expect on future deals?  How are you changing their buying habits and negotiating tactics?  Is this permanent (and believe me it will be permanent) price action the precedent you want to set?

Before you break down and concede on price, just to meet some artificially important date, remember:  You’ll need business next quarter too.

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One Response to “The Whores of Corporate America”

  1. Wil Brawley Says:

    Here lies the difference between being part of a public company vs. a private company. Private companies may still use the same idiotic tactics, but they do so of their own volition. We never discounted to get business closed until we sold our company to a large public company. Within a month or two of closing, we were fighting tooth and nail not to be pressured to go down that slippery slope. We of course lost the fight and our culture changed almost overnight. My philosophical problem with that was that we were now trying to close business on our time frame, not on the customer’s time frame. We lost credibility and tarnished our reputation as a highly customer-focused, consultative organization.

    I suspect it’s tough to avoid using discounts and other incentives to close business on your company’s time frame, vs. the customer’s time frame, if you are A) part of a public company and B) not already ahead of your monthly (or quarterly, semi-annual, etc.) goal. How do you navigate around that?

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