10% = "priceless"
By David Foster, Sr. Trainer, Sales Training International

We have added some new friends to the group - welcome. As always, if you are not completely satisfied with this letter, follow the directions at the bottom for a full refund.

I saw something the other day that, quite frankly, amazed me. Before I tell you what it was though, let me give you some background information.

I have a friend who is a consultant and he had just begun a project with a large industrial company based in Houston. The company, feeling the squeeze of struggling economy, had implemented a 10% pay cut across the board in an effort to cut costs without cutting people. And when I say across the board, I mean it - president, CEO, everybody. Given this environment, it was a little amazing that my friend was even able to sell them on hiring him - but that isn't the part that really impressed me.

My friend was doing his consulting stuff - developing this, training that, adjusting the other thing - and the results were fabulous. He had exceeded all of their expectations - as I am sure that all of you do whenever you interact with your customers. This still isn't the amazing part though.

When my friend sent them his invoice, he deducted 10%. When they called and asked what was going on, he explained that he was as much a part of the team as anyone else and they had all taken a 10% reduction so he should too. This was the amazing part because consultants never give money back ... in fact most consultants are looking for a way to get more money.

The impact of the gesture was far greater than the dollar amount attached to it. The reduction was only 75.00 and since there were no material costs it actually cost him nothing to do it. The client on the other hand saw a nominal financial gain and a significant subjective / emotional gain.

When I sold valves we would include a free seal kit with any valve that was purchased as a replacement for a competitor's valve. Retail value - 25.00, actual cost - 2.50, perceived subjective value to the customer - huge because it made their job easier.

Look for ways to fill the goodwill bank with your customers and remember that what is important is not the value you place on what you have done but the value they place on it. This account in the goodwill bank serves two purposes: first, you can draw against it when things go wrong (like you are going to miss a delivery date) or second you can draw interest on it in the
form of additional business. You be sure that when that industrial company needs help, the first number they dial is my friend's - not because he saved them 75.00, but because he is a part of the family.

Have a great week,
David Foster


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