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#UKvUSA: What matters more: price or value?

Two continents: US and UK. Two different buying backgrounds: procurement and agency. Two alternative ways of looking at things.

I’m delighted to have teamed up with Deborah Corn from PrintMediaCentr to bring two extremely different views to some important print questions. So welcom e to Print Buying: #UKvUSA where Deborah and I share information about our experiences from both sides of the pond.

At the end of this post I have linked to Deborah’s answer to the same question. We wrote our answers (each limited to 500 words) without any idea of what the other was writing. As Deborah says: “Maybe we will agree, maybe we won’t, maybe we don’t even see the question in the same way – who knows… that’s the fun part!”

Please do leave comments, thoughts and support at the bottom of this post and on Deborah’s post.   It would be great if also posted your thoughts on Twitter, using the hashtag #UKvUSA Remember to watch out for our answers to another question next month.

#UKvUSA: What matters more: price or value??

How much should you pay for a product or service?

How much should you pay for a product or service?

There is always a cheaper price

People who buy on price will always be disappointed. They will soon find that, if only they had waited a little while, they would have found a cheaper price.

Price is a constantly moving target. It changes according to many variables. We cannot control many of them: for instance, the cost of energy and raw materials. Pricing is also often a question of timing. You can often get a great price when it’s quiet in the summer. However, for some products, you may be fighting to find capacity at any price at some points during the year.

Some people claim that you’ll remember poor quality and service for much longer than a cheap price

I think this is an out-dated idea. These days nearly all companies are capable of good quality and good service. The idea that we choose only two out of quality, service and price should be forgotten.

But there are two things that are much more important than price

The first of these is cost. Many people don’t understand the difference between price and cost. The price is what you pay the supplier for a specification. The cost is everything you pay to make a project happen.

I once employed a buyer. He was very happy that he had reduced a price for me. However, it had taken him most of the morning. The saving in price was far outweighed by the cost of his time in achieving this result.

This bring us on to value

What is value? Many sales people like to say that they sell on value. However, most people that I speak to have completely different ideas on the definition of value.

Value for one person might be beautiful print quality and excellent service. For another it might be a low price. For someone else it might be the fact that they can have an easy life.

I prefer to talk about results

Results are what ultimately matter to most buyers. Most people do not buy print. They buy the results that the print brings them.

People don’t want a catalogue or a direct mail campaign: they want more sales. They don’t want a web-to-print solution: they want more efficient purchasing administration or better brand control.

Let’s look at a case study

One printing company I know sells multi-channel campaigns to charities. When they contact the charity they don’t talk about print. They talk about the donations that the charities might be missing out on.

Suddenly, price matters much less because the discussion is about how many thousands of dollars worth of new revenues can be created.

So here’s my answer

Whether you are buying or selling printing (or anything else for that matter), don’t talk about price. Don’t discuss value. Focus on results.

How did Deborah tackle this question? See here. Look out for the next #UKvUSA battle next month!

P.S. If you are attending Graph Expo, make sure you reserve a place on my workshop “How To Stop Buyers Choosing On Price” at 8am on Mon 14th September. You learn a simple 3-step system on how to create an effective results-focused sales message and great elevator pitch.


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