Culture and Negotiating Price
If you’ve ever lived in different countries or even different regions of the United States, you have learned that we do have real differences beyond personality. Our culture informs us of how to view life events. That’s especially true in commerce and the transaction of merchandise and services.
Examples of Cultural Issues in Pest Control Pricing
Here are a few examples of situations I’ve run across:
My technician tells me he gets really tired of certain nationalities that are always looking for bargains. He tells me, “The customer can take my price or leave it!”
This is a bad attitude informed by lack of exposure to other cultures and lack of understanding for the intent of the customer’s action. The technician gets his pride hurt when the prospect tells him that his price is too high, not understanding that in the eyes of the prospect he is taken for a fool if he doesn’t negotiate a lower price.
Actually, in most countries around the world, whether they operate on cash or a barter system, it is customary to negotiate down to the rock-bottom sale price. Americans abroad are warned not to take the market price as the final price. It is assumed that the true price is 50% off. Someone who doesn’t negotiate down is truly a sucker. You don’t want to inadvertently call your prospect a sucker, do you? You can say that the customer is in America and should behave like an American. But people don’t give up all their customs and habits overnight. It’s much harder than getting a southerner to speak without a drawl. Additionally, often these foreigners are in fact able to get a better price!
Americans Start to Negotiate Price
More recently, with the bad economy we’ve been having, more and more Americans are learning that everything is negotiable. Americans are learning from foreigners how to save. BTW, when was the last time you paid MSRP for a new vehicle?
So the next time you get a foreigner …. or a native born American negotiating, don’t insult their intelligence. Think about negotiating a bit to preserve your sale and their integrity.
Here’s another example of how I countered in negotiating with a wonderful customer from India:
The new customer offered several reasons why I should give her a better price:
1) I was referred by a great and long term customer with a great price.
2) I will be a great customer to you.
3) I am a senior citizen.
4) I live close by.
5) My house is a two story house and so there is less to spray.
To these arguments, I told her I had already applied discounts and countered the argument that a two story house was easier than a one story house.
Lastly, she told me that if she gave me a great discount that she would give me a Lord Ganesh, who is the godhead of luck and fortune in Hindu tradition – that I would certainly then prosper.
To this last argument, I had to explain that my cousin had married a women from the Hindu tradition and that I was given a Lord Ganesh, along with all the other family members, during the engagement celebration. At that point, the customer knew that she had negotiated as much as possible and gladly accepted the stated price, satisfied that she had done her best and was being serviced by a smart company that respected her tradition both in culture and in transacting the sale. “… surely Lord Ganesh will bring you good fortune!”
Take Home Lesson for Setting Prices
So consider your pricing in light of the negotiations you may be required to conduct. Determine a bottom line and create a spread that will help you keep a good profit without chasing away customers.