“He who hopes to have customers because he sells cheaply doesn’t understand what this is all about”

“He who hopes to have customers because he sells cheaply doesn’t understand what this is all about.” It’s almost ten years since I was offered this advice and I don’t think I appreciated its magnitude, its importance back then. But the truth is I never forgot it, and have kept it in mind ever since. I must also admit that my experience of entrepreneurship has taught me that for many entrepreneurs there are several stages.

Sell cheap: because they are starting out and need to gain market share as soon as possible.

Sell at only the cost of the material: when they are learning or perfecting their technique and to cover the cost of this learning process with the customer.

Sell at real cost: when the experience and quality of the work supports it. This is where the advice makes sense, because every time someone who has prepared, invested time and money in perfecting their skills charges less than what their work is really worth, it not only detracts from the value of their time, knowledge or talent, but in turn detracts from the work of an entire profession.

If there is one thing I have learned, it is that price is an important requirement to make a sale, but not the primary one. There will always be someone willing to do a “similar” job to yours for less money, and it is in the “similar” where the difference lies.

My experience is that I never had the lowest prices on the market, I believe my business was closer to being one of the most expensive. And we knew it, so we were willing to do what the rest did not do: work at dawn for express orders, never say that we were unable to solve a problem for a customer, forget about weekends, and work whenever possible with top quality materials.

The first time I was told “You are expensive, but I come here because I solve everything,” I smiled and that advice of years back came to my mind: “He who hopes to have customers because he sells cheaply doesn’t understand what this is all about.”

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