By Tim Rooney
Sometime in the late nineteen sixties, on a sunny afternoon in Paris, the sidewalks were alive. At a café in the Place Royale in Marais an austere woman traveler was about to experience the ultimate romance of the city. Seated beside her, nearly unrecognizable in his late age, was the famous painter Pablo Picasso.
“Je m’excuse, Mr. Picasso,” she said with her best pronunciation, “would you sketch me?” and in her request coyly slid a napkin across the table between them.
Picasso contemplated the woman for a moment then pulled a pen from his coat, saying nothing. When he finished he slid the napkin back to the woman, who nearly wept in exaltation.
“Merci, Merci!” she exclaimed, “what can I pay you?” the woman asked half-heartedly reaching for her purse.
“5000 Francs madame,” replied the painter.
“5000 Francs?! But it only took you five minutes?”
“Je m’excuse madame, in fact it took me all my life.”
The Price Objection
Ah the price objection. That stubborn, tight-purse stringedness that we understand all too well when we’re the one holding the purse – usually a last resort negotiating tactic for big purchases like televisions. And for some of us the negotiation itself can become such a thrill we find ourselves haggling over $5 trinkets in fishing towns.
But when you’re running a business the price objection is an unwelcome obstacle. Many of us find it difficult and aggravating to defend our price, especially when that price is already competitive. There is a better way.
When in business, do like Picasso
Picasso wasn’t daunted by the request of an overbearing tourist asking him to draw her portrait. Demanding clients are par for the course. Usually those same demanding clients are the ones who want the best price too.
Leaving aside the “discount debate,” have you ever thought about what you’re worth? Picasso understood that all his years of study and work as a painter created in him a value that extended far beyond five minutes of drawing. Why defend your price when you can explain your value?
Another way to contemplate value is through your differentiator. Think about computer programs with their checkmark columns that distinguish the basic kit from the premium from the professional. In these scenarios it’s obvious to see that the professional package is the most comprehensive – maybe more than you want or everything you need. But what about your competitor’s “professional package?” When all the checkmarks matchup between you and the competition, inevitably there has to be some differentiator that tips the scales of the customer’s mind – preferably in your favour.
Don’t dare to compare, be different!
Establishing the worth of your time and experience is fundamental in understanding your value. Once you know your worth you can easily communicate it to your customer. But there is a caveat – value is perceived in the mind of the customer. Lead with your differentiator, prove yourself an expert, and insist absolutely on value over price.