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Tell Me The Price

An entry I wrote a couple weeks ago, "The Perfect Presentation", sparked a lot of interest. One of the points of debate was my comment about listing the price on the opening slide of a presentation. The outcry of course came from companies where their price needs to be "justified." Let me explain why price needs to be there no matter how much the solution costs.

The first thing any manager, especially an IT manager, is going to be thinking is "I wonder if we can afford this thing?" In my experience, most managers won't ask the price outright, we will wait patiently until you tell us. The problem is while you think you are wowing us with this awesome presentation, we are only half paying attention because we keep thinking we can't afford this. Remember in the last entry, we were already concerned about keeping people's attention because of the heavy interrupt nature of business today.

Second let's assume you make it through the presentation and we were paying attention to most of it, and for the most part we got it. You finally have to tell us how much it costs, and everyone quickly realizes there is no way that they can afford it. Everyone just wasted a few hours on something we think is a nice to have but we can't afford. 

In fairness, it is easy to lead with price if low cost is one of your key features. Of course these companies typically need to quickly follow up with confirmation that the product still has quality. If price is not a key feature, i.e. your solution needs to be "justified," then some statement about cost should be made. If it needs to be justified, then state some of those justifications right along with the price. One vendor I met with basically stated the price next to quotes from customers stating savings. 

The point is get it out upfront and deal with it. Worst case this train wrecks the presentation. That's OK. The supplier is not there to provide entertainment and we are not there because we need an extra meetings in our day. We have a problem and we need to jointly determine if your products will solve those problems at a price we can afford.