No-one Ever Got Fired for Choosing IBM
Have you ever offered your services to a large business who decided that it was safer to choose a larger supplier to provide the service, possibly the elephant in your industry, even though their prices were higher?
This will often be the case where a business is buying a service for the first time and has no reference point in making the decision. It is also the case in complex sales where the relative merits of the offers are hard to differentiate.
This used to be the case in the computer industry when businesses were buying mainframe computers. Decades ago, buying a computer was a hugely expensive purchase, and the buyers really did not understand what they were paying for, even though they might have IT departments. Purchases were infrequent and while IT people understood how to operate the computers there knowledge of how they actually worked was not well understood. They were also not as reliable as computers today.
So what do buyers do in such a situation where they are making a choice which could affect their career? Why choose the safe option, the elephant. It was just easier to explain to their management that it was reasonable to pay the premium because of the elephant’s reputation. This continued long after that reputation was deserved.
Hence there was a saying in the industry “No one ever got fired for choosing IBM”. That was a long time ago.
Even longer ago IBM, aka International Business Machines, just produced typewriters and mechanical calculators. You can still see them in museums. So IBM was not always the IT elephant.
The primary reason people make a buying decision is not Price, it is Confidence that You Can Deliver. Which is why risk adverse people(and all businesses are people) will choose the elephant and pay the elephant’s prices.
How to compete with elephants?
Firstly you are likely to be cheaper because you don’t carry the overhead, but as I said, price is not why these businesses will choose you, but they can’t dismiss you yet, because they have to justify to their boss why they should pay more- so they do need to find out more about you.
Your track record and guarantees are important to demonstrate that you can deliver. The relative value of their business to you is also an important feature. Can the business call “Mr IBM” if there is a problem? Will “Mr IBM” even take their call?
How else can you convince the business that you can deliver, and that if the purchasing officer chooses IBM and pays their premium, they should be fired.
All you need to do now is to Empower yourself and take action …
May Your Business Be – As You Plan It.
Dr Greg Chapman – The Profit Whisperer
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