When your customers whine, “It’s too expensive!”
I got an email this morning from Tomáš, a subscriber to my “other” newsletter for software developers:
I like your newsletter and I would like to buy your book. But for my country (Czech Republic), even after discount, the book is still too expensive. I have no doubt that your book is great and worth the value. Still, I have lot of another interesting books in my list for half the price.
You have on website: “As a developer, I value my time at $100/hr …”
As a developer, I value my time at $16/hr and I am expensive with this price in my country.
Please, consider better price for Czech / Eurepean users. I am perfectly willing to give $12, at most $17 to be on price I’m used to give for books of that type.
The book he’s referring to is priced at $32 after the discount I’m offering.
And I don’t doubt that wages are quite different between the U.S. and many other countries.
So shouldn’t I cut him a break and lower the price?
Well, I would—if I was a greedy money grubber who didn’t care about his success.
But if I want him to actually learn to use the tool I’m teaching so he can grow as a software developer and eventually increase his income—then the answer is NO.
Here’s a quick story that illustrates why:
Earlier this year, one of my clients gave me access to an online course about building high-converting funnels.
They’d paid $2,000 for the course, and they were offering it to me for “free.”
I’ve taken other courses by this marketer, and I’m sure his funnel course is excellent.
However… I never even looked at any of the material.
Around the same time, I also got access to John Carlton’s Simple Writing System course. This is an intense, 8-week deep dive on copywriting, with 15-20 hours of video, two thick books, and tons of homework.
It’s a beast to get through. Takes a lot of motivation.
And yet I’ve been through all the lectures 3 times—taking extensive notes. I read both books 3 times. I dedicated hours to the homework assignments.
What made the difference?
I paid the full price of $2,000 to learn from John Carlton.
And that motivated me to suck every ounce of value I could out of his course.
There are plenty of legitimate reasons to offer lower prices at times.
But whiny customers looking to add to their dust-collecting digital library?
Not one of ’em.
Thanks for the thought-provoking post. I have a slightly different take on this subject. When a potential customer says “Your product is too expensive!” as a generalization, it’s a likely sign of a bad, whiny customer. But when such a customer says “Your product is too expensive for me, right now,” it’s often a sign that they are sufficiently motivated but can’t justify the expense. For them, paying $75 for a $150 product might feel more like paying $500.
What’s important is that customers have “skin in the game,” having made a commitment to themselves by putting a painful-to-lose amount of money on the line, not whether they pay the full retail price. As a result, I frequently give discounts to those who request them for personal reasons (e.g., students, foreign readers, those who are temporarily unemployed, etc.). Tellingly, they often come back and buy the full-price product when they can afford it.
I think it’s safe to ignore people who complain about price in general, but a request for a price cut tied to a specific reason could be a sign of someone who might, with a generous but not too-generous discount, become a grateful and loyal customer.