List price. Are you using this term in your sales strategy? If you are, you might as well replace it with Sucker Price. But you would never write that on your sales and marketing materials, would you? Of course not. You wouldn't want to offend your customers. Yet having a "list price" is saying exactly the same thing to your prospects.

Every seasoned consumer knows that when the word price is preceded by "list", the price he is being shown is not the only price. It is a starting point, a price among many. List price means you want your customer to have to haggle with you, but more importantly, it says that your product is not really worth the full price you're asking. Is that what you really want to be saying about your product? That it's not worth the money you are trying to charge for it? That you have so little confidence in the product's value that it can be had for less by those who press you? Probably not.

List price states loud and clear that you will give certain customers better prices than others. And as a customer, I'm sure you feel the way I do about the idea that someone else may be getting a better deal: crappy. Having a "list price" means that buying from your company is like going to a smarmy used car lot. Your customer knows right away that you are going to be kind to some and rip off others. Is that the feeling you want your product to evoke? Is that the image you want to saddle your company with? Doubt it.

List price also indicates that you don't value your customer's time. When your customer walks in your door, he wants to get in and get out with something useful to him, as quickly as possible. "List price" prevents that from happening in every instance-- because it signals that the customer has to either sacrifice his time to push for a fair price, or resign himself to being overcharged in order to move on with his day expeditiously.

Maybe you think that "list price" is a way to allow customers to negotiate. Maybe you think that "list price" will help you earn more, because some people will pay it without arguing. Maybe you think "list price" gives customers the impression they are winning because they get a discount. If so, think about this. List price is a fast track to one thing: pissing off your customers. It will make them feel incensed, mistrustful, and disloyal.

If you want to increase sales, satisfy customers, and build a strong company, do away with the concept of list price. Instead, think about the real value of your product and price it correctly to begin with. Make it clear to prospects walking through your door that they have come to the right place--the one where they can find the right product at the right price.

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