Irrational Competitors and Irrational Buyers

Tammy is my seat mate on a flight from Atlanta to Columbus after OutBound. She asked about dealing with irrational competitors and irrational buyers.

There is nothing you can do about irrational competitors. They are willing to go places you cannot—and should not—follow. They promise to deliver value in excess of their low prices, and even though the opposite is more likely true, they still win clients. As unlikely as it may seem, they also keep clients. But there is nothing you can do about your competitor, other than improving your ability to sell value.

Irrational buyers are different. There are some irrational buyers that simply can’t be reached. Despite how smart they are, and despite the level of their education, some people simply believe that the greatest value is the minimally acceptable outcome at the lowest price. They are immune to claims of greater value, and they are impervious to any attempt to teach them that “barely good enough” isn’t “good enough,” even when it costs them more money.

There are some buyers, however, who can be moved from irrational to rational. They can be taught that there are outcomes that are worth paying more to obtain, even though it may take a long time to make your case well enough—or long enough—to persuade them. If you can help these buyers who are susceptible to taking in new information, you can show them how they are spending more by being cheap.

The trick here is to spend your time where you have a chance of moving someone. Your most irrational buyers belong to your most irrational competitors. There is no reason you should stand between two irrational parties who are going to work together, even though they can’t stand each other, one promising more than they deliver, the other expecting more than they are paying for.

Instead, work only where you have a chance for success, and don’t spend time with people who refuse to perceive value in your solution.

Filed under: Psychology

Tagged with:

Share this page with your network