I travel every week, and I often schedule a car service to go to the airport. The last several times I’ve gotten the same older gentleman who is charming without being over-bearing with conversation. (I don’t like too much chit-chat.)
When we get to the airport, I ask “What do I owe you?” Each time I get the same response, “Pay me whatever you like.”
I thought he was joking at first, but when I asked him again and got the same answer, I realized he was serious. I was a little taken aback. What do you do in a situation like that?
Because I know what the approximate fare to the airport is, I pay that amount plus a nice tip. But I was curious as to why he doesn’t quote a price, and I wondered how others respond to him. So, last week I had enough time before my flight to inquire.
He explained he enjoys studying people. By giving his clients the opportunity to pay him whatever they like, he gets to observe the psychology of mankind.
“Are people usually fair with you,” I asked.
“Yes. Almost everyone pays about what the fare would be anyway. Some people are more generous. Rarely, do I get someone who stiffs me,” he explained.
Think about your customers or clients. Would you feel confident enough to allow them to pay you whatever they like?
Doesn’t it make sense that if you meet or exceed market expectations that your customers would be happy to pay a fair price – or perhaps even a bonus? We’d all like to think so, but do you have the courage to test that assumption?
Unless you are in an extremely unique type of business, most buyers should have a general sense of what the fair market value of your product or service is. Would they honor that? In many respects, it’s a way for them to rate the quality of your product or service – voting with their checkbooks, so to speak.
I realize it isn’t practical for most of us to actually put this to the test. But the next time you send an invoice or quote a price, think about my car service driver and ask yourself, “If my customer could pay me based on the value they received, would my price and theirs be the same?” Makes you think, doesn’t it?
Dale Furtwengler is an expert on pricing for small businesses. Learn more in this recent interview with Dale.