Cutting corners

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I was just party to the greatest line from a salesman I have ever heard and I thought it would be worthwhile to share the story.

While in the process of getting a couple of bids for a few home improvements I had narrowed my search down to two well respected local contractors. When their respective quotes came in one was nearly double the price of the other, though everything else seemed pretty much the same. When I asked the higher priced contractor why his bid was twice the price of the other (without my even mentioning the other contractor’s name) he simply said something I will never forget.

“I don’t cut corners.”

In 4 short words, he skillfully managed to disparage the other contractor, make me worried, assume his offering was the most valuable, and assign guilt if I chose any course other than his.

Brilliant.

Of course, his 4 words were more than just a sales tactic. Truth is, he actually believes that if another contractor can do the same work for less they must be cutting corners. Why? Because he’s asking for a fair price for what he’s doing and assumes the others are as well. Ergo, if all things are equal the lower cost offering must be cutting corners.

What’s interesting to me about this logic is just how flawed it is. If a gardener takes 8 hours to cut your lawn with a pair of scissors is the kid next door with a lawnmower cutting corners when he does it in 10 minutes? I don’t think so.

If PS Audio can produce a state-of-the-art product for 1/4 the price of someone else by virtue of clever design is that cutting corners, or just smart?

It is tempting to assume that when something’s cheaper it’s less valuable.

Truth is, it may just be smarter.