Vitamins versus painkillers versus heart surgery

In sales, people often talk about “vitamins versus painkillers.” People should take their vitamins, but they have a much stronger incentive to take their painkillers.

If you get a lot of “that sounds great, but we’re just too busy right now”, you may be trying to sell vitamins to people with migraines.

If you get people who want to buy, but they’re doing a lot of comparison shopping, trying to chisel away every nickel, you’re selling painkillers. Why, because if you go to the grocery store for painkillers, you can get the exact same drug in a generic bottle for less money than a big brand’s version of the same drug. There’s no differentiation of results, only of packaging. Why wouldn’t you want to save money.

If you need heart surgery, you don’t ask “who’s got the cheapest option?” You don’t search on Groupon for someone running a special on heart surgery. You want the best doctor and best facility you can find. Price is still relevant, but you start with the getting the best, then figuring out what it will cost and how to afford it.

If you’re doing heart surgery on your customers’ businesses, you will get a lot of questions about results and process, but price will be secondary, and the work will be much more interesting than doling out aspirin.

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