We sell software as a service to manufacturing and large industrial businesses and we have trouble keeping our prices low, the reason is simple: time. Many of our clients require a number of procedures to be followed for issuing a purchase order and buying our product. An introductory call, a product demo, a proposal, and then a purchase order followed by a cheque. Contrast that procedure with an online product where the user shows up, reads the website, tries the app and enters credit card details. The time involved in the former procedure impedes our ability to lower our prices further, but we have ideas!. This basic concept of time = money is probably best summarized by the great Benjamin Franklin,
”What price the price of that book?” at length asked a man who had been dawdling for an hour in the front store of Benjamin Franklin’s newspaper establishment. “One dollar,” replied the clerk. “One dollar,” echoed the lounger; “can’t you take less than that?” “One dollar is the price,” was the answer.
The would-be purchaser looked over the books on sale a while longer, and then inquired: “Is Mr. Franklin in?” “Yes,” said the clerk, “he is very busy in the press-room.” “Well, I want to see him,” persisted the man. The proprietor was called, and the stranger asked: “What is the lowest, Mr. Franklin, that you can take for that book?” “One dollar and a quarter,” was the prompt rejoinder. “One dollar and a quarter! Why, your clerk asked me only a dollar just now.” “True,” said Franklin,” and I could have better afforded to take a dollar than to leave my work.”
The man seemed surprised; but, wishing to end a parley of his own seeking, he demanded: “Well, come now, tell me your lowest price for this book.” “One dollar and a half,” replied Franklin. “A dollar and a half! Why, you offered it yourself for a dollar and a quarter.” “Yes,” said Franklin coolly, “and I could better have taken that price then than a dollar and a half now.”
The man silently laid the money on the counter, took his book, and left the store, having received a salutary lesson from a master in the art of transmuting time, at will, into either wealth or wisdom. -From Pushing to the Front, 1911
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