Customers think we’re so desperate for business that they won’t buy without a discount.
Prepare for a rant.
For the past two days, I’ve been fielding phone calls from the concierge at one of Phoenix’s big resorts — you know, the kind where people dump hundreds of dollars a night to be pampered at a secluded desert paradise in the middle of the country’s sixth largest city. A guest coming in November wants to take a helicopter tour. We must have gone back and forth about a half dozen times with pricing and tour questions. Apparently, a visit to Flying M Air’s Web site, which has complete information and pricing, was beyond the capabilities of the concierge in question.
On the second to last call, it was determined that the guest wanted a flight in the vicinity of the Salt River and Apache Trail. It’s a good match for Flying M Air’s Salt River Lakes & Canyons Tour, which is about 60-70 minute long and costs $695 for up to three passengers (not each) from Scottsdale Airport. I provided this information and the concierge said she’d get back to me.
She just called again. The client says that there aren’t three people on the flight. There are just two. And they’re willing to spend $495 for the same tour — as if it’s $200 cheaper for me to fly two passengers instead of three.
In other words, they’re trying to haggle my price down.
I told the concierge that would not be possible. She was very understanding and said she already told him that. But I doubt it. I suspect she was trying to help him haggle. (I also suspect that she’d still expect her 10% referral fee on the flight, thus digging even deeper into my pockets.) She apologized and we hung up.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am not so desperate for business that I’d be willing to operate my aircraft near or below cost just to take a cheapskate and his wife flying.
But what makes these people think they can get away with bullshit like this?
I suspect that the deep discount mentality fostered by operations like Groupon and its clones has something to do with this. It’s the whole “only idiots pay retail” mindset. It’s the idea that companies have inflated their prices so they can offer discounts.
News flash: All of my clients pay retail. That’s the only pricing I have. Take it or leave it.
And my prices are already among the lowest in the area. My Scottsdale-based competitor would charge more than $1,500 for the same flight. Would Mr. Cheapskate be offering that company $495 for their tour? That company wouldn’t even turn a blade for less than $1,000.
My policy is firm: no discounts, no haggling. My services are priced fairly and I will stand by them.
Besides, I have way better things to do with my time than deal with the kind of client who doesn’t understand the value of what he’s getting for his money.