We won’t lose on price.

Who do I need to beat here?

How low do you want me to go on this quote?

We’ll do anything to win this.

 

These may sound like sleezy sales clichés from TV … but they are the lines I hear every day.  If you’re wondering what kind of back-alley bootlegging business I’m in to hear this kind of hustle-talk every day…. you may be surprised to know it’s information technology.  As a Solution Consultant, I shop for the technology and communication solutions that businesses depend on: internet, phone systems, carrier circuits, call center software, etc. 

There seems to be this ingrained misconception that ‘buying direct” is always a better deal.  Perhaps it’s all the commercials we’ve heard for years, where businesses claim to have “cut out the middle man” to bring you the “lowest price in town.”  And it makes sense.  It seems logical that if there is an intermediary, there has to be an increase in cost to pay that extra player, right?

Wrong. 

I’m here to tell you what companies don’t want you to know: if you don’t have someone in the industry negotiating on your behalf, you are likely getting ripped-off.        

Technology consultants have leverage with these companies– it’s not just one sale that’s on the line, every quote they provide to us is like an audition to earn more of our future business.  So, we get to find out how low they really can go.

Fluffy pricing
What does that mean for the end-customer? 
It means substantially lower prices than going directly to the supplier.

In this DIY, instant access, on-demand age where we are so used to “google-ing” to find what we need and buying it with one simple Be tap of our finger, it may seem outdated to reach out to a third-party industry specialist when adding or upgrading technology. But that’s exactly what the suppliers are counting on– that you will trust your own buying power and internet comparison shopping and will accept their advertised or directly-provided quotes. Here’s the secret: that’s not the best deal.  They gave you the fluffy, extra padding, “let’s hope they fall for it” price.

I know this for a fact because I regularly look at my customer’s bills, I see the quotes that have come in from direct salespeople, and then I see the quote I receive after negotiating with the suppliers for the customer.  The difference can be shocking.  Phone lines? Half the price. Cloud and data services, software as a service, and subscription-based tools?  Anywhere from 25-75% lower. Internet service? Depending on where the salespeople are at in the quarter and how close they are to their quota can change the deal dramatically.

Not only are you potentially getting taken on the price, but you may be buying a service or tool that isn’t the best fit for you.   When shopping direct for what you THINK you need, what company is going to tell you otherwise?  What business would steer you away  from buying their product? 

ask yourselfThat’s like a BMW salesperson telling you that a Mercedes is really a better fit for your needs.  Ha! Not happening.  

This is where a neutral third party advisor comes in– someone whose whole job revolves around knowing what’s available on the market, what it really should cost, and who provides the highest quality of product.  Not only do these advisors know where to get the best value, but they have a vested interest in your success.  If you see improvements in efficiency and effectiveness in your business due to their recommendations, well, you’re likely to come back to them in the future, right? Information Technology Consultants have your back– they are your coach, cheerleaders, offense and defense all in one.  Their success is dependent on your success, not on making a quick sale and moving on.

Skeptical? That’s understandable in this day and age.  

So find out for yourself.

Whether you are in the market for new technology to take your business to the next level, or you’re just curious about your current investments, contact an IT consultant for an assessment.  Some will provide all the hours of analyses and research for free to see whether improvements could be made.

What can it hurt?   There are only 2 possible outcomes: either you celebrate to find out you have the best fit technology for your needs at the best possible price, or you find out where you could be getting a better value.  Either way you gain valuable insights, and either way, you win.

If nothing else, take this advice from an industry insider: slow down and get a second opinion before you sign on the dotted line for any new business IT service or technology.  Consider getting a second opinion from a vendor-neutral advisor on what will bring the most value, efficiency and success to your organization.

You'll be glad you did.

 

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