I heard a podcast this week with the author of “This is Marketing,” Seth Godin.  One of the topics he discussed was the price.  He pointed out if people buy your product because it is the cheapest you spend, the rest of that product’s life justifies why it is what it is.  You are always apologizing for your product.  If instead, you produce a product worth something, you only apologize when you first sell it and never again.

It reminded me of two of Willmar Electric’s core values, thrifty, and meet customer needs.

Whenever we describe thrifty, we always point out thrifty means best value, not cheap.  When we say thrifty, we mean good stewardship and wise use of resources.

Whenever we describe meeting customer needs, we always point out meeting customer needs means finding the level they need for their particular situation.  We don’t want to tell them later why our product isn’t working for them because we “give them what they asked for.”  It is our job to find out what they need and work with them to accomplish their goals.

The best example I can think of to illustrate Seth Godin’s concept is a personal story from my time with Jay Tornquist.  The first time Jay gave me a ride, he apologized for not having air conditioning in his car.

Jay told me when he bought the car, he wanted to make sure he bought a reliable car.  He wanted a car that wouldn’t require high maintenance costs and would last a long time.  So, Jay did research and then bought a Honda. Jay told me it was the most reliable car on the market, but when the dealer calculated the price for him, it was clear he could afford either an extended warranty or air conditioning.   Because having a car that lasts forever was his priority at the time, he got an extended warranty.

He then laughed and said, “it was a mistake. I did the research and got a reliable car, so I never used the extended warranty.  But every time I give somebody a ride, I have to apologize for not having air conditioning.”

Jay was continually apologizing and having a laugh about his lack of A/C to me.  Seth Godin is right. When you purchase solely for the price, you “get what you pay for” and never stop talking about it.  When you buy what you need, you forget the price and enjoy the product.

(Hopefully, this doesn’t lead to anybody needing to return gifts you have already purchased for a loved one).