Pound Stupid

A woman from Australia had placed a $180 book order, which I told her would be filled once my trip was over.

She wrote a day ago to cancel it because “the Australian dollar has declined against the US dollar, and she’s going to wait until the exchange rate is more favorable.”

I told her she would never make it in this business with that kind of small-time thinking, and she became very offended. She told me that she wasn’t as clueless as I supposed. I told her that I thought she was, and that she ought to be thinking about the next hundred thousand dollars and how professional development would help her get there. If she orders again I might not fill the order, because I don’t like wasting my books.

The markets are going crazy, but people are on the streets, buying coffee, discussing sports, and debating politics. People will eat in restaurants tonight, and cars will be purchased. (What do you know, oil prices are declining because usage declined, which is a natural market reaction.)

If you want to be successful as an entrepreneur, you had better be thinking about the next hundred grand, not the next dollar or thousand or ten thousand. Stop worrying about where to buy less expensive furniture or cheaper gas. It doesn’t matter in the long run, and it provides for a poverty mentality.

You don’t have to look far to find successful people in this and other professions. Are they better than you? Luckier? Liars?

No, they are simply disciplined, organized, and big picture thinkers. They don’t panic. The look through a telescope, not a microscope. They don’t spend $3,000 of their time trying to save $50 on a new cell phone.

This is a business which calls for powerful people to be impressed by your value and authorize a check for it, whether or not it’s been previously budgeted, or the timing isn’t perfect, or the operation will be disrupted.

They aren’t going to buy from someone who asks for their parking ticket to be validated, or who waits to read something helpful until the exchange rate is better and they can save three bucks.

I know I don’t want to deal with them.

© Alan Weiss 2008. All rights reserved.

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5 Responses to Pound Stupid

  1. Is this what you think of all your customers? I’m not sure I would agree with how you handled the situation. Rather than make the sale later, which is what the customer wanted, you lost the sale entirely by offending her.

    I understand your overall point; business goes on regardless of the economy. Successful people are going to do what it takes to make the sale and impress the client by demonstrating their value. If you nickel & dime your business transactions it will cost more in the end than you tried to save.

    So, you don’t want to waste your time with this person and their cancelled order. That’s fine, move on. No need to guilt her into buying your books. Just say “Sorry you feel that way.”, and fulfill the other orders. I’m sure you had many more upon your return.

  2. Alan Weiss says:

    Thanks for your advice, but that’s what YOU would do, not I. I’m not interested in making book sales, I’m interested in helping people, and she needs a shock if she’s going to be helped. I don’t think you understand my point at all. It’s not about the economy, it’s about how you think. I’d rather lose a sale and try to help her understand her error, then make a sale and enable the wrong mentality. That’s my point.

  3. Sam says:

    Alan,

    The real kicker here is that retail exchange rate includes the bank’s margin (often ranges 10-20 cents on any currency) – which essentially means that, for small transactions it does not matter what the exchange rate is at the moment. Same applies for filling up the tank with “cheaper” gas from across the town. One may save a few bucks and drive around for hours (to and from) to get it.

    That was ignorance on part of the buyer.

    The ignorance on part of the seller is not educating the buyer about these things. Had you just mentioned that the total cost of the order will be higher by 2-3 dollars (or that you can give the buyer a whopping $3 discount to complete the sale), you would have had another happy customer.

    In this case, Inanity defined both egos involved in the transaction.

  4. Alan Weiss says:

    Thanks for your profound psychological insights, but you project your needs and your values to others. The real “kicker” here is that you feel it important to make an ad hominem attack due to your own insecurities. Keep your psychoanalysis to yourself and your own actions.

  5. Daryl Mather says:

    Guys – the real “kicker” was that this lady wasn’t willing to step out and invest in her future. That’s the point. (Darn it)

    She was quibbling over nothing without an eye to the value that the product (the book) offered. The result, pennies saved dollars lost.

    Smart move…

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