REAL ISSUES. REAL ANSWERS: ‘Cherry Pickers’ and Detailed Price Quotes

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Real Issues Real Answers-March 2015The challenge of whether or not to provide detailed price quotes, complete with individual product quantities and prices, is a sticky one indeed. On the one hand, customers appreciate transparency—and a detailed quote leaves nothing to the imagination. Unfortunately, it also opens the door to customers shopping your quote to competitors, and choosing to buy only the lowest priced items from you. One reader summed it up nicely: “We’ve been cherry picked. We do not like it.” This month, hundreds of readers took the time to weigh in on the delicate issue of… ‘Cherry Pickers’ and Detailed Price Quotes

The Issue
This month’s excellent question came from a pro dealer in the North Central states who wrote: “Our experienced sales associates have the customers’ confidence that we can estimate timely and accurately. The challenge arises when they ask for a list with quantities and pricing. I don’t want to use our expertise to enable them to cherry pick pricing or use my quantities to price out at a box store, (in essence doing their job). How can I not give them both quantities and prices if my competitor does? If I don’t give both, is it not encouraging a straight to the bottom line mentality? I don’t want them to cherry pick, but I don’t want it to be an ‘all or nothing’ implication.”

As we do each month, we emailed a brief survey to subscribers who have opted in to receive our communications. This month, more than 300 readers shared how their companies deal with this issue. A big thank you to those who took time from their day to join this important conversation.

To begin, we wanted to discover the extent of detail that readers provide in their price quotes. As you’ll see from the question and responses below, LBM Journal readers lean heavily towards transparency, with full-line lumberyards overall providing more detailed quotes than specialty dealers/distributors.

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Rick Schumacher

Rick Schumacher is the editor and publisher of LBM Journal, and has more than 24 years experience covering the industry.