The Only Way to Win Is not to Play
A recent discussion on a LinkedIN forum began with a member seeking input on a couple of mid-range digital presses he was considering. The original poster (I’ll call him Tom) is the pretty savvy owner of a small print business doing his due diligence and looking for input from peers. This type of post is a good way to get a lot of first-hand knowledge and do a sanity check about the machines he’s evaluating.
Over about a month’s time, print providers, vendors, sales reps and consultants all chimed in. Now, with the end of the quarter looming, the sales sharks are circling, hitting him with deals that (naturally) must be signed immediately—or “the price will go up steeply.” But busy running his business, Tom doesn’t have time to read the fine print and run the numbers, much less commit himself to a deal that may not be in his best interest. He just knows he’s made it clear that, having done his testing, price will make the difference in which machine he buys.
Meanwhile, Tom’s current supplier, seeing business possibly slipping away, implied there could be significant fees and even legal action if Tom tried to return the old machine. Another rep brought in his manager who offered what he termed a great deal—for a higher model, demo machine that was a couple hundred bucks a month more than the previous offer.
Other responders have been doing business as usual and bashing the competition using the typical “that machine is a piece of junk” line. And still others, new to this particular feeding frenzy, are showing up unannounced offering yet more “unbeatable” deals.
Understandably fed up, Tom reminded all these fools that—with printers going out of business all the time—they are selling in a buyer’s market. So as of this writing, he may or may not pull the trigger on a new machine. And who can blame him when faced with the tactics he’s been experiencing. Sometimes, the best strategy is to do nothing.
I am reminded of the movie “War Games’ in which the supercomputer was crashed by being instructed to play Tic Tac Toe against itself. At the end it said, “A strange game. The only way to win is not to play.”
The same goes for the sleazy, used car dealer tactics Tom has been experiencing. Don't play. Because the next round of deals will be on the table come Monday.