Vendors: Tell Me How Much It Costs

I recently visited the web site of a company that provides conversion to and hosting of streaming video. We've been looking into doing this at Children's, and although we are running a pilot with one vendor, I was interested in seeing how this other company might compare.

We're a non-profit organization and so are always looking to do things in a cost-efficient way. Consequently, price is an important factor for me in purchasing decisions. However, nowhere on the site could I find any mention of pricing. As Jacob Nielson has rightly said:

Price is the most specific piece of info customers use to understand the nature of an offering, and not providing it makes people feel lost and reduces their understanding of a product line.

I was pretty frustrated by this lack of essential information, but being concerned to make the best decision for the hospital I sent them an email asking for some pricing information. What did I get in return but an email from a sales person asking to know more about my requirements first. Not a hint of a dollar sign anywhere. I mean, come on. Can't you even provide me with some ball park, generic information so that I can know whether it's worth my time going any further?

Needless to say, I have not yet responded back to them as I do not want to submit myself to any kind of sales pitch.

On a similar note, we've also been talking about enterprise content management, and so I did a preliminary look around the sites of the major product vendors in this area. Could I find a single mention of price on any site? Not a chance.

Now, I realize that these products can be heavily customized, but can't you give me at least an idea of what we might be looking at? Otherwise, not only do I run the risk of wasting my time, but, to take the vendor's perspective, I run the risk of wasting their time. Unless business is so slow that they can spend time on prospects who have no hope of affording what they sell. This doesn't make any sense to me.

As a web designer, it's important to determine the budget of potential customers, because if they can't afford my services, I don't want to waste any more time than I have to dealing with them. I need to make sure that I am working with serious prospects, and the same should be true for any business.

Posted on: December 14, 2003 | No comments

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