A Post-Christmas Carol

By Scott Francis on Customer Behavior, customer value / Post a Comment
Twas the week after Christmas and all through the lands
customers were waiting with outstretched hands. 
“Bring us more discounts, give them here;
and we’ll help you reach your goals for the year.”
Sales reps were focused on their commission plans;
if they closed the year strong, they still had a chance. 
Management worried that without a big stretch,
their bonuses they would not be able to fetch.
When from the boardroom there arose such a clatter,
I rushed to my desk to see what was the matter.
Away to my laptop I flew in a flash,
To check on the latest price performance dash.
The results were clear to any trained eye.
Buying patterns emerged year after year;
Customers relied on sales person fear.
Customers are smart, they’re cagey and quick;
They know their vendors can be like St. Nick.
When quotas are missed in the first period or two,
Gifts and discounts for customers old and new.
“Hey Dasher, hey Dancer, hey Prancer and Vixen,
It’s time for your sales team to be a blitzin’.
Come to my office and into my hall!
Now drop your price, drop your price, drop your price all!”
“I will hold out til the end of the year,
And wait til you sellers discount out of fear.
You’ve trained us to wait the data will show,
And your margins have suffered as we all know.”
Then in a twinkling I heard a voice of reason,
“Let’s not give it away this holiday season.
We can price to the value we know we deliver,
If we show the courage and do not quiver.”
“We have to get off this lurching train,
So prices and discounts can be normal again.
Short-term pain will turn to pleasure,
When our prices reflect the value we measure.” 
The CEO stood up in front of us all.
With a baritone voice that carried clear down the hall.
His eyes were focused and perfectly clear;
And the smile on his face showed he had no fear.
In his hands were reports that showed we’d gone wrong
With huge year-end discounts we’d offered so long.
We’d trained our customers to seek discounts galore,
And our price realization had become quite poor.
Strong and confident, with the look of a leader,
He knew our service was a competition beater.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me the knowledge I had nothing to dread.
No more speeches were needed; his message was clear.
We’re doing things different the end of this year.
He looked to his management team gathered ‘round.
Briefcases were grabbed as their feet hit the ground.
He walked down the hall and shook all our hands,
On his way to the field to reinforce our plans.
I heard him exclaim as he left my sight,
“Sell the value to all, and to all a good night.”
Thank you to Clement Clarke Moore for his wonderful poem.  Apologies for my changes!

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