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How does your flexibility backfire

You know the old joke about a man joining the queue on the grounds that if people are waiting for it, it must be good?

Experienced exhibitors at large trade fairs know that the biggest danger is having no one talking to your staff. Stalls that appear empty, stay empty even when there’s a waiting line to approach others.

In the theater world, the last thing you need is an empty hall at the premiere, so you “paper the house” meaning give away free tickets so that attendance seems at least somewhat full.

When they are unsure about what to do, people assume that at least some of the others know what to do. Monkey see, monkey do.

And people

This is exactly why a lack of boundaries, like being “always available” or “endlessly flexible” in your approach to pricing works against you. If you were any good, the logic goes, others would be buying from you, so you wouldn’t have to be so accommodating.

Even if you have nothing to do, I’d recommend you offer three scheduling options, two of them on the same day, as a good benchmark. “I can do Tuesday at 3, or Friday at 9 AM or at 1 PM.” for example.

On pricing, offer them a choice of a few choices, but anything “off menu” should carry a surcharge. If crossing a boundary doesn’t carry any consequence, it was never really a boundary in the first place.

Do you have a story about letting your standards slide and regretting it? Share it with me!

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