The Value Proposition and Pride of Ownership
Many years ago, while managing a car audio store in North Little Rock, AR (that seems like a lifetime ago now!), I learned two valuable lessons from a customer. Let me explain.
One day in the spring of 1996, a gentleman of maybe 40 walks into our store and asks to see our selection of 100 watt stereo power amplifiers. We had several amplifiers that met that criteria, three on active display. The prices on these amplifiers were $199.00, $299.00, and $519.00. He listened to each powering a pair of speakers that were similar to the ones in his vehicle. After he listened, he asks, “Do you have a lay-a-way program?” I confirmed that we did and he proceeded to pull out $150.00 and put a deposit down on the amplifier that he deemed best – the $519.00 Rockford Fosgate Punch 100×2.
He came in every two weeks like clockwork and put down an additional $50.00 towards the amplifier. After several visits, I realized that this purchase was really a stretch for him and that it would be a while before he would actually own it. On his third visit to pay down the amplifier, I advised him that he had $300.00 in store credit that he could use to purchase the $299.00 amplifier and take it home today – it was after all a fine amplifier. He replied, and I’ll never ever forget this, “I cannot afford to purchase that amplifier. You see, I can only do this once – so I need to buy an amplifier that will not only perform but will also stand the test of time.” I was speechless.
Not only did the Rockford Fosgate amplifier have the best warranty of the amplifiers he auditioned, it also had the best performance as well as an excellent track record of reliability. This gentleman had done his homework. [Incidentally, history would show the life span of that particular amp to be measured in decades, not years – the exception versus the norm in consumer electronics.]
When the time came that the amplifier was paid off he also paid us to install it in his vehicle. After the installation was complete, I sat in his car with him as he listened. It was as if it were the very first time he had heard music in his vehicle. He played several songs that he was obviously very familiar with. The system did sound remarkably good. He was ecstatic, simply ecstatic. All the months that he scrimped and saved for that day had paid off. He admitted to me that he had longed to own a Rockford Fosgate amplifier as he had heard and read so many great things about them over the years. You could see it in his eye – this was a proud moment for him.
This gentleman taught me the value of his hard earned money couldn’t be defined by the price of admission. In addition, the smile on his face as he drove away listening to music showed the pride he took in owning such nice gear.
Lesson 1 – The Value Proposition
Buying cheap rarely saves money in the long run – in fact, it often costs you money. Sure, you may save a buck today, but how much did you really save when the product doesn’t include all of what you need to be successful, performs poorly, fails prematurely, or all of the above? The cost of any product is simply a component of its actual cost when all of the above is factored.
Ten years after I met the gentleman in the above story, Tom Bodett spoke directly to me in regards in a commercial for Motel 6. Tom said, “Value is achieved when service exceeds expectation.” When I heard him say that, the above story immediately popped into my mind. Profound.
Lesson 2 – Pride of Ownership
Part of realizing the value of your hard earned money when purchasing a premier product is the pride you get in knowing that you chose the very best. Affirmation of that comes every single time you elect to use it. Products that include all that you need to be successful, outperform the competition, and stand the test of time have more thought put into them in the product development phase. They’re often designed by super enthusiasts – folks that have far higher expectations of their own products than anyone choosing to purchase them would ever have.
How the Above Applies to my Philosophy
When I started CE Auto Electric Supply in 2011, my intent was to offer best in class – be it product or service. I am first and foremost a super enthusiast. Our focus is to allow each of our customers to realize The Value Proposition as well as inspire a Pride of Ownership when choosing to do business with us. Let me assure you that this isn’t as easy as it may sound.
I have gone out of my way to ensure that the kits we offer include every single thing that you need to be successful. We use the very highest quality materials so that our kits offer the very best performance possible and stand the test of time. Performance can be measured, so we separate fact from opinion by utilizing data acquisition tools to determine ways to achieve the performance we promise. When we can’t do that internally, we hire a third party laboratory to do so.
I’m also a super user, which means that I actually use each and every one of the products that we offer – whether in the construction of our kits, in my personal vehicles, etc. If I wouldn’t use it, we don’t sell it.
My goal is that we exceed your every expectation. My commitment to you is that we go out of our way to achieve this every single day. This has been my philosophy from the beginning. When you choose CE Auto Electric Supply, we know that you’ve chosen us to provide a solution for your pride and joy.
Thank you kindly for your consideration. I hope that we’ll earn your business.
Founder, CE Auto Electric Supply