Two for a Quarter

When I was growing up there was an awesome bakery not far from our house. I swear to this day I can still smell the incredible aroma of all the fresh baked goods. There were donuts, cakes of all kinds, breads, and brownies. Brownies! I love brownies and my addiction started at that little neighborhood bakery. 

 

They were big brownies with frosting on top. I’d bet a brownie like that would be a couple of bucks these days. But back then they were only 10 cents and better yet, you could get two for a quarter. 

 

And that began at a very young age my introduction to marketing. 

 

I remember trying to take advantage of that “special” pricing but the wife half of the husband and wife team who owned the bakery said I was such an important customer that I could have both brownies for a dime. I was very proud of that!

 

As I grew older (and wiser) I became aware of exactly how “un-special” that two for a quarter deal was. But I also became aware of how little attention was paid to the real cost of “deals” offered by businesses to their customers. 

 

I saw lots of people take the two for a quarter special without stopping for even a second to consider the value of this so called deal. They might have figured it out eventually, I’d imagine most of them did. Some might have gotten mad about it but I’m hoping most laughed, especially at themselves. 

 

The bakery was around for many years and the “special pricing” was well known by the locals in the neighborhood. But every now and then you would see an unsuspecting outsider walk in and more times than not they “bit” on the two for a quarter deal. 

 

What I still find interesting was when the price of the brownies went up to fifteen cents the “deal” became two for thirty-five cents. Virtually no one took the deal. Every customer instinctively knew that 35 was more than 30. Apparently something in our brains makes us think that one quarter is worth less than two dimes. 

 

Today many people are still fooled by pricing schemes meant to hide the lack of value in a product. My Grandfather used to always say that price without quality is waste. That’s as true today as it was back then.

 

There is a reason some things cost more than other things that seem to be the same. That reason is most often the quality that’s included in the things that cost more. 

 

Most everyone has been fooled by a low price or a “good deal” from time to time. That happens to me when I focus too much on the purchase price of the product and not the value, hopefully long-term value, I’ll receive in return. 

 

If you’re in the buying mode make sure to consider whether or not two for a quarter is indeed a better deal than 20 cents. That old saying is still true today….if it seems too good to be true, it most likely isn’t true. Make sure you look past the price to determine if the value you’ll receive over the life of whatever you’re buying is really a deal or not.

 

If you’re in a selling mode make sure to explain the value of what you’re selling in a way that even people looking for the best price can see the real cost of what they are buying. If you’re a professional salesperson then you owe that to your customer.


One old beat up well worn quarter is still worth more than two brand new shiny dimes. Don’t get fooled into believing otherwise. 

There is No Value in Free

When I was growing up there was a little bakery in our neighborhood that sold the best brownies. They were 10 cents each or two for a quarter. They sold lots of brownies 2 at a time.

I wonder to this day how long it took for people to figure out that the “deal” wasn’t such a good deal.

I think the pricing worked because everyone loves a bargain. We love bargains so much that sometimes we don’t stop to even figure out if we’re really getting one.

Salespeople were just people before they began selling so they are just like everyone else, they love a good deal too. They especially love offering them to their customers and prospects. So much so that they often throw around the word “free” as if what they are offering is no better a bargain than 10 cent brownies selling at two for a quarter.

Thoughtful, professional salespeople don’t offer anything for free. They don’t need to because they add value, real value to every transaction.

Salespeople who offer “free” anything are also more likely to attempt to earn business by selling on price. That is a short-term strategy that is not sustainable in the long-term. When you sell on price you eventually lose on price.

So here’s some guidance for salespeople looking to be more professional: Understand that the only things truly free are those that bring no value to anyone. If your offering something of value to your prospect then stop saying it’s free.

Share with your prospects that you’re willing to absorb the cost in order to provide them with additional value, or that you and your company are willing to make the investment on their behalf for some additional product. If something offers real value then it can’t be free, somebody has to pay for it. If that somebody is you or your company then tell that to your prospect, don’t just devalue your offering by being lazy and saying it is “free.”

If you’re a professional salesperson and you, your company, and your product bring real value to customers then say so, repeatedly. To most people, if only subconsciously, “free” means “worth nothing” even if the free thing is something they want.

Always look for ways to ADD value, not subtract it. You will sell more, at higher margins, and you won’t have to offer anything “free” to do it.

Now, go sell something!