Why scientists in one building get different discounts.

Saw science twitter discussing discounts and why companies would offer different discounts to people on the same hall or in the same building. The tweet that set this off was encouraging people to share their quotes with one another, put it to the man!

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I can (and did in drafts) go off on a tangent about why people hate their vendors so much. But, instead of discussing that, here are three times I/we offered different discounts to one PI and asked them not to share.

  1. KOL/Key Opinion Leader – at one account a key user in the field was looking at our system and a competitor system. We offered them a very deep discount in order to have our system associated with their ground-breaking research. I know longer work with that company, but that system has been referenced in a number of ground-breaking experiments. Not every person who reads that paper and looks at the same system is going to have the same influence.
  2. Reference Site – At a different company we decided to create formal reference sites in each territory. The reason is that shipping/install/deinstall/shipping is expensive. If you can use a local reference site you save a lot of $$$$s. Therefore, you can add deeper discounts to one system for that purpose. But, you can’t share that discount with everyone.
  3. Part of a larger purchase – Recently, I dealt with a customer who was purchasing a microscope, but also many other items. All of these items are available from other vendors, so we were looking at a number of competitive sales. In this case, it might be worth it to give a larger discount on each item in order to win the sale of all the items. In business, the top line and bottom line both matter. Sometimes you can lose some profit on the bottom line to win top line sales and brand loyalty.

In the thread about sharing quotes one person did make a good point. Universities should use their buying power to negotiate better prices, then all parties should stick to those prices.

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