Sealed vs. Seal-less Pumps: Can one size fit all?|
There is always a well-known solution to every human problem--neat, plausible and wrong.---H. L. Mencken
“Close the sale!” shouts the sales manager. Sometimes that includes the unspoken words, “Don’t consider long-term consequences!” The reality is, short term gain…long-term pain, for both provider and customer.
Simple commodity-like components like fittings, seals and motors can be sold using a “short-term” sales strategy like the one above. But pumps are more complex and require engineering to make them perform efficiently and cost-effectively in a fluid system. With a quick turnover demand, a salesperson will want to quote pumps that require a minimal amount of engineering time to make the sale. In these cases, the true cost comparison of the simple versus the complex product will never see the light of day.
Witness the success of the “simpler” mag-drive or seal-less pumps. For the most part, they indeed are a one-size-fits all solution because they offer the widest range of guaranteed performance in one package. And the less time it takes to spec the application and sell it, the higher the turnover. Ironically, these products are usually sold at a higher list price, (and corresponding dollar profit), than their more inexpensive but complex counterparts. The sale can be made without ever having to address acquisition costs, operating efficiencies and service life…the hidden cost factors.
Think about the customer who is never made aware of whether a long-term, and in reality, less-expensive alternative existed. Eventually, some customer-oriented pump salesperson will expose the customer to other alternatives he could have chosen. Of course, this “former” customer will now believe the original salesperson broke an implied trust.
Where do you fit in?
It’s time to be customer centric. Assume they know much less than you about how many ways there are to solve their pumping needs. In doing so, you are providing a true value-added service, rather than just providing a product.
Think long term. Compare acquisition costs with operating and repair costs for each alternative. Have the investment mindset. When you do what’s best for the customer, it eventually comes back to you in equity.