An old sales manager friend of mine used to use this antiquated method in a desperate attempt to close a sale in his favour.

The idea was simple enough.  At the end of his pitch, he would assume the client wanted a discount.

When they asked if there was anything he could do with the price, he’d draw three circles and write one word in each.

Cheap.    Fast.    Good. 

Then he’d look his prospect in the eye and say, ‘You can choose any two’.

If you chose cheap and good, it could take months to deliver.

If you wanted cheap and fast, then you couldn’t expect the best product or service.

But if you wanted fast and good…

The problem was, buyers were much more sophisticated and would tend to say, ‘I want all three and if it isn’t you who’ll deliver, I’ve four other companies who’d like to supply us’. Then he’d drop the price and move on.

In 1971 Carolyn Davidson designed a logo in just 24 hours and was paid $35.

Was it any good?

Well it has become one of the top five most recognised logos in the world.  The famous Nike swoosh.

Don’t feel sorry for Carolyn; she later received Nike shares as a post-dated thank you, worth around $1million.

Cheap is comparative.  Value is the key. Value is difficult to compare.

If I buy a Mars Bar for 10p, that’s cheap (probably too cheap).

If I invest in an experience, one that changes my life, what value do I put on that?

Next week, I’m going to launch a new How to Be Brilliant private group on the Facebook platform.

It will be free (that’s better than cheap), fast (updated daily) but not good.  Good isn’t good enough – it will be brilliant.

Be Brilliant!


PS If you’d like a sneak preview of the group you can join in here.  It’s early stages so I’m working a few things out but I’d love to see you.
Please leave your thoughts below.


  1. February 13th 2020 by Rick Barnes

    Completely agree – I like to think customers deep down know all 3 at once are impossible, but they’d like to try and ‘have it all’. Ultimately they would much rather buy from someone with a mindset of trying to help them have cake, eat cake AND enjoy cake rather than a defeatist ‘pick 2’

  2. February 14th 2020 by William Martin

    One of the fun aspects of my job is talking to clients about the concepts of “price” (what you pay) and “value” (what you get).

    Negotiation is about determining your client’s “price/value sensitivity”.

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