Openness, Honesty, and Transparency Can Change Your Business

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When dealing with any company, one of the things I want to know is the full cost.

I want to see if what they are offering is good value for money.

I hate it when you look in shop windows and there are no prices.

Why don’t they add prices?

It normally means it’s too expensive!

Oh, and another thing…

You often see a huge sign in the shop window that says ‘Everything in store half price’. Then when you get closer, in the smallest of writing, it says ‘up to’.

This normally means there is one thing with 50% off and the rest is 10% off.

Last weekend, my wife and I decided to spend a few days in Amsterdam.

Great city!

One evening, we were perusing the restaurants and one of them was promoting a pizza/pasta offer.

“Any pizza/pasta for 5 euros”

Great value and the restaurant was busy – a good sign!

We sat down.

Ordered our pizzas (well we were on holiday!).

“You HAVE to order a drink” said the waiter.


“If you have the 5 euro offer, you have to buy a drink and you cannot have tap water!”

The cheek!

Where’s the transparency?

Where’s the open and honest communication?

Their pizza/pasta offer sign did not say, “Any Pizza/Pasta for 5 Euros and you must buy a drink”.

We should have left – not because of the expense but because of the principle. We didn’t leave. We were going to have a drink anyway.

I see so many on-line companies not displaying their costs. You have to make contact to find out. I never make contact.

If you own a business and don’t display your costs…change it now.

Tell your customers exactly what they are going to get for their money.

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20 Responses to Openness, Honesty, and Transparency Can Change Your Business

  1. Frank Stier June 6, 2012 at 8:03 am #

    Transparency is the most important thing in the business. We should always consider that our clients deserves to know all about our products. In this way, we can give them the honesty that they deserve too.

  2. Felicia June 6, 2012 at 11:39 pm #

    Hi Andrew,
    I have also experienced something like that at a certain restaurant last week with my family. We decided to dine there because my sister said she saw an ad about them featuring an unlimited soda promo for any meal in their menu.
    When we were ordering, we found out that we had to at least order 6 full-size meals (we were only 4 persons) if we would like to avail the unlimited soda promo. My mom said that they should have been more specific about their rules on their promo. We left. Unlimited drinks is not worth it if you order 6 big meals for 4 persons who only have a normal-sized appetite.

    Online businesses that do not display the full cost of their products/services typically “shoo away” potential customers, in my opinion. The best example of such online businesses I think are the group-buying sites. I’m not saying that all of them are, but there are some that offer promos/deals with hidden charges, and you’d have no choice but to pay for them once you’ve fallen for their trap, I mean, their promo/deal.

    • Andrew June 7, 2012 at 8:58 am #


      That sounds crazy plus it’s not much of an offer is it?

      If only they would think these things through. Imagine the “word of mouth” if they just said, “buy any main meal and free soda”.

      Make it simple for customers to understand!


      • Felicia June 9, 2012 at 4:17 am #

        Hi Andrew,
        I agree. If one is making a promo/deal for their business, they must think about what the customers will think about their slogan or promo pitch. Customers aren’t dumb, and if an offer sounds too good to be true, most of us, as customers, usually would like to learn more about the “details”.

  3. Corinne Edwards June 7, 2012 at 6:18 am #

    Dear Andrew –

    You taught me that. I never used to publish what I charge for media coaching. Now I do.

    At least – you have to give a range. Some people need a little coaching – some you have for a while.

    It would save a lot of all of our time if a launch would indicate what it costs early in their squeeeze page.

    Then you would not have to listen to a pitch for 20 minutes before you find out they charge $15,000. which is way out of the range a lot of people can pay.

    I hope you gave the manager of that restaurant a lesson in communication as you left.

    People need to be told.

    • Andrew June 7, 2012 at 9:01 am #


      Oh…you have opened another pet peeve of mine. Those video sales pages. The ones that go on and on for ever and you cannot fast forward or get to the end…to see the price.

      Nowadays…I just close the page whenever I see one of those.


  4. Michelle Vandepas June 7, 2012 at 7:06 am #

    so much conversation about putting your pricing on your website. I’ve talked with coaches and clients to go on both sides on this one. After evaluating I put my pricing on my site a few years ago. It brings in the interested people, and stops the people who don’t want what I am offering. It actually helped my funnel!

    • Andrew June 7, 2012 at 9:03 am #


      I totally agree with you.

      The interested people who ‘like’ the prices make contact and the ones that don’t…don’t!


  5. ecogreen4us June 7, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    There are many businesses implement such “tricks” and “tactics” almost everywhere.

    For example when I go shopping for clothes there are signs with “Sale 50%”. In reality they already increase those prices more than 50% before offering us another 50%.

    What we should do is boycott…. 🙂

  6. Jack Sander June 7, 2012 at 8:08 am #

    I just hate it when businesses choose to follow this path. It might be a lucrative strategy for them, as it attracts customers, but it is a clear lack of respect, from my point of view. In addition, I also don’t like the sites with: call to ask the price.

    • Andrew June 7, 2012 at 9:06 am #


      I think this particular restaurant used it because it was in the tourist area and most tourists are only around for a few days.

      Hence, people don’t tend to go back to the same restaurant.

      But, still not good.


  7. Floris Nijenhuis June 10, 2012 at 7:21 am #

    You make some great points here. The one I can sympathize with most recently is the prices (coincidentally also for pizzas!)

    A big board outside said ALL PIZZA 8 EUROS. We ordered a pizza and the bill came in at 14 EUROS per pizza. What was their excuse? It says ALL PIZZAS but the little * symbol (I hate those) mentioned on Vegetarian pizzas only. And guess what, their only one was a Margarita!

    Whilst the pizza was very good, the whole thing “left a bad taste” for sure.

    Honesty is key, they didn’t just lose two customers with us but we’ve told quite a few friends who were just as appalled….and I don’t think we were the only ones who went for the so called 8 Euro pizzas that day.

  8. Maja June 13, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    With honesty and transparency we can have returning visitors as it is the master key of every business.

  9. Nick Stamoulis June 18, 2012 at 6:28 am #

    For products I completely agree. However if you offer a service, there may be many variables that affect the cost. Each service for each client could be a bit different, so you don’t want to advertise a price that isn’t completely accurate.

    • Andrew June 18, 2012 at 11:22 am #


      I agree – it’s harader to price accordingly for a service. I suppose you could give a price range?

      What do you think?


  10. James Marvin June 26, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

    Transparency is very crucial in business. When I visit a store and find that the products have not been labelled I just skip and go to the next store because I don’t like the whole thing of people trying to mess my head with price ranges.

  11. Mariella Lombardi July 2, 2012 at 2:49 am #

    Hi Andrew, I don’t get it why business owners choose these tactics.It is so frustrating for the customer and it makes them to never come back there again. So they annoy people with their greediness and they lose business…it doesn’t make sense.

  12. Andrew July 9, 2012 at 4:17 am #


    Totally agree! That’s exactly what I do!


  13. Tom August 6, 2012 at 7:03 am #

    I’m a big believer in transparency in all sections of society especially in all kinds of leadership position whether in a business or political position. If you’re an employee or a business owner make sure you get everything in writing. In today’s world you have to be 100% sure.

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