This week, I want to tell you about a hotel I recently stayed in that I’ve been using for about 2 years. It is in Norwich and costs generally about £31 a night

Now, although I have stayed there many times, when I first saw it online I was put off – by the price. Yes, I found myself thinking, “Well it can’t be very good can it because it’s not very expensive” and this week I’ve got two pieces of psychological research that back up this phenomenon that suggests if you’re in sales or business development, being too cheap might be detrimental to the sales that you’re trying to make.

The first piece of research relates to wine and comes from the California Institute of Technology. They gave people wine and asked them to rate it and, when doing so, told them the price of it. However, unbeknownst to the volunteers, the researchers were a bit naughty as they actually used the same wine twice telling people that it was a very expensive wine and then, later on, telling them it was a cheap wine.

Interestingly, when they were told it was cheap, the volunteer tasters reported that it didn’t taste very good but when the volunteers were told it was expensive they rated it far more positively. (There is also some neuroscience in here as the researchers suggested that part of the brain gets tricked into thinking it’s enjoying the experience more because it’s been told that is more expensive.”

The other piece of research comes from Carnegie Mellon University which looked at how advice is perceived, rather than an ‘experience’ such as the taste of wine. Maybe you are a consultant giving advice. In that scenario, when people were receiving free advice versus paid for advice, they valued the paid for advice far more than the one they were getting for free.

My first job in sales was as an advertising sales executive selling classified advertising and I always recall my boss telling me that once you’ve reduced your price, it’s very difficult to raise it. This research suggests reducing your prices might be a really negative and detrimental thing to do for your sales figures anyway.

Links to both pieces of research will be on the website and if you’re interested and want to learn more about meetology, the behavioural science powering world-class people skills, head over to and sign up to get these Meetology Minutes every week .

I’ll be back in seven days with another Meetology Minute – exploring the fascinating science powering world-class people skills.

Until then, take care,


Jonathan Bradshaw
The Meetology® Lab