Elon Musk’s strategies for selling Tesla cars can’t be more different from those of Indian startups.
Over the last few years, Indian startups have fallen over themselves to try and woo customers with discounts – there have been cashbacks, grand sales, and grand offers to sell everything from e-commerce goods to laundry services. Elon’s Musk’s Tesla Motors seems to take a diametrically opposite approach.
“It is absolutely vital that we adhere to the no negotiation and no discount policy that has been true since we first started taking orders 10 years ago. It is fundamental to our integrity and we maintained this policy even through the depths of the terrible recession in 2008/9,” Musk wrote in a letter to Tesla employees.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 28, 2016
And Tesla enforces the no discount rule strictly – even Musk himself can’t get a discount on his own company’s cars. “I always pay full price when I buy a car, and the same applies to my friends, my family, and celebrities, no matter how famous or influential,” he added.
Tesla seems takes great pride in selling its cars at full price. When the company started off, it was selling electric cars to a consumer base that had grown up on petrol cars, and was apprehensive about adopting the new technology. But Tesla didn’t choose the easy route of undercutting petrol cars on price – they went ahead and built a car that could command a price it deserved. They built a great car, and customers were happy to pay what they asked for.
Maybe, just maybe, there’s a lesson in there for Indian startups.