I just read an Associated Press article about a whole new housing problem. (As if the housing problems the country has already been dealing with aren’t enough.) Apparently, over the past four years, hundreds of thousands of houses and apartments all over the U.S. were built with Chinese-made drywall because it was cheaper than American drywall.

It turns out, however, that the drywall in question gives off fumes (with a lovely rotten-egg aroma) that can corrode pipes, blacken jewelry and possibly even sicken people. (I know—you’re shocked a Chinese-made product could be dangerous.)

So, in an effort to save a few dollars on construction costs, builders have created hundreds of millions of dollars in health, legal and repair costs. One homeowner told the Associated Press he saved $1,000 by building his house with the Chinese drywall. Now he and others are faced with the dubious choice of having to tear down and rebuild, or move out and be stuck with a mortgage on a home they can’t sell.

This is exactly the kind of story you should tell your prospects when they compare your prices to a competitor who’s cheaper. No matter what you sell, someone else is willing to beat your price. Your job is to educate your prospect so they understand it’s in their best interest to pay more to buy from you.

Repeat after me: “As a general rule, you get what you pay for.” Typically when we buy a product or service at a lower price, we’re giving up something. In this case, it was quality. The Chinese drywall is made from a material that is less refined than what is used by U.S. drywall makers. And as we’ve all learned, standards, oversight and inspections in China are not as stringent as in the U.S.

What will your prospect be giving up if they buy from someone other than you?
• Reliability?
• Delivery time?
• Customization?
• Features?
• Convenience?
• Safety?
• Choices?
• Operational savings?
• Flexibility?
• Peace of mind?

Be specific and back your assertion with data, or better yet, actual stories.

It’s okay to scare your prospects a little. Fear is a powerful motivator. And it’s better for your prospects to be a little scared now, than a lot scared after they’ve made the wrong decision. After all, the reason your prospect is buying something in the first place is to solve a problem, not to create more of them.