Ep003: Creating a $1M Book on Pricing to Leverage Consulting Expertise with Blair Enns

Ever wonder why it feels like you’re not netting the profits you should? It might be that you’re pricing is a big problem.

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Hello there and welcome. It's Liston with the liston.io show. Of course it's me I'm Liston Witherill your host. And today I have a very special guest his name is Blair Enns. And if you've been in the consulting business for any period of time you are almost certainly familiar with Blair and Blair's work. You can check it out at winwithoutpitching.com. He'd offer sales training for creative agencies and today I'm going to be talking to Blair about his new book about pricing creativity. Now what I found fascinating about this book kind of from a business point of view is that he has a plan a master plan that he has hatched in order to make a million dollars from a book. Now I found this to be first of all wonderfully ambitious and fascinating to hear how he's going about this and what his plans are and why he thinks he can do this. In this podcast we'll talk a little bit about that. We'll also be talking about obviously how to price creativity how to price especially value price your services as a consultant as an agency owner as someone providing their creative energy, their advice, their strategy for clients. And so I'm really excited to bring this to you just as a quick reminder if you're looking for help with your sales you can head over to my free sales course that's salesin30.com.

I promise you that by the time you're done with those 10 free videos you'll know about ten times more about selling than you did before you went in and you're going to be able to sell with much more confidence than you ever have in your life. So once again just head over to www.salesin30.com, if you're interested in grabbing that course. Now without further ado I'm bringing you my conversation with Blair Enns. Hey it's Liston and I am here with Blair Enns. Blair how are you today? Doing really well Liston. Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here. Well it's my pleasure to have you here all the way from the woods of Canada. We have the technology to make this work. I have been following you quietly and afar for quite some time. My friend who I think you've also been on his podcast his name's Philip Morgan initially recommended the Win Without pitching manifesto, so it's a little surreal to have you here so thanks for being here.. My pleasure. I haven't been on Phillip's podcast I'm actually going to meet him later this week for the first time. Oh in Tennessee. Yeah fantastic. You should definitely badger him into being on his podcast because I'm sure he'd love to have you. Consider it done. Consider Phillip badgered. He responds well to that kind of thing. So Blair I know that a lot of the people listening to this are probably familiar with you but can you explain just briefly what does it mean to win without pitching and kind of what are you up to with this new pricing thing you're working on.

So when we go pitching is a training program for creative professionals and it really helps them do just that without pitching. So your question is well what does that mean. I think that's your question what does it mean to win without pitching? It Is. So my definition of a pitch is a pitch a defined client driven selection process in which you'd the creative firm or the consultant you're lined up against your peers your competitors in an apples to apples comparison and you are told outright or it's implied to you that it's in your best interest to begin to solve the client's problem, as proof of your ability to solve their problem. So it's really a client-driven selection process where they're calling all the shots and they're either telling you or inviting you to start giving your highest value product you're thinking away for free. So that's what I mean by a pitch. And so to win without pitching is to basically win outside of that client-driven selection process. It's to take control of the selling slash buying process depending on what side of the table you're on take control to move from the vendor position to the expert practitioner position and to change the way your services are bought and sold. So I don't see a pitch of free pitch where you're giving your thinking away for free I don't see it as this kind of moral conundrum that some people do. I don't see it as a moral to pitch for free. I don't say it as a moral or an ethical for clients to ask it's just a sign of who has the power and the buy-sell relationship.

So we teach creative professionals how to change the dynamics in the relationship so that they take back some of the power and then they can go about selling the services in a way that's a lot more sane. That's what it means when with a pigeon. Yes when you talk about pitching I think it can mean different things to different people so you're not saying don't make an offer but I conjure this image of the Mad Men episode when they go to think it's General Motors or one of the car companies and they have all their best people in a room for a week putting together all these elaborate boards and three different campaign ideas. And that's what you mean right as not to give away kind of the strategic thought in the deep thinking that would go behind what the actual executional work would be powered by. Yeah that's exactly it. So a pitch in the money or in the finance business is different it's just here's why you should give me money and it's a very short offer. Just a few minutes long so I'm not talking about that type of pitch I'm talking about the type where you. It's still done to this day even though the economics don't really merit it like they used to back in the good old days of the 15 percent advertising agency commission. And that's in that Mad Men episode. I've only seen about three-quarters of one episode of Mad Men. I find it far too sad. I can't watch I can't watch the show. The pitch when it was on AMC or whatever show or network it was on I could watch the pitch to me that was comedy but madman.

I find it just too sad. And I've never been able to articulate why. Well, it is a tragedy. I mean it is about the downfall of a very successful man. Yeah, I never watched it like it and it got past the first episode. There's just something about the entire thing that was just so sad. But the. Yeah. So you used to be able to rationalize it a little bit because if you'd give away the creative any ad when the multi-million dollar accounts that would go on for years with 15 percent agency commission that would be in the millions of dollars and it kind of sort of made sense back then it was. And it's just made less and less sense over time and then that advertising agency creative pitching has bled into the other creative professions like in some parts of the world where free pitching is known as the rising disease is so designers in Europe sometimes refer to it as the advertising disease so it's kind of spilled over into other in the other creative professions. But that's what I mean by the pitch is this idea that you've got to give your highest value product away for free as a means of getting the business and then somehow hope that you're going to make it up once you've won the business you're going to make up for the high cost the sale even though you don't have those 15 percent commissions and the tenure of these relationships are getting shorter and shorter. I will admit that I was once afflicted by the advertising disease but I'm happy to report because of you and people like you I've been cured.

So I want to go back we're going to get to your book in a second. Pricing creativity. And first of all, it's an amazing resource so I want to spend a lot of time on that. But let's turn the clock back for a second. I have a lot of people who are either independents or small. Really like micro-consulting agencies and I know pricing may be kind of a new thing to them to really think in depth about how to price and what is strategic pricing mean and how do I use tiers. Let's put all that aside for a second if you could go back to newly independent Blair ends. You first strike out on your own to start doing consulting for creative agencies and help them with their sales. What would you tell that younger version of yourself about pricing? I'm not sure I'm a little biased against this question. I'm going to answer but the more general version of the question that's pretty in vogue these days what would you tell your 20-year-old self. My answer is I would tell my 20-year-old self-beware of old guys from the future pretending to be you because they don't know shit. So you think there's no experience advantage. I don't believe. No, I would. What I would say is and maybe I'm getting too philosophical with the question just if I could go back in time until my younger self-anything about anything I would say You're doing great. Keep going. That's all I would say. OK. I would give my younger self some advice.

Let me just rephrase it because I don't want to get caught up in semantics or philosophy here. I'm rephrasing it for you. I think what you're saying is a way that doesn't fall into my bias against this question is if there were somebody who are just starting out who was at the age where I was in the point where I was when I was just starting out I see they're starting to go down the path that I went down. What would I say to them? I would say to them that pricing isn't an afterthought. It is one of the fundamental skills of business that you need to acquire. It's far more nuanced than you can imagine and it's way more impactful than anything else that you can do. So even before you really learn the craft of consulting even before you really learn the craft of selling. Start with pricing. That's what I would say because it is the single easiest fastest way to dramatically improve the amount of money that you make. Like hands down, there's nothing that comes close. Start with Price has up and your personal experience that once you started to work with a lot of the clients back in your consulting days I know you're doing training primarily now but when you were consulting did you find that altering pricing was in almost immediate when for a lot of your clients. I really didn't start advising on pricing until we had switched the business model from a consulting practice to a training company. So it was near the end of my consulting days when I started to learn about pricing and change the way I price my own services.

At about the same time that was actually one of the impetuses for me moving to a fully productize unscalable training company. I realized that I had been caught in the middle I had Kwasi productize not even Kwasa I had largely productize most of my consulting services. And I think a lot of consultation of customized service firms end up doing that they're not clear on why they do that but they go down this productize action road and it's a mistake to think of there's productize services and there are customized services and in almost every consulting practice you should be embracing the customized services model which means that every new client is a completely blank slate of possibilities and opportunities and you should go into the sale where you are beginning to scope out the engagement completely focused on the client first and the value. And you shouldn't even be thinking about what solutions you might sell them until you're three-quarters of the way through the arc of the sale. And when your product size, you start as soon as you get an inquiry from a prospective client you start thinking about what you might sell them and you start to violate all of these rules of pricing that I've since come to see are rules and have codified them as rules. So I realized once I started learn about value-based pricing realized I'd gone down this road and I was kind of in this mushy middle between a customized services firm and productize services firm. And I thought I'm going to have to pick when it's one or the other.

And for a few reasons I ended up choosing to become a productize services company entered when without pitching into a training company. And if it one or two variables were different I could have easily gone the other way. In fact one of the variables that drove it is where I live. I thought OK the way I really should be doing consulting is instead of when a prospective client comes to me instead of saying we'll hear three different ways that I can help you use three different products that I have. I should really go deep in the sale itself I should uncover more information about what it is that they really want what assets they have and what limitations they're working with and then start to think how can I best help and how much actual value can I create for them. So if I was going to stay a customized services firm I would have taken a smaller number of clients I would have gone deeper into those clients into their businesses to be focused on creating more value for them and it would have charged a lot more. And I would charge different ways and different prices for the different clients but I live in a remote mountain village in the middle of nowhere it takes me a day to get anywhere. And I thought so for me to work that model I really needed to be able to say to my clients okay I'll be there the day after tomorrow if I wanted a large value value-based pricing priced engagement. I needed to be able to work that way to go deeper into the client organization. And I felt like I couldn't do that from where I live from this little place in the middle of the woods in the middle of nowhere.

There are variables around that and I'm not saying that the decision I made is the right one for every consulting firm. In fact, I think it's probably a mistake for most consulting firms to go the direction I did. But you do have to when you find yourself in that mushy middle between productize and customized you don't want to be there. You have to pick one or the other because a prototype services firm is infinitely scalable customize services firm is not. But the amount of money that you can make in your engagements is way higher in customized services are way higher. So in a customized services firm you're pricing the client not the work that you do in a productize services firm you're pricing the products, Yeah you know I heard you in another interview say that if you lived in Austin Texas and this was in response to someone who lived there you said you definitely would still have a customized consulting business where it was not product size in any way. And I was really surprised to hear you say that because it seemed elite from the outside looking in that you chose a model not only that works for you and that you really like but you are able to help a lot of people. So what was it ultimately maybe besides travel that kind of tipped the scale in favor of saying you know I'm just going to do a training business rather than customized Consulting. Well, I did want to touch more business I've been fortunate in that through my first book the one with a pitching manifesto I've touched thousands of people on.

And I felt like one firm at a time wasn't enough for me. I wanted to have a bigger impact. I really had this vision of I want to change the way creative services are bought and sold the world over. I couldn't do that in a customized services model but if I wanted to look at just a business that I could be perhaps the most lucrative. You know the training model can be lucrative to the point I was trying to make and I'm trying to make clear to us because I've actually seen some consultants and the like. There are dozens of agency new business consultants out there and I'm on very good relations have a very good relationship with lots of them. When I shifted to a productize services model I saw a lot of other ones begin to shift too and I kept thinking almost without exception I would look at them think that's a mistake you should stay a consultant. And so now when I'm speaking to somebody like you and your audiences. A lot of consultants or sellers of concentrated services just because the person on this podcast you're listening to has productized. His business does not mean it's the ideal model and that you should productize your business too. Doesn't mean you should dismiss it. I mean we should. These are all decisions that we as business owners should face. And I didn't face it I didn't realize it was a decision to be made.

I just found myself being kind of caught in that mushy middle where it wasn't infinitely scalable because I wasn't fully privatized I was limited by the amount of engagements I could take on and I wasn't going deeply enough into my client's situations that would allow me to charge a whole lot more money. I was kind of trapped in the middle and that's something you don't want to do. Pick one value-based pricing consulting company where you've got a small number of clients at any one time or infinitely scalable to productize services company. So let's talk about your book. You have a new book out it's called pricing creativity. It came out earlier this month in January and definitely opened it up for you to talk about the book generally. But first, a question about it before you dig into the particulars of the book. There are lots and lots of pricing books already why do we need another one. What was the impetus for you to create this and say The world needs this book? Yeah, that's a good question and I ask myself that question of other people let me know when I say they're going to write a book like if somebody says I'm going to write a book on branding I'd like I cannot contain my disgust. Really does the world really need another book on branding? I have a bias against that topic but maybe the world does and I just can't see it. And it was the same with pricing. I own all the good books on pricing and I had a friend of mine suggest to me you should write a book. And I said you know there are lots of great books on pricing and I listed a bunch of them like we're on Bakkers I'm a huge fan of Ronald J.

Baker and he's got two books on pricing that are fantastic pricing on purpose and implementing value-based or value price. So I cited some of these books and my friend and he was familiar with him and he owns a small agency said your clients are going to read those books. And I thought he's right my clients don't. One of the things I love about Bakers book is he's an excellent writer. But more than that he's a sponge. He has read everything I said. I think I read most the books I haven't read them like to the extent that he has learned them like he has learned the entire canon of pricing literature and then he's built on that and in his books he's summarized all of the theory. He's got all of the principals. And I love reading that nitty gritty I love getting into the economics of it all the morals of it all. I like that he cites the sources and I can go back and read the source material but most of my clients those creative professionals they just want to know what do I do. The full name of the book is pricing creativity a guide to profit on the billable hour and I've broken the book up into three sections. There's the fourth Tools section in the manual version but the earlier three sections are principles so the principles are the key underlying foundational principles where I've kind of pulled out the theory and just explained them in as few principles as possible. Like the idea of the subjectivity or the subjective theory of value that all value is subjective. The idea that fairness is subjective.

The idea that the more you pursue efficiencies the more you give up innovation value creation an extraordinary profit. So these are some of the underlying principles and those five or six chapters on. I think there are four chapters on underlying principles. Then I get into the rules so I thought what's the smallest number of principles I need to deliver. So I think this four chapters on principles and then what's the smallest number of rules that I need to give my clients and so rules are things that you must do every time live by these and every pricing situation. And I got it down to six. There are six rules things that you do every time and then everything else all the other guidance I put into the largest section of the book which is called TIPS and so tips are specific guidance for specific situations like how to craft your anchor price options or retainers or contingency model pricing or negotiating tips or tips on negotiating with procurement more specifically so there are all kinds of tips for specific situations so that's why I wrote a book that was where we already have a bunch of great books on price. I felt like my clients weren't going to read those books. And I guess the other thing if we just dropped pricing creativity if we forget about the target audience of creative professionals and we broaden it out to all of value-based pricing. If I look at my book within context of all the other books out there I would say I come at the subject of pricing first from the Win Without pitching as a sales training organization.

So I kamma it up from selling first and I had some negotiating which is kind of an offshoot of selling. But the value-based pricing is easy in theory. Most not just creative firms but professionals who are familiar with the principles of value-based pricing still fail to implement. And the reason they failed and Bloemen is you cannot be a successful pricer without being a successful salesperson. These three topics of pricing selling and negotiating are intertwined and you cannot just talk about pricing without talking about selling and negotiating so that's another point of view that I've brought to the subject. There is one other book out there that I think that comes at that subject from that point of view and fact there are two books read Holden and who's the author of a few really good books on pricing. One of his books is called pricing with confidence. And then there's kind of a sister book to that that's called Negotiating with backboned. So those two books together. If we kind of treat them as one book they're smallish books those two books together I would say are most similar to pricing creativity in that they also address the topics of selling and negotiating. Interesting. And one thing that you said there was your goal here in what you're doing is to change the way creative services are bought and sold. Now certainly the owner of a creative agency or an independent consultant can change the way that they price and sell. But is it up to them to change the way that their buyers buy. How do you view that piece of the equation?

Yeah if one party if the buyer changes the way they buy and that seller has to respond and change the way they sell and vice versa. So by selling your services your expertise differently. You are educating the market one client at a time to buy differently. You could look at it as taking on a responsibility to educate your market. I don't think you need to do that. I think you just need to do what's best for you and what's best for the engagement you and the client and ultimately the outcome that you're striving for in the engagement and proper selling and proper pricing. And when I say proper selling part of what I mean is a lower cost a sale and you in the practitioner positioning. And when I say proper pricing I mean you getting paid more both of those things are good for the client Arclight listening this might think that's ridiculous. How is me getting paid more. Better for me. Generally speaking it's interesting when you look at where loyalty comes from in most companies and I mean loyalty on that customer loyalty on the client side especially in consultation services firm or any services organization not just consultative services like hospitality is a great example where this has been proven your most loyal clients are your most profitable ones. And it's not the other way around. People think that loyalty drives profitability. That's not true. Profitability drives loyalty. And the reason high-profit margins drive loyalty is when something goes wrong in the engagement and it often does and going wrong can be something of your doing something of the clients doing something maybe where you share responsibility or something that's a function of the market.

But just something happens that wasn't anticipated and some costs are incurred or things get expensive when you have margin in the deal. Then you have the wherewithal to fix the problem and that's where loyalty comes from your most loyal clients are those clients who don't experience a flawless engagement but who have something go wrong and then have you step up and fix it. So that's where loyalty comes from you need margin to be able to do that. I like to say I can prove your least profitable clients get your worst service and vice versa just by sitting in your office and watching your expression as you look at your ringing phone. So when your most profitable client calls you look down and see their phone number on your phone. You smile it's a reflex you smile you pick up your phone and say effectively how can I help you today when you've been ground down by a client and you're operating on very little margin or maybe you're upside down and the phone rings and it's that client you have this look of disgust or resignation because your reaction is here they are again. I'm already over on this. What do they want now. And you pick up the phone or you try to plaster that smile in your voice. But it's not there. So you're treating your most profitable clients the best they're getting the best service from you. They're getting the best experience from they're most likely to come back. That's a really important point. That very very few people understand that profitability drives loyalty you earning more is good for the client. Yeah absolutely.

Now I do have a question about earning more in value pricing though and I've always wanted to ask you this please humor me. First of all, I am an advocate of value pricing in a lot of situations. You've said yourself in some situations it's not the right approach but how do you think about market pressures and market price norms when you're talking to say a new training client about pricing their service and is it required that they're kind of in a market of their own or have some unique expertise in order to really effectively implement this. Yeah, that's not a pricing problem that's a differentiation problem which is a function of your business strategy. And so there are different definitions to the word strategy. One of my hobbies is collecting answers to the question what is the strategy. But one of my favorite answers is I think it's Michael Porter's. Its strategy is the answer to the question how are you going to become and remain unique. So just think of that question and think of what's your answer to that question about your business how are you going to become and remain unique. So if you have a sound business strategy then you're not going to get the market forces are something. Things that apply to if not outright commodities doesn't have to be a commodity to suffer the effects of like market pressure. But when things are seen as very similar when the client sees what you offer is quite similar to what she can get many other places then you're effectively losing power in the buy-sell relationship and that can be expressed as market forces. You have too many direct competitors at least in the eyes of the client.

The pricing problem is a function of your of strategy. Very good. Now one of the takeaways that I had from your book if I were to maybe not talk to my younger self but if I could start over with some of the things I've learned is the one page proposal and the reason I'll have the one page proposal is it really minimizes our time in the proposal process but it also forces us to have a sales process that fills in all of the blanks that we typically like to fill in in a proposal itself. Now one of the big things that's working when you do a one-page proposal is this idea of anchoring. Now can you talk a little bit about that and how someone getting started with pricing in the way you recommended can use anchoring. Yeah. So if I just take three of the more common rules of pricing creativity from the rural section of the book and put them all together so one is limit unpaid proposals to one page. The other is always offer options and another is Ankur high. So you've got a one-page proposal that's basically got three columns maybe four columns but let's just say three different options for the client this is an important psychological reason why you want to offer options and there are other reasons why 3 is better than two. But the anchoring idea comes from the full name of it is what's known as the anchoring effect but it's sometimes known as anchoring and adjusting so an anchor is the first piece of information that you receive or in your case as the salesperson that you deliver on a subject.

So our subject is pricing so an anchor price is when you're in conversation with the client you start talking about the range of solutions you want to start with a really high council that you offer a range of as to why it's wide X so I think we're looking at between Y and X depending on a bunch of variables. So this is earlier in what's commonly known as the value conversation. So it's the last step in my four-step methodology or framework for the value conversation is to offer some pricing guidance and say okay I'm going to come back with a proposal with some options some different ways that we can help and they're going to be in the White X range. So let's say it's 250000 to 75000 depending on variables and we will get it in those variables now. So we offer that guidance. You start with 250 so you lead with the important number. And then you go put your proposals together work out your options and let's say you come back with one option that's 250. One option that's 125. And one option that's 75. And you put them forward. You start with 250 so that if you read Daniel Canon's book which is fairly popular it's on behavior who is a psychologist is a psychologist but he's known as one of the forefathers I suppose or at least an eminent voice in the world of behavioral economics and in his book Thinking Fast Thinking Slow.

He talked about these two systems of thinking so System 1 and System 2 System 1 is the very cognitively efficient system where we kind of make assessments really quickly based on limited information and most of us make decisions engaging system one first and then if it requires more thinking then we engage the more deliberate cognitively expensive system to kind of work things out. So we make an assumption first based on like we anchor somewhere and then we use system to the more deliberate methodical way of thinking to kind of reason away from that initial assumption that we've made and what the research shows so it's often known as anchoring and adjusting you anchor and then you adjust if you're selling to me and you put that high anchor of two hundred thousand dollars but that's really expensive. That's way too high and I started justing downward. But what most of the research shows is that the adjustment never fully compensates for the anchor. So the job of the anchor the most expensive option it can be the first one or the last one. I'm experimenting with this now. I used to like the expensive one to be farthest right now and putting it farthest left with no matter where you put it you lead. That's the first when he lead with you come back for the closing meeting and say OK I've got three different options I want to start with this is the most expensive one that's 200000. And explain what's involved in that. And then you covered the other one. So it's important that you lead with that high anchor and that the 200000 all the prices not to sell the 200000 dollar option it's to sell the 125 thousand dollar option. It's to make the other options that are next to it that are cheaper that look more affordable than they are.

And there are all kinds of research that's been done on products and on things like mock juries that showed the effect of anchoring and there are in some instances they can even plot power curves and they can show how depending on where the anchor is where the kind of average price will end up. We don't have that kind of data in the consulting world. But anecdotally like the returns, the effect on it is significant just of those three rules a one-page proposal with three options. Start with the high anchor. I mean I know firms that have moved their profit margin from like under 5 percent to almost 50 percent with just those three rules. You know one of my favorite examples of this comes from the product world the Williams-Sonoma bread machine which yeah yeah. From Dan Ariely book Predictably Irrational talks about how they had a hard time nearly impossible time selling this new bread machine because no one knew why they needed it. No one was in the market for a bread machine so they hired an agency creative agency no doubt to come in and figure out what was the right messaging in order to sell this bread machine. And the agency came back and said let's just make a more expensive version of it put it on the shelf next to it and people buy the bread machine. And that's exactly what happened. Yeah and then the original the cheaper price when the original one started selling like hotcakes. Exactly. Yeah yeah. I love that example.

So speaking of pricing tiers I wanted to talk about your book and the way you decided to price your book so you've opted not to do a traditional publishing route on this book. And the reason I want to bring this up is I think it's important to understand how you thought about pricing something that has a very well-established way of being bought and sold and you took a very different approach. So why did you price the book the way you decided to price it. I priced it this way for a few different reasons but one of our core values that when with pitching is we lead by example or we sometimes express it as we do what we say. So as I was writing in the book it occurred to me that I was not aware of any book on value-based pricing that was using the principles in the book to price the book. I wanted to be the first to do that. And also I felt strongly that the amount of value that this book would create in the world was enormous. I mean I've done some rough math and I think quite conservatively I think this book is going to help create over 100 million dollars a year in new excess profits for the global creative community and that's even based on conservative sales numbers that we're well on our way to hitting one week in the financial impact of this book is going to be significant and I thought well if I'm going to help to create 100 million dollars a year in New Profit what's fair compensation for me.

And so it's not ten thousand dollars is not 100000 dollars my I've stated publicly in other podcasts and I've kind of been intentional about this because I think I want to lead by example again and these are conversations that we should be having with each other. My goal is to earn a million dollars from this book and it's pretty clear that that's going to happen. I have never doubted that it was going to happen and I think one weekend it's pretty clear is going to happen now. I've said it might take seven or eight years. I actually don't think it will take that long. And I think a million dollars in return for the value that the book will help to create is fair compensation. I couldn't have done that if I had gone with a mainstream business publisher and I actually think charging twenty-five or forty dollars for the book would have actually devalued what was inside the book and would have actually maybe even had a negative impact on the effect. I think the more you pay for something the more you value it the more you appreciate it. But I think that sort there was a bit of a ramble I think you want to get to the point where not just the fact that it's an expensive book but there are three tiers and in a week or two there will be a fourth tier. Can you talk about that? Can you give people a preview of what their fourth tiers? Yeah, I'll explain the three tiers now. So right now you can buy the ebook for one hundred dollars you can buy the ebook and the manual. And so the manual is the same contents of the book.

But with the added tool section and the tool section is the part that I really wrote this as a working book with that tool section where after you read the first three sections the next time you price your proposal I want you to move to the tool section used to propose the creation guidelines use the checklist. Use the templates and Knerr to actually pricer proposal. So that's one ninety-nine for the book in the manual. And then we have what we call the total packages the e-book the manual and it's just under four hours of video. It's basically the video version of the book of me going through the whole book or at least those first three sections in five different essentially webcasts were never broadcast publicly. And so that's three hundred and twenty dollars in a couple of weeks we're going to release a firm-wide license because we've had a lot of interest a lot of people asking about well OK. Can I share this with others in my team. I want to get multiple copies but do I have to pay 320 dollars per copy. So for a thousand dollars a firm for any one location can get a firm-wide license where you can give all three of these things. The manual the e-book and the videos to everybody in your firm in the one location. So that will be out in a couple of weeks and the reason we're waiting a few weeks as well there's a couple of reasons but one is I want to get enough data on who's choosing what option first and then once we launch the fourth option at a thousand dollars that will be the anchor price that will be the most expensive option there. I want to see how the average price changes. It's my full intention.

In fact I've already written a bunch on this I haven't published. I'm going to share all the numbers I'm going to share what sales are who chose what option etc. My kind of idea was that you would buy this book read about it start practicing the principles and then you would go back and look at the pricing page price and creativity.com and you would look at all the different pricing techniques that were using on that page. Now they don't all translate because we're product service business they don't all translate to customize services business or consultation services firm. But a lot of them do. One thing I thought about when I originally heard you talking about how you decided to price this book and you have a million dollars in value that you think you'll deliver through the book at a minimum. My first reaction to that as well that doesn't matter to the individual firm right. All they really care about is what it's worth to them. But when I think about the pricing that you have one hundred to three hundred dollars and the amount of different courses I've taken throughout my life and they've all been way more expensive than that and thinking about if a creative firm charging let's say anywhere over 10000 dollars really if they're charging at least 10000 dollars for a typical project if they implemented what's in this book one time probably pay for itself 20 times over. So I just wanted to point out that I think that the price of the book is actually a little low.

Truthfully for the amount of value you're delivering and I just wanted to congratulate you on the work that you've done inside the book. Oh thank you, Liston, I appreciate that and I appreciate you saying that it's priced low we didn't get one e-mail from somebody I'm surprised we haven't received more saying. I would love to read this book but there's no way I'm paying one hundred dollars. To me that's hilarious. I would suggest the next time you hear that you should ask why. Because that's an opportunity for you to learn. Obviously, this person is not in your target demographic if they're going to be a price based buyer on this book and just really look for the Kindle Unlimited free version of it. That's not going to be for you but it would be interesting to hear what they have to say. I know what the answer is and I can predict this person's future and I'm not about to get into a conversation with somebody who cannot make some sort of equation around value who looks at the cost of everything and the value of nothing. So that's by definition that's a price buyer right. We all encounter price buyers and I say in the book is, for the most part, you don't want to do business with price buyers and when you do you want to be very careful and talk about consolate of the services firm now or customer services you want to be very careful and you want to essentially sell excess capacity to them. But you make sure you strip out all excess forms of value so they don't get to talk to you. They don't get terms if you're going to sell excess capacity to a price buyer.

It's just money up front and like no project management whatever it is all these other forms of value you just rip it all out and you don't make a habit of it when they come along and they say I'm willing to give you this money. And you have excess capacity then it might make sense. And you know in a productize service business it doesn't make sense engage conversation with a one on one individual and explain to them why a 100 dollar investment in an e-book is a good investment. Not in the long run. No. But this does bring up a good point that if someone is exposed to Blair ends for the first time they don't know who you are. They don't know your body of work. They don't know the value you bring. Hundred dollars is not going to sit well with them it's going to break the mold of their expectation for what a book should cost. And you really need that exposure and to be seen as an expert before someone could ever make that decision. I assume Do you agree with them. Yeah but you'll also see if you go to pricing creativity dot com I didn't engineer this but there I don't there are a few dozen quotes from industry leaders you got to read the book in advance and were gracious enough to offer some blurbs for the book. And there's a bunch of them that speak to the value of the book. And like you said earlier you think it's underpriced. So there's a bunch of quotes like that.

It's really the word book that is the package it's the shape of the package that some people are going to have a cause some people to have a problem with the price but I'm pleasantly surprised at how first two days we sold almost 600 copies at an average price of close to 200 dollars per copy. Wow. And we had one e-mail of somebody saying I'd love to read this but it's too expensive. Was me. By the way it's really funny. So final question and then I'll let you off the hook here because I know you're a very busy man with many more things to run to but if the problem is book packaging question why did you choose to go with a book rather than a chorus or a class or some other form that would communicate at least in terms of terrorist acts to the buyer. This is a more complete or larger more expensive thing. Yeah and we thought about turning this into a training program at some point when I was writing it and then I thought no it's I originally conceived of it as this manual. I wanted it to be readable that you would enjoy reading it from start to finish and then I wanted it to go either on the corner of your desk or on a bookshelf not too far from you never kind of out of arm's reach. And every time you have to put a proposal together I just saw people reaching for it opening up refreshing a few themselves of some of the rules flipping to the tool section and creating their proposal right there. That's the thing I envisioned I wanted it to be this working book but not like an overly technical manual completely approachable and readable.

But I wanted it to be something that was like referenced often for a very long period of time. So it had to be the book package and I. Years ago I got over the packaging problem of a book I had a book that I charge nine hundred ninety five dollars. For years I got over that years ago. Well excellent Blair. I really appreciate your being here. And if someone wanted to follow up with you or learn more about the book worth should they go. Yeah. You can go to win without pitching dot com to learn more about the win without pitching in our training program. You can go to pricing creativity dot com to learn more about the book Pricing creativity guide to profit beyond the billable hour that'll redirect you to win without hitting dot com slash price and creativity. So yeah those are and I'm Blair ends on Twitter. Fantastic. Well thanks so much for being here. BLAIR Thank you Liston. My pleasure.

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Liston Witherill

Hi, I’m Liston. I help freelancers and consultants sell with confidence. My vision is for every freelancer, consultant, and agency owner to sell with confidence.