Intelligent Pricing Architecture

stand out from your competitors and put yourself in a category of your own to get paid what you are truly worth

Briefing 16 November 4pm UK time. Book here.

There are types of business – creative agencies, some forms of consultancy – where the difference between a really good solution and an average respectable one isn’t 10%, 20% or even 50%. It’s 2x, 5x or even 10x.

What’s more, the really brilliant solution doesn’t take any longer to devise or implement. It’s the product of insight, inspiration…even genius, if you like.

If you are one of those who can produce the 2x-5x-10x solution, you will be familiar with this problem – how does the extra value of your unique solution get recognised and paid for? Hourly billing or time and materials doesn’t begin to capture the value. You can try asking for more, but.the whole thing is so subjective. Even if you are 100% convinced of your value, it’s very hard to convince your client. 

It all adds up  to a very unappealing picture. A level of profitability that’s just enough to pay for what you have to do, but not enough for what you want to do. Uncomfortable negotiations over price. A constant, nagging frustration that you aren’t being paid what you’re worth. 

There Is A Better Way

Intelligent Pricing Architecture is a systematic way to approach the pricing of powerful professional services. 

It can make you more money – a lot more money. One digital agency raised the fee for one of its offerings from £3-5,000 to £46,000, a 10x increase. It identified work it was doing for free which is now the basis of a £10,000/month retainer. 

It can take the stress and anxiety out of setting and negotiating prices. It can take you to the point where, in the words of one client, “pricing is largely irrelevant if the key stakeholder in the biz wants to work with company X”. Approach pricing discussions serene in the knowledge that you have set things up for success. Competitors are out of the picture. You have arranged everything so that it feels easy and natural for your prospective client to give you what you want. 

And, perhaps most importantly of all, the system will give you the feeling of being paid what you are truly worth. This matters. You’re not selling widgets or baked beans that someone else has made. You’re selling your best ideas and insights. Your babies, even. Pricing is personal. You have moved from knowing that you are worth more than an hourly rate to being able to prove it as if in a court of law.

Too Good To Be True?

A very good question. The results above are spectacular. I can give you case studies with names of individuals and companies, but how do you know that it wasn’t just a fluke?

How is it possible that this amount of value is lying hidden, waiting to be discovered? 

Three reasons.

First, it’s usually very difficult for brilliant creative people to see just how good they are. You are just too close. When you are very, very good at something, doing it seems like nothing special. 

Second, you need to be a particular type of person. You need to be one of that select minority who gets that breakthroughs come from strange places, outside your own field. From novel combinations of disparate elements. That powerful new ideas at first seem strange and counter-intuitive, even heretical or crazy. 

It’s no coincidence that while developing Intelligent Pricing Architecture I wrote almost 100  monthly columns for Management Today entitled “Everything You Know About Business Is Wrong.” There’s also a book of the same title.

You need to recognise that every industry has its orthodoxy, its “best practice”, its “proper” way of doing things. That this orthodoxy doesn’t just define average, it keeps its adherents close to average.

Third, Intelligent Pricing Architecture is more systematic and more comprehensive than other value-based pricing approaches. 

It draws on a wider range of concepts and tools. In the words of one of my clients:

“I have never met anyone like Alastair who can bring ideas from psychology, sociology, philosophy and even management theory to bear productively on business issues.”

For many years I was a turnaround finance director. I needed to produce tangible results, quickly and with limited resources. I became interested in pricing as one of the most powerful levers for increasing profits. 

How Does It Work?

To explain, imagine water. And the way that water wants to flow downhill. If you were designing an irrigation scheme you could make water do whatever you want – flow towards your fields not someone else’s, flow over your water mill to grind your corn – anything that’s consistent with it wanting to flow down, not up. 

Conventional pricing is like trying to make water flow uphill; resistance, hard bargaining, bluff and counter-bluff, maybe even deception. 

Intelligent Pricing Architecture on the other hand lets you construct a process that you lead your prospect through from the beginning so that when you present the price (the new, higher price that fully reflects your value), it feels easy and natural for it to be accepted.

It starts with you understanding your own value, but doesn’t stop there. You seeing and asking for your full value is step 1, but you still need to convince the prospective client. Step 2 is about customer psychology and step 3 is about packaging and presenting. 

It starts earlier in the sales process. Sometimes people bring me in at the end, when they are putting together the proposal and trying to fix the price. Too often, I ask them for some useful piece of information only to be told “too late to ask for that now.”

What To Do Next

If this is interesting and you have the two attributes I describe above, namely:

  • You can genuinely produce solutions for your clients that are 2x, 5x or even 10x more impactful than the average;
  • You have an open, curious mindset;

then I would be delighted to tell you more. You are invited to a 45 minute briefing.

It’s on 16 November at 4pm UK time. 9 people maximum.You can book here

This is what we’ll cover. 

The Briefing

The briefing runs for around 45 minutes. This is what it covers, followed by Q&A:

  1. How to find your true value, and why it’s so hard. A full list of possible sources, including one in particular that’s very powerful but very often missed. Example: how a digital agency realised the value of one of its offering and raised the fee from £3-5,000 to £46,000.
  2. How to set  the right point of comparison. Clients are always comparing your fee with something. How do you make sure that the comparison helps you? Example: where 17 words changed the comparison point and upped the fee by 150%.
  3. Packaging and Presenting. How can McKinsey charge so much? A lot of it is because they have branded processes. You also have processes, even if you don’t realise it. And the world is full of concepts you can steal. Example: how a concept from 1970s military strategy enabled a digital agency to charge a £10,000/month retainer for work it was previously doing for free.

Book A Seat Now

The briefing is 16 November, 4pm UK time. Places limited to 9 in the interests of meaningful Q&A. Book here. 

When you book I’ll send a case study explaining exactly how the digital agency I mentioned raised its fee from £3-5,000 to £46,000 and identified work it was doing for free which is now the basis of a £10,000/month retainer.