December 21, 2017

Transcript for Pricing Creativity interview with Blair Enns

Blair Enns of Win Without Pitching joined me on Ditching Hourly to talk about the concepts in his new book Pricing Creativity.

The listener feedback has been overwhelmingly. It’s a real mind blower of a chat. Many people have written in to say that they immediately re-listened to the episode two or three more times so they could take notes.

Since people found the information so valuable, I got the episode transcribed and posted it on the podcast website.

If you haven’t already, you should really give it a listen (or a read). I’m highly confident that you’ll find it worth your time investment.

Here’s the link:

Jonathan/Blair Transcript

The transcript clocks in at more than 9000 words, so grab some tea and get comfy.

Just to give you a sense of it, here’s an excerpt where I ask Blair to talk about his rule of limiting written proposals to one page, and that he decides on the prices before he’s even thought about what he’s going to do for the client:


Absolutely. That’s a perfect segue into the ... well I guess the closing conversation so in the way that you do your proposals because I thought my proposals were short, like maybe five pages. You talk about running the sort of closing conversation with a single sheet with three options on it like it’s a [00:35:00] Salesforce sales page or something. Let’s talk about that a little bit so moving into the ... and also I’m sure you’ll bring it up but just in case, the prices that you’re throwing out there in your guidance, you don’t know what you’re going to do yet.


You haven’t even thought about solutions and that’s one of the things that it’s really hard when you’re moving from hourly based billing, time materials, inputs, whatever you want to call it, it’s really hard to get your head around because you’re going to end every conversation already thinking about what you might [00:35:30] do and you really want to learn to move off of the solution and just think about the value ... focus on the client, focus on the value you might create for the client. Then from there you set prices and then at least price ranges, and then you start thinking about well what could we do in these ranges. So, yeah you think about solutions later and really, it’s really that simple it really is. That’s one of the rules is unpaid written proposals do not exceed one page.


[00:36:00] Let’s go again at this, I love this because I hate writing proposals...


Hands up who loves writing proposals? (laughs) It’s a promise that we’ve been making to our client for years. We will get you out of the proposal writing business and in exchange you take all of that free time and you devote it to writing thought leadership or creating other forms of thought leadership. The idea that written the unpaid written proposal needs to exist is just ... it’s one of the biggest fallacies and I’m sure people are listening to this thinking, “Wow, nice theory Blair but [00:36:30] that’s just not ever going to.” I guarantee you there are hundreds of firms out there who limit unpaid written proposals to one page or even no pages just the ... because I’ve said for years the proposal is the words that come out of your mouth. Here’s what we’re going to do, here’s what we propose to do, here’s how long it would take, here’s how much it would cost, if you’re in agreement in principle we’ll write up the details in the contract for your signature.

That’s how it should work and that changed for me when I started [00:37:00] to read Ron Baker’s work on pricing and others and saw the importance of offering options. Always offer options and that’s the second rule so your requirement to put, sorry, you have a requirement to put multiple options in front of the client and so when I saw the value of that, I realized okay, well we’re going to have to write ... proposal is going to have to go on paper but no more than one page. As I say in the introduction [00:37:30] to the book, my first experience with this I was an ignoramus when it came to value based pricing and I was almost ... I was getting close to a decade into my consulting career and I was working with a very well known firm, design development firm has really set the tone for a lot of what other firms do today.

I was working with them and I asked to see their proposals and they were one page with three columns and I think the one that I saw was column one was [00:38:00] 250 grand, column two was 400, column three was six or 650 and I couldn’t believe what I was looking at and the owner said “Yeah we always do this.” and I said “Well the clients don’t ask like where did you get these numbers?” “No.”

Please check it out, share the episode with friends, and let me know what your big takeaways are.