July 18, 2018

Marcel The Shell With Shoes On

There’s a video from a few years back called Marcel The Shell With Shoes On. You can check it out here:


At about 2m42s, Marcel is standing in front a toilet (which he is dwarfed by) and says:

“Sometimes people say that my head is too big for my body, and then I say, ’Compared to what?!’”

The way Marcel says “compared to what?!” makes me laugh every time. If you have an off kilter sense of humor, you should really check it out.

What does Marcel The Shell have to do with pricing, you ask?


Whenever a prospect says to me that my price seems high, I hear Marcel’s voice in my head saying, “Compared to what?!” and I chuckle to myself.

And then I pose this same question to the prospect:

“Compared to what?”

My intent is to start a discussion about what they are comparing my fees to.

There are four typical replies:

Specific competitors—If so, I can consultatively walk through the pros and cons of me vs the competitors to help the client choose the one that’s best for their needs (which might not be me, and that’s fine).

Market rate—If so, they see me as a commodity. I can make an effort to demonstrate that I’m not generically interchangeable with every other provider out there, but they are probably shopping around on price and plan to go with someone cheap.

Alternative approaches—If so, I did a bad job raising objections in The Why Conversation. I have probably lost the engagement for the time being, but would mark my calendar to follow up with them in six months or so.

The value of the engagement—If so, I did a bad job assessing the client’s perceived value of the engagement in The Why Conversation. I can offer to meet their budget by removing lower value outcomes from the proposal.

So... the next time someone indicates that your price seems high to them, just think of Marcel standing in front of the giant toilet and politely ask, “Compared to what?”