Captain’s log, stardate 20190728
Sent by Jonathan Stark on July 30th, 2019
In his book, The Secret of Selling Anything, author Harry Browne blew my mind with the concept that profit is increased happiness, pure and simple.
There are tons of quotes in the book where he articulates this in different ways. Here are a few that I highlighted:
Our first law of human nature: All individuals seek happiness
One thing is of greater value than another because the individual believes he will obtain more happiness from the one than the other.
Profit is the increase in happiness by replacing one situation with another. This identifies the nature of profit – the giving up of one thing for something that provides greater happiness.
Profit can come in many different ways: through money, knowledge, contentment, spiritual understanding, leisure, etc.. In each case, it is what increases the individual’s happiness.
When I read statements like these (and many MANY others in the book), the penny dropped. For a long time, I advocated for value pricing because “it allowed me to predictably deliver customer satisfaction in a way that was impossible with hourly billing.”
I have also said many times in public that “my deliverable is not code or features or advice - my deliverable is customer satisfaction.”
And who can argue with this? Wouldn’t you love to have deliriously satisfied clients? Doesn’t it keep you up nights when you have a client who is painfully dissatisfied?
Isn’t “customer satisfaction” a feeling? Isn’t it just another way of saying “the buyer is happy with their decision to hire me”? Or to paraphrase Browne, “The client gave up some money in exchange for the outcome I delivered, and they are glad that they did.”
Well, guess what?
Everyone is selling feelings. Full stop. You can call these feelings “customer satisfaction” or “wellbeing” or “happiness” but they’re all purely subjective feelings.
This is hard to swallow for most folks because it sounds dangerously close to “snake oil” or “marketing BS” or “smoke and mirrors”.
But think of it like this…
If at the end of an engagement, your client is happy that they spent their money with you, then they are satisfied. If they are not happy, then they are not satisfied.
In B2B relationships, we mask this “happy/not happy” dynamic with terms like “customer satisfaction” and “buyer’s remorse” but at the end of the day, it boils down to this: the client is either happier or they are not happier.
Knowing this, wouldn’t it make a boatload of sense to find out before the engagement what would make the client happy?
YES!!!! Yes, it would.
That’s what The Why Conversation is designed to do: question the client in a particular way in order to uncover what their true objective is (i.e., what would make them happy).
Once you understand what would make them happy, you have something to price.