July 28, 2021

Success story from reader Gwen Ong

Fellow list member Gwen Ong wrote in with a success story that I hope you will find inspiring (shared with permission, lightly edited for clarity):

Dear Jonathan

I thought I would email you because I recently found you and I have since binged your Youtube videos, your podcast, all the amazing free resources of articles, templates, frameworks etc on your website AND your email newsletter...

You have helped me put all the thoughts, concerns and fears that I had around positioning our business through the lens of value based pricing in a single week. I have been learning and trying to understand this concept for SO long, but I never really got it, and I was most certainly scared of attempting to even try to do it.

BUT I wanted to write this email (although it might not impact you as much as it has for me) to share with you how things have shifted dramatically for us.

Before you, we proposed some options (3 in fact) to a potential client, with options that were incrementally better, however the difference was it was focused on the ’doing’ not the outcome. They questioned the timeframes, basically said well that doesn’t take that long to do the things you said to do, so take out the days where you’re not doing anything. They also asked us to justify our costs and rate, and to be more competitive haha. Whilst I was able to justify, it left a bad taste in my mouth when a potential client is already haggling on hours and our rate.

Fast forward to this week:

We pitched and proposed to another client, asked them ALL the questions about the why to try and understand the value and urgency around this. They told us why other suppliers didn’t really work, how they don’t have capacity to do it internally, that it’s urgent and they need to act on this now etc.

I wrote down ALL the objections they might have and reflected on the previous client, and practiced being confident saying it, then reworded all 3 options into outcome based statements. To help me, I kept saying, ’So what?’ to each line we wrote. This helped immensely, instead of saying ’Define and design experiments’, we read it and said So what? to force us to think about what it the outcome really is for them.

The sheer difference in the kind of questions/type of conversation you have with a potential client when you value base price your work - is AMAZING. They didn’t balk at the prices, they didn’t question any hourly billing, or ask us to justify our prices. It was incredible. They understood the incremental value of each option, reiterated that we were aligned in our thinking and theirs, and committed to getting back to us next week. I’m confident that we’ll get it!

Whilst we haven’t technically won it yet, I already feel like a winner. I have learnt so much in theory, applied it in practice and gained 100x times the confidence to do it again and again for the next client and the next.

And for a bonus: the morning of this pitch above, I sent a Statement of Work earlier during the week to another client and presented that we require 100% fee upfront. I learnt that from you, and I was expecting to negotiate so I popped it in there just to test the waters. I was not expecting ’No problem, we will transfer you the full fee by end of day today.’

Jonathan, this is significant as it is our FIRST client we’ve ever won. First revenue win for our company that we started 2 months ago after quitting our full time jobs. So amazing.

Well I can’t thank you enough, and I don’t think I can convey my energy through this email. But I hope you know that you have done so much for two young entrepreneurs in Melbourne, Australia, in the middle of our 5th lockdown. Your stuff is pure gold.

Thank you again, Jonathan.


Messages like this always make my day!

I love to hear from folks who actually put my advice to use.

This stuff can really make a difference if you give it a try.



Enjoy this message? Here are more things you might like:

Group Coaching with Jonathan - Live group video Q&A sessions every other week, instant access to years of previous sessions, and a dedicated Slack for group discussion.

Learn Your Lines - What To Say When Clients Put You On The Spot