This week I’ve got special guest Mary Valloni on the show!
Mary is a rockstar in helping organizations increase their revenue.
With 18 years of professional experience, Mary has helped raise millions of dollars for fundraisers through her work as the development director for the American Cancer Society, the ALS Association and Special Olympics.
Now she spends her time training organizations around the world while also hosting the Fundraising Freedom Podcast with Mary Valloni.
On this episode of The Pricing is Positioning Podcast Mary and I discuss how she became an expert in helping organizations increase their revenue as well as how she approaches pricing.
On this Episode Mary and I discuss:
Get Marys - 7 Step Roadmap to get Fully Funded!
Connect with Mary:
Stay in that cushy job, with benefits, retirement, and a steady paycheck or make a pivot and go out on your own with some risk but have unlimited income potential and the freedom we all desire?
Which one would you pick?
In this episode, I'll break down the myth of job security and how high-end consultants think in terms of "quarters," not hourly wages, and a recent 6 figure client I landed and how you can too.
This week I’m excited to have special guest Kris Pavone on the show!
Kris is a former WWE wrestler turned personal transformational insight coach and entrepreneur! He is also the creator of the The 5R’s to Achieve Your Goals and the host of the Kris Pavone Podcast.
On this episode of the Pricing is Positioning Podcast we discuss his WWE past, how he made the switch to coaching and most importantly, how he approaches pricing!
Tune in for this and more!
On this Episode, Kris and I discuss:
Connect with Kris:
First off, what is a product ladder or a value ladder?
It’s a basically a road map or overall birds eye view of all of your products and services for your business and/or brand.
Many times, I see and hear from people that don’t have a product ladder and just kind of throw a bunch of products and services up on the wall without any synergy or thought into how their products or service complement one another or don’t.
By creating a product ladder, it not only helps you define all of your current and future products and services, it helps you position those same products and services for maximum value and in an orderly fashion.
Below I've written out my Product Ladder for you.
My ladder starts with a freebie and then goes up to $20k:
-A Pricing Quiz so you can get a snapshot review of your pricing strategy
-Automated Pricing Webinar.
-Book –The Rock Star Within You: Unleash The Rock Star Within You
-Book – The Business of Consulting:How to start and scale your own consulting business
Connect with Paul
The Product Pricing Roadmap
o back when I first left my secure day job with full benefits, retirement and a six figure salary, I was shy and didn’t want to do all the social media stuff.
I dabbled in it a little, like paying for adds and got a corporate facebook and LinkedIN page.
However, I didn’t post much nor did I do any of this under my own name or personal brand.
It was always hidden under my corporate company name. We wanted to sound “big” and “official” with lots of “corporate” speak.
But something interesting happened between when we built our audience in back 2009 to today.
All on email with a simple freebie or lead magnet. Over time, our email list grew to over 5000 subscribers.
Today, all we do is ping our email list a few times a year and we sell out of our bi-annual event that we have done for the past ten years.
We don’t do paid adds, videos, sales funnels or any of that stuff everyone talks about.
So how did we do it you ask?
This brings be to strategy #1 and is part of my 3 pillars of revenue for any successful consulting business (Refer back to episode number seven to hear a more detailed episode on it).
What me and my company did early on is was create a four day training workshop around a hyper niche subject.
Another factor that helped us and I recommend this to you, if you can find a way to tailor your workshop or training program around a regulatory certification or organizational continuing education requirement, you have will have a captive audience.
You can find this in many professions, such as lawyers, accountants, architects, teachers and even traffic school if you get a ticket.
So ask yourself, are there any professional organization's that you are part of, or know about where you could offer training or a work shop to help your audience get their CEU’s?
That’s a great place to start ultimately how we were able to get our business established.
A few months ago, we decided it was time for an increase, a substantial increase directly related to the value we are providing.
We doubled our rate to $2000. We expected a major decrease in sales and even moved to a smaller venue to reduce costs expecting a smaller crowd.
But what do you think happened?
Keep in mind we had a 10 year track record, proven model and great reputation in this vertical.
We sold out again with a waiting list.
We had two people respond via email that the price was too high
I respectfully stated to them that there are numerous other training options out there and if they did not see the value of our training for them, they are free not come.
Simple as that! Well 50 people did see the value and we had a waiting list of 10!
That is where the $100,000 came from and you can do this too!
Not bad for a 4 day event.
So here’s my recap for this episode:
Identify a hyper niche that you can wrap a workshop or training program around.
That’s it for today, I hope you found this helpful.
Other topics I discuss on this episode,
Do you want to close more sales?
Do you wish there was an easy process to help you get more clients?
Well, this week I'm excited to have guest Debra Angilletta on the show!
Debra explains 6 simple questions you should be asking on your next sales call to close more sales.
Debra is a virtual CFO, financial Coach and former Wall Street Trader who has spent the past spent 30 years in the sales trenches!
On this episode of The Pricing is Positioning Podcast, we discuss the importance of closing a sale, Debra’s business background and of course, how she approaches pricing!
You know, we all want to be able to close deals. We all want to know how to get more engagements, and you're going to love today's guest. Today I have Debra Angilletta from the Sales Mastery Online Course, and she's just an awesome closer, and I can't wait to have a conversation with her. Debra, how are you doing today?
How are you doing coming from New Jersey? I'm doing really, really well, Paul. Thanks for having me here today.
How are you doing? How are you doing? That's awesome. Well Debra, you know I have a joint friend, John Nemo, and that's how we met through John, and like John you work with a lot of, oh I would say high end consultants, C-suite execs and stuff like that, but those that don't know you in my audience, we have a lot of freelancers, coaches, consultants in my audience, but tell us a little bit about you, your background, your brand, and what you're doing in this knowledge economy and freelance world.
Yeah, you know it's been an interesting ride. That's what I can tell you for sure. So I actually started out in finance and wound up working for a couple of Wall Street firms as an equity trader and in sales trading. So throughout that experience which was very, very interesting working in that industry, once it got to a point where I was going to make my exit, I decided to start my own business, and the catalyst for that is that I got pregnant with my first my child, my first and only child.
While I was on my maternity leave, I was like, "Hmm, what is it that I want to do? What is it that I want to do? Hmm." Well, I had the finance background so on my maternity leave, I started to test a couple of things out and actually started my business on that leave and then went ahead and left my job, and then became my own consultant.
And yeah, it's really a matter ... I think one of the most important things and the best piece of information that somebody gave me was, because I was toying with a bunch of different modalities, is that go back to your native knowledge. What is it that you know better than anybody else, and I knew that sales, finance, operations, and organizing things was my strength so that's what I built my business on.
Oh, okay. And what year was that that you went out on your own, did you make the transition from the corporate world to your own brand?
So I started my business back in 2010, and I would say, listen, there were two years of like I think I had somebody come in the house and help me two days a week to ... I had like a little consulting gig. I actually, you want to know what I did, Paul? I actually went into my job, resigned, and they wound up hiring me as a consultant for financial consulting for the employees. It was actually a really good win-win for the first two years while I was home with my daughter and starting to build my business and understand what it meant to build a business. So I would say I got really serious about 2012, and it's been haven't looked back since.
Haven't looked back, went out, so you're on your own, you're having the freedom and everything. Did you have those fears of going out on your own, like making the jump? Were you scared, or because you knew were confident, or did you have doubts at all?
Oh, of course I had doubts. I was up at 3:00AM sweating, you know, but yeah I mean I think the way to describe the feeling is moving from a corporate, well paying job. Now, you got to think about this, Paul, for a second. You know, 2008 was a big market crash, right, for Wall Street, and a lot of people in 2010 as a result of that were losing jobs. I had a job that I was walking away from.
And so that made it like ... Talk about the on the shoulders, right. And so the feeling was like jumping off of the Grand Canyon without a parachute. I'm not going to lie to you, and I did get some pushback from some people that I knew and some family members, but overall I think people trusted my judgment, thank god.
But yeah, it was hard. And that's the thing, I have more of an attitude now because I've been through it. When you're an employee at a company, it's very, very nice, safe, secure. You do your job, you get your paycheck, it's fine. But when you're off on your own, making these decisions to pivot, and you don't really understand what it is to face these fears because your fears.
So since then, I have more of a burn the ship attitude. Like I'm moving forward, I'm not looking back. Let's get this party started, right?
Yeah, exactly. Just, you know, what is it ready, fire, aim?
Ready, fire, aim.
Sometimes you just got to do it, man, and just get out of that comfort zone and do it. You and I are very parallel paths. I left a little earlier, but same fears, same struggles, 18 year career, full benefits, everything, and family, and mortgages, and, "Oh, no," I'm waking up in the middle of the night, "Am I doing the right thing?" But man, once you get on the other side, it's so enlightening and empowering to just control your own destiny. That's awesome. Well, you've done great. I know you've got a great brand, you've done a lot of things, and you work with a lot of ... I consider you a high end consultant. You work with a lot of C-suite execs, the C-suite people and corporations and so forth, but how did you ... You kind of had a background in that already, and were you able to leverage that into your personal brand, or did you get a big break after you went out on your own? How did you get those higher end clients?
Yeah, it's a good question. And listen, I started off with small business owners because that's where I was comfortable, and I felt like, you know when I was starting out I knew I could make an impact on that level, and as I started to coach them and work with them in that consulting capacity of helping them grow their businesses, I learned a couple of key things.
Number one, which most people don't realize about themselves, is you're better than you think you are. Right, if you're doing really good for a small business, you could do really, really well for a big business. Why not make that jump? It's really not much different. Right? There's a couple pieces of skillsets, but you can always fill in those skillsets with education. That never bothered me. But I think it was the confidence level.
And then on the other end of it was is that I just needed to make sure that I was not staying in one place or else I wasn't going to move the dial on my income either. So that was another thing. You know, you're doing just as much work for the bigger companies than you are for the smaller companies so why not get paid for it. You know what I mean?
So it was really, I think, the confidence factor was what really catapulted me, and working with getting great relationships, working with other people that were up to the same thing as me, getting good mentors, and making sure you're investing in that education. So I think that was a big part of it.
Yeah. No, that's awesome. That's such a great path. A lot of that, I did the same thing. I started with small business and eventually worked up to the Fortune 500 clients, and you cut your teeth, you pay your dues, and when the opportunity strikes you're ready. So that's so awesome.
Now one of your sweet spots, or what do we call it your superpower as we say in this expertise world, is being able to close deals, being able to help people like myself and people listening close deals or get the client to buy in, not just leave the conversation with, "Well, I'll give you a call," but actually closing the deal, and you have a great resources about, and your Sales Mastery course, and you have a framework built around that. I'd like to know more about that. Not just for my listeners but selfishly, I want to be a better closer. I want to be able to close more deals, and I want to glom as much information as I can from you while I have you on the phone.
Yeah, so what I realized early on in my career and also even watching other people in sales, I think that salespeople are really good at talking and making connections and making conversations, but I think where the discomfort comes in is when you actually have to close the deal and make the sale, and a lot of people think they close the deal when they really didn't close the deal. So that's one of the things that I teach in my course because that was always kind of hanging out out there, and one of the biggest problems or challenges when it comes to this issue is that many people start doing work with somebody without having that contact in place or a clear, working roadmap of what you're going to be doing and also the investment that the client has to make.
Then it just kind of like you start doing work for them, and then you start sending them invoices, and they're like, "What is this?" It just creates this huge disconnect. And so yeah, starting to do work and not getting paid doesn't feel too good. So that's where I saw a real need to go ahead and feel that pull and teach people really how to close the deal, and also how to put terminology around it so you're comfortable.
So for example, I'll give you an example. If we're on a sales call, we'll talk about something that you like to do. All right, I always position a close to say these couple of really, really key words. So if you would like to move forward with this, here are the next steps. And I think just having that light terminology instead of saying, "Oh, you said yes? All right, here's what," you know what I mean, and go down a crazy path.
It's a matter of just leading them to what is next. Okay, so if you want to move forward, here are the next steps. We'll put a nondisclosure agreement in place, we'll send over the contract, we'll get the payment terms all put together, and I actually teach this in my course. It's a really, really powerful force that you can put into your closing at the end of your sales calls that actually closes the deal where you get the contract in place, and you collect the money before you even start giving away your services for free.
Absolutely, 100% up front.
That's a big deal. Yep. Exactly.
Yeah, so now what you're talking about is in the whole sales ecocycle, so after we've had a discovery call with my client I've come up with solutions, and a program or a package of whatever, and now I'm sitting at the table or on the phone with him, and I'm getting ready to end the call. And so you're saying that that's where you have a process from that point forward that really increases the close rate for your students.
Yeah, it does. It does, and that part of the process, that's the process that most people skip, but we try to make it really as comfortable as possible. Because I know there's a lot of discomfort with that because we're like this [inaudible 00:13:02], "Say yes." You know, "No whammies, no whammies, say yes," right?
And you know, I teach you how to do that transition, and like I said, using those magic words of, "Okay, great. So if you would like to move forward, here are the next steps." So I'm almost like, I'm not forcing them into a yes, but I am guiding them to an answer whether it's yes, no, or no for now, and that's fine. You want to get an explicit answer from your prospect. You don't want to leave them hanging out there like, "Eh, I don't know about this." You want them to say I'll think about it.
Yeah, I'll think about it, right? And so there's ways to go ahead and combat that, and the terminology of, "Okay, great. So if you decide to partner with me, here are next steps." So you just kind of play it out as if. And so those are the magic words, next steps. And just painting that picture for them.
And then I say to them, "So what do you," at the end of that, "What do you think the next step is that makes sense at the time?" Right? It's very, very disarming. It's not assuming anything, but it's really asking in a really nice way, "What's your decision?"
Right. Now, some people I've heard different people say go in like a used car salesman right here and say, "What will it take for you to move forward today?" Is it okay to be that direct, or is that a little too used car salesmanish?
Yeah, and you know what, Paul, I think it's all style and preference. I'm a very, very easy breezy I want to have a really good sales conversation. I want to get a lot of information. I do want to be of service and have that person walk away from that discovery call better than what they were when they came to the call. So I do want to provide value, but I don't get too caught up in the outcome. I want to go ahead and serve, and if there is an opportunity ...
This is the other thing, too. Not only is the prospect interviewing you, but you're also interviewing the prospect. And so I think if you kind of change the lens on that versus, "I got too close this person," they might not be a good fit. So it's nice little back and forth conversation, and the way I position this is is that you don't have to do any work on a discovery call. There are six questions that you can ask, and that's all you have to do, and say, "All right, great. This was great information. Next steps would be I'll put together a proposal for you. We'll go over that. So that's going to take another 15 minutes on another call. How's next Tuesday at 2:00PM?" Right? And you just schedule that call, work on your proposal, and come back. Never send a proposal by email, ever. Always go over with the prospect at the time that you're going to present it.
Right? And that's another hole that people fall into. You're pricing without a conversation because people don't like big numbers.
You've got to talk them through, the sales conversation will tee you up to go ahead and present that proposal.
Right, right. I see what you're saying. That makes a lot of sense. Because I do send out a lot of email proposals. Now, I do propose, I'm a proponent of three options in your pricing, but even then it's so much better, especially on higher ticket items. I mean, if you're dealing with a $15,000-50,000 item, it's better to have a conversation than just shoot an email in a lot of cases.
You know, if it's a $500 item or something, maybe that's a little different, but those higher ticket things I think that's definitely good advice.
In your secret questions, can you go over some of those with us as far as the types of questions people should be asking when they're trying to close? You know, we all struggle with that, but what are some of those questions that you would advise us to ask, to keep it conversational and keep the likelihood of them closing open?
Yeah. So just kind of set the tone also, Paul, is that when you do get on a discovery call, a lot of people think that you have to put on a dog and pony show, and you really don't have to because the call isn't about you. It is about your prospect. So then you treat the prospect as such, and this is why we ask questions. This is kind of like the pull, you're pulling out information, it's the pull technique versus the push. This is who I am, this is how great I am, this is how many years in business I have, this is how many letters of alphabet soup I have after my name and certifications, right? We don't care about that. They want to talk about themselves so get them talking about themselves, and then it's like Christmas in July, right?
... pull all this information, and then that's how you put together your proposal. You're using their words and finding out what they want from you. So some of the questions really are put together in a specific order based on what I call the psychology of a sale, right, no surprise, everybody's heard of that.
So the initial call, a lot of times if people don't know you there's that kind of hesitance where we go back into our reptilian brain, it's the bottom part of our brainstem, where we go into this fight or flight. So we have to be familiar and not a threat, right?
So I always like opening with a curiosity question. Like, "Hey, I'm curious, how did you find me, or how did we come to the call today, or what's going on in your business?" So, number one is always opening with a curiosity question to disarm your prospect, and once you get them talking about themselves, but that one question is so powerful because if they start talking, talking, talking, talking, that's gold . You want them talking, and you take really good notes at the same time.
So that's really how you springboard off of the conversation.
The next thing that has to happen is a big mistake, and I know a lot of your listeners will identify with this, is that have you ever gone through a sales call, everything goes really good, it's about 30 minutes later, and you drop your offer, it makes sense at this point in time, you know what they need and everything else, and then all of a sudden they say, "Oh, that's great, but I have to go ask Blankety Blank about this," right? It's either the business partner, the wife, the husband, whatever it is.
The gatekeeper. Yes the gatekeeper.
You're like really, it's like the balloon, and it just lost all its air, right? All the air just got sucked out of the balloon, it's sucked out of the room, and you're like, "Ugh, that's 30 minutes of my life I'll never get back."
So I try to take the most common roadblocks and put it into the conversation so that you know your barriers up front before you get to proposal, and I think that's a really good way, and a strategic way for your listeners, to start positioning themselves differently from everybody else, number one, but number two making that time that you have with your prospect count so that you understand what are the things that they might say no to ahead of time so you can put a proposal in front of them that makes sense. So question number two is you always want to find out who the decision maker is.
Okay. Got it, got it. I'm writing it down. I'm writing this down.
And I'll have a resource. I'll make a resource available for your listeners as well if they want to get this, This is good.
Yeah, always find out the decision maker, and if you don't have all of them on the call either invite somebody on the call or reschedule because it is really a huge waste of your time, right? Your time as entrepreneurs and business owners, our time is our most precious commodity.
Absolutely. Okay. So that was number two. Number two, find out who the decision maker was. Number three, this is good.
Yeah, number three is I think that one of the things I see a lot of the time is that we don't go deep enough on the problem or the pain. So you've got to find out what is their frustration, what is their pain, what is it that's keeping them up at night. Because if you've got somebody on the phone that's just tire kicking or trying to see, compare your services to somebody else, the only thing that's going to make that sale stick is if you have a really, really sticky, or what we call an anchor, for them to want to work with you. So you've got to find that urgency.
So one of the things that I tell my clients is that if you hear a sigh or you hear some sort of indication of somebody displaying some form of exhaustion or frustration or like that, "Ugh," or that slam on the table, right, it's like you know you've got the pain. So you have to keep drilling down, and drilling down, and drilling down, and don't keep it surfacing. You've got to get to the core problem.
And I'll give you a quick example. I was working with this gentleman. So most of my clients are IT med service providers for my core business, and I was on the phone with him, and he's like, "Yeah, I just want to find enough money to hire somebody else," and I'm like okay. And so I was like he's got good revenues and everything else, like what's going on here?
And so before I pitched my solution to him, I said, "Okay, so why do you want to find this second employee? You've got good revenues, you can hire people. What's at the core of all of this?" And I kept asking, kept asking. And he slammed his hand down on the table just like that, and he said, "My son is now nine years old. I missed three years of his baseball games, and I'm not going to miss another one. So I need to, in the baseball season, be out of here by 3:00 so I can go to his games. I don't want to miss another game. I'm losing time. So I need to find money in order to hire somebody."
So my work that I had to do with him was who is it that he needs to hire, and we had to find a salary for him. So it wasn't about the money and the revenues, it was about what is it that I need to solve this problem. I need a number two, and how do I get a number two quick, and how do I finance it?
How do I afford it, yeah.
Yeah, and that's how specific we got of what I was going to do working with him. He easily said yes to my offer because I got his problem and his frustration.
Yeah, and you can't put a monetary value on being able to go to your son's baseball games. So as long as you could come up with a good plan to that pain, he was probably sold immediately. You know, because-there's just not a price tag for that, but worth every penny to him.
Yeah, so you've got to go deep on the pain and see if you can get what I call the visceral reaction, what is it that? That hand slam, that right, the sigh. Yeah, and it's
Oh, let me tell you about this.
Yeah, and then they open up and you're like, "You can't write fast enough," you know what I mean? You're like ahh, this is great.
Yeah, good stuff. Okay.
Yep. Yeah, so that's that for the pain.
It'll get you there if you really watch for the visceral touchpoints there.
Okay, so that's number three, identify the pain or watch for the pain, listen for the sigh or the hand slam.
Okay, so what's number four?
So number four is you want to identify roadblocks. So here what I tend to say is, "Okay, what could get in the way of us working together?"
So I just throw it down. Now, this is a discovery call. You have this problem, what could get in the way of us working together, or what could get in the way of you solving this problem?
Now you and I know, and your listeners know being high end consultants and coaches, is that we know that there's usually three common roadblocks that are always thrown up when we're in a sales conversation or a proposal. It's time, it's money, and then the third one is, "I need to ask permission from somebody else," the gatekeeper, but don't forget we nixed that in number two.
So now we're only down to time and money, and you want them to tell you what's going to get in the way, right?
So it may flush out a budget, right? It may flush out resources. It may flush out, "Well, we don't want to do this right now. We want to do this three months from now." Ah, then you'll position your proposal much differently once you understand the roadblocks upfront versus finding out on the other end of the proposal, right? Isn't that genius? That's not mine, by the way. I learned it as I'd gone through the learning process of sales and the psychology of the sales.
Flushing those out early on.
Yeah, that's brilliant. Yeah, because the sooner you can get those objections identified, the sooner you can overcome them.
So true. That's awesome.
Yeah, and then number five goes into the area of ... You know, I always say I would love to be a fly on the wall for my prospects. I'd like to know what's going on in their office, what makes them tick, what's going on, and this is a question that kind of almost lets you be a fly on the wall because they know or they have some really good relationships in their business, and what you want to know and flush out in this question is, "Who are the really good relationships?" Meaning, and this is how you ask it, "What does a successful partnership with one of your vendors look like?"
And what this starts to flush out is what do they like about working with a vendor that they absolutely love. It may be a communication style. It may be that they do quarterly reviews. You don't know what it is. You have to understand how your prospect wants to have their service served up that's going to be success in their mind. So by asking that question, you actually go into their mind and start pulling out, "What does a successful relationship look like?"
That's number five. So what does success look like? And I usually position it, because in my industry it makes sense, so what does a successful relationship look like with one of your vendors? Who's one of your favorite vendors that you love to work with, and why do you love to work with them?
Or if you're a coach or a consultant, you don't have a specific niche or industry and you're not using specific terminology, you can say, "Okay, what would a successful engagement look like for you?"
So there they're giving outcomes. They're giving communication styles. They're giving preferences. That's what you want to flush out because all of this is framing your proposal.
Right, and they might bring up frustrations with previous vendors. Like, "Oh, I hate getting billed on a net 30 and never knowing what it's for," or, "They don't report to me. They don't give me a report every two weeks on a status of the project." Well boom, now you know, "Hey, I've got to include a status report every two weeks in my proposal. So that's brilliant.
Yeah, it's great because then you're not going to do what everybody else does, and sometimes we think that we're providing them value, but if they're not receiving it as value, it's worth nothing.
So understand up front what they like. Like, I have some clients who don't want to talk to me three times a month. They want to talk to me once a month for 30 minutes and that's it, and then work with their assistant to get everything else done. Some people are like that, so.
Yeah. Yeah, at least that question five there will get you what that success means to them. That's brilliant.
So there are six total. So that was five. What's number six, then? Oo, are you sitting down? I am.
Do you have your seatbelt on? Yes.
All right. So, one of the things, and this is one of the biggest mistakes we made, and listen I made this for years, and years, and years, and I always avoided it, but here's where you can start filling in a huge gap. So your prospect, most of time, and I'm not going to say all of the time, they want to understand what is going to be their return on investment, and I know some people hear that and they're like, "I don't want to have to talk about that. I can't guarantee a result." Like I get it, I totally get it. I can't guarantee my results. I can guarantee I'm going to show up 1,000%, but I can't guarantee what you're going to do, right? But how do you say that? So what we need to do here is we need to flush out what is the value of the solution.
And so you can do this in a couple of different ways. You can be very explicit and say, "Okay, if you partner with me to get this particular outcome, what is that worth to you?"
So what is the value of us working together? So you're trying to find an ROI factor.
Now, in my case of the example I used earlier where my prospect, which turned into a client, was trying to solve this problem. The value of the solution was $125,000. Why? Because he didn't know how much he was going to have to come up with in order for an annual salary for this particular new employee, right? The value of the solution was $125,000. So if they're going to invest in you, they have to understand what their return is.
So it kind of goes like this, if they're going to invest $10,000 with you and you're solving a $125,000 problem, they can easily see the return on investment. The bigger that gap, the smaller your number looks, right? So like I said, people don't like big numbers so create the big number as the value, and then you come in with the investment, and then it looks like a no-brainer that your prospect would say yes to. So that is another critical question to ask.
Yeah, what is the value to the solution or the ROI, correct?
And like I said, all of the prospects want to know that, and a lot of them will be right in your face and be like, "How are you going to guarantee results?" And listen, they're not really looking for guarantees. They just want a number. So instead of running away from the conversation, now you know how to handle it and just take it down head on.
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Well, that's good. I'm going to recap real quick for listeners, if that's okay. Number one is how to start the conversation and get the curiosity going and put your client at ease, and don't make it all about you and how your grandpa started the company. Make it about them. Number two, find out who the decision maker is. Make sure you're not dealing with a gatekeeper. Nothing like playing the perfect game or hitting a home run and then all of a sudden find out that you've got a gatekeeper that can't even make the decision. Number three is identify the pain, their pain, and look for those, what did you call them, the moments of?
The visceral reactions.
Yes. And then number four, roadblocks and objections, look for roadblocks and objections. Ask them if they have any or what those are. Number five, what does a successful engagement look like, or what does a successful vendor look like to them and let them come up with those successes because then you can include those in your proposal so you don't do like everybody else that has already made them angry. And then number six, what is the value to the solution or the ROI? Did I sum that up okay, Debra?
Oh, that was beautiful, Paul. That was awesome. Thank you.
Yeah, and I know you've got a great .pdf resource. I'm going to put the link in there, and I guess they can get that at, what is that, is that a ...
Yeah, it's mastermysales.com.
Okay. I'll put the link in there. You guys can click on it, download it. Man, I mean these are great tactics that I think really help. But I've got to ask you this, those are great ... Well, actually before we move to that question I've got to ask you one other thing on the sales process. When you're, this is kind of just a general thing, when you're in a discovery call.
A lot of times I find what I find in discovery calls is the clients or the prospect really want to talk about solutions. Obviously you identify their pain, but I feel that the more you provide solutions in a discovery call, you're actually devaluing and sometimes not positioning yourself the best that you could. I try to stay away from solutions in discovery calls.
You know, you've got to dance around the edges a little bit, but I think if you just go full on discovery, sometimes people will get what they want in the call and won't call you back because you've solved their problem right then and there in some cases. Have you had any experience with that, or do you have any feelings on that?
Yeah, this is the, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?" problem. Yeah, I know a lot of people who have that, and I had that problem too for a long time until I banged my head against the wall enough to come up with a solution. And you know what, you kind of answered your own question, Paul, because, and this is good for your listeners too, is that you have to remember think about the terminology of what this call is. It is a discovery call. It is not a solution call.
Solution call. Right? That's a quotable right there. Yeah.
That's going to be your quote card, "This is a discovery call, not a solution call."
Yeah, and so people pay for your solutions. It is your outreach and your ability to help someone to get clear on their problem, and that is the purpose of a discovery call. Most people, they have a problem, their hair's on fire, but they don't really know the problem behind the problem, and they don't know how to solve the problem. And some people don't even know what the problem is. They think something else is the problem than what it actually is.
So the way that you approach that is by asking very specific questions in a very specific order. It unravels all of that and gets them out of this chaos. So the gifts that you're giving your prospect, it's not a solution, it is clarity, getting them crystal clear on what their problem is, and then really looking at a roadmap of, "Okay, so then what is the solution?" So that they tell you what it is so you can just insert that into your proposal, I told you no dog and pony show, comes right from your prospect. So that's the gift that you give them, the gift of clarity.
Awesome. Okay, that makes so much sense. That makes so much sense, that is so helpful. Man, that's good stuff. I hope everybody out there listening is taking notes or tuning into the shownotes because those are some good golden nuggets right there, and that's good, helpful advice, Debra, really appreciate it. I've got to ask you this. You know, my show's all about pricing, and you know I've talked about using options and helping you get more value and stuff, and we've riffed on that a little bit, but let's talk a little bit of pricing, and you know we all struggle with pricing, but what are some areas that you've struggled in pricing over the years, and how did you overcome them to get that higher value? Were you undercharging yourself early on, and how did you overcome that and get to that higher level?
Of course I was undercharging, come on.
We all do it. We all do it.
I think we all do it until we get a clue, and it's like, "Oh, I can probably do this for more money and bigger clients. Oh yeah, that's great. Maybe I'll sign up for that." So I'm going to tell you one of the biggest challenges I see probably isn't going to be a typical one that most people would think, but just stay with me here for a moment, Paul. I think the challenge is is when we get to proposal and we're trying to price a proposal, we try to step into our prospect's shoes and say, "What would they pay?"
And I think that is one of the biggest mistakes that we can make. So I actually encourage a two part process. I say take all of the information that you got on the discovery call, put pricing to the side, and actually map out, write down, type out what is the solution that will solve their problem. Take pricing off the table. Get to what is the solution to their problem, write that down, look at it, and then what is the pricing around that? Because it may be a project for six months. It may be something at a certain hourly rate. You may have to pull in other resources.
So I think taking ourselves out of the pricing conversation and into the solution, when you start from that perspective you're actually pricing your solution based on what is going to solve the problem, not what you think they're going to pay.
So because if you can get yourself wrapped around that then you can sell yourself on that proposal. Because don't forget, 50% of the sale is confidence.
And if you're not confident about your proposal and you're not confident that it's going to solve their problem then your goose is cooked, right?
So I think that is a real empowering move that I learned that was like, "Whoa, this is awesome," and you can just take it from that perspective, what is the solution, and it may be too rich for them, but it's good for your prospect to know that if they want this solution in its entirety, this is going to be the investment."
And then, you could always backtrack from there versus starting with your lowest offer. You start with your lowest offer, there's no place to go.
You're toast. No, you got to anchor high as I always say. Anchor high.
Yep, and you know you hit it on the head with starting with the higher amount because also if you also focus when you're getting ready to put your proposal on what you mentioned earlier, and that is the value. It's like hey, compared to the value that I'm providing, this is peanuts. You know, and that should give you confidence to go in there with your head high and not go, "It's $25,000," you know all timid. No, it's $25,000 because it's going to provide a solution that's going to generate $500,000. You know, you just boom, boom, boom.
That's great advice, great advice. So Debra, over at mastermysales.com, you have the online course and the six question .pdf for closing a sale. What else, do you do coaching? What other products and services do you have over there on that webpage?
Yep, so for right now I do offer an online sales mastery course. It is geared towards accountants, bookkeepers, and coaches whether they're involved in finance or business, but really any consultant or a coach can really utilize the resources in there. I just happened to be surrounded with a lot of bookkeepers and accountants all day long since I do have a ... my main practice is a CFO practice so doing outsource CFO work for IT companies.
Yeah, so I actually created it for them, but that's ... So what we do is we have that course, and then we also have a monthly live call where people are able to call in and do some live Q&A. So if there's any sales questions, that is also another group that people can join. So that's what we have to offer on that at this time, yeah.
Okay. Those are the two products that you have, there. Now, are you also doing any one on one coaching for people if they're interested, or?
Yeah, so if people are interested in that they can always reach out. There is a way to do so on the website, just to go ahead and contact me. I think I have my number on there. You can send me a quick text or an email, and we can always talk about the one on one. But yeah, you know, the one on one stuff is probably, and that's really reserved for people that are really looking to make an impact on a higher level because we get to it. So you better be prepared because you're going to make an impact, but yeah. So those are for people that are really ready to skyrocket their sales and just start crushing with six, seven figures, so.
Nice, nice. Well that's awesome, Debra. I mean, I'm so glad you joined me on the podcast. I mean, this is great info, and folks definitely connect with Debra. I'm going to put your webpage, all your social handles, and reach out to Debra, and I'm going to take that course. I want to be a better closer so I can't wait to take that. Was there a webinar that you were doing tied to that, or is.
I thought you had a webinar too, or do you offer those every now and then? Maybe I got one on my email list or something.
Yeah, we usually have them, and I teach them live. We usually have them about once a month right now. So if you decide to take advantage of the resource The Six Questions then you'll get an invite to the webinar. We have them once a month, so.
Okay. Well I'm definitely going to be joining that. I would encourage all of you out there to do that. Be a better closer, incorporate the six questions, close those deals, and you will be able to kill it out there thanks to Debra.
Thank again so much, Debra, for coming onto the show and sharing your knowledge, and I'm so glad everybody was able to connect with you and hear your zone of genius.
Connect with Debra:
Sales Mastery - 6 Secret Questions To Close More Sales
Master My Sales Online Course
Yes, this week I talk to you about your next best step! Or that one thing that would really advance your business to where you want it to be.
However, I know narrowing down this step and staying focused can be challenging while trying to grow your business.
I’m sure you’re like me and have suffered from “shiny object syndrome” as there are so many things we can do on a daily basis in our businesses that we think moves us forward to success in business and life.
In this episode, I want to share with you how I combat shinny object syndrome and stay focus while prioritising my daily business on a day to day basis which might just help you in your business.
Back in 2009, I left the security of my 6 figure salary with full benefit I had to figure out not only how to generate income quickly, but how to set up a business.
I knew I wanted to be a consultant but I had no track record on my own only businesses and companies I had worked for in the past. I had so many important questions I needed to answer:
Would anyone take me seriously?
Would I be laughed at by my peers and family?
Where do I start?
Is a business licenses and insurance required?
What about marketing?
How do I get my first clients?
I had a family to feed at the time!
Maybe your are currently with a corporate organization and are wanting to make the leap to private consultant?
Or maybe you’re just in the beginning stages of getting into the mindset to go out on your own!
Either way, I recommend you get organised and plan for this transition rather than just make a giant leap of faith.
You must then employ Your Next Best step. Now some of you might be like, well Paul I already have my business set up and I am way past that
This can be on a minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day week by week, month by month and year by year basis.
When you're faced with a decision or you wake up in the morning and are ready to focus on building your business ask yourself: What is my Next Best Step to advance my business?
Is it allowing your email box to be your to do list?
Is it watching that new you tube video on how to automate something that might save you time in the future when you have more things in place?
Stop wasting time on learning, gaining knowledge, tactics and start Implementing them!
Or as I like to say
“Quit getting high on content and start getting on your content”
Here are a few tips that I use:
I have a white board and I map out day by day, month by month year by year.
On my white board I will write down all the things that need to be done And then each day I prioritize by what my next best step is
I'll then prioritize by revenue generation tasks and what I can delegate onto someone else.
I understand this is not always your next best step.
Especially if you are trying to pivot, create a new product or service line.
Or the most difficult situation, if you get caught up in the dollars of the moment serving an existing client base or vertical that you are trying to pivot away from.
This can really keep your next best step under the illusion of saying "Its easy, I know how to do it, I'll just knock it our real quick and then get started on my business later". Be careful!!
If this is the case, what you're really saying to yourself is: “My next best step is where I am and I don’t really want to grow”
I challenge you to always ask our self…..Is this The next best step for my business to achieve the results and success that I desire
So what is your next best step in your business? Let me know I would love to hear from you.
On this episode I discuss:
Do you ever feel pressured to post on social media all the time?
Especially at conferences and live events to help advance your brand?
This week I share with you a personal story and why I think it’s important to unplug for the benefit of not only yourself but for your brand as well.
In this episode, I want to share with you how I took a different approach to this and how I took a break from all the digital noise.
Most of all, I want to share with you how I was still able to advance my brand in a much deeper and better way.
I share this and more about my recent trip to Franklin, Tennessee! Tune in!
On this episode you’ll here:
Connect with Paul:
The Product Pricing Roadmap
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/paulkleintv/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/paulkleintv
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/paulkleinTV/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/PaulKleinTV
YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoQRkgXR4ClPAub12lXgPwg
Paul Klein:This week, I've got a great interview for you again. I’ve Got my friend Dr. Michael Hudson. He's a great guy. I'm so honored that he's going to be on the show. We had a great conversation about a lot of things.
He's a wealth of knowledge, has a great platform, very experienced. He's a speaker, coach, consultant for the last 35 years. He's a former college professor with the University of Illinois, and like me, he was a entrepreneur stuck in a bureaucracy. I identify with his story so much because he was like myself. I was trapped in a bureaucracy, and that entrepreneurial itch made itself known, and we just went for it and left the safety net, and went out on our own. Michael did that. He's worked as a high-end consultant specifically in the credit union space.
Now he helps professionals become entrepreneurs, speakers, and getting their message heard. That's his platform. The name of his podcast, it's on a hiatus right now, but it's called the Get Your Message podcast with Dr. Michael Hudson. He also does a weekly Facebook video that you can tune into that's real valuable, as well as he has some pretty good resources on his page, the Value Calculation, the High-End Consultant's Toolbox. A lot of freebies. Michael gives a lot of things away, and we talk about his value calculation methodology. He has a ton of resources. The High-End Consultant's Toolbox and several other resources on his web page.
Michael how are you doing today?
Michael:Outstanding, man, outstanding. Wonderful day here in Delaware.
Paul:Yeah, we're on opposite sides of the Earth. Man, it's so great to be able to connect. You're over near Delaware, and I'm over in California. Man, we get to have a conversation today and talk to our audience. Life's good, isn't it? Tell us about your web page, and what you're up to, and your background.
Michael Hudson: Sure. Thank you, Paul. As we all know, these are tough questions to answer because there's so much. I'm not an old man, but I'm not a young man, either. You got six decades here. As you know, I describe myself as a recovering college professor, which pretty much just means bureaucracies and I are not a good mix. Despite the fact I had the privilege of having a great ride for a decade there, and building nationally recognized programs at two universities, my entrepreneurial genes got triggered when I was seven years old and I started from my first business. Just kicked into high gear when I started approaching my 30s and said, "I got to get back to that world." I've been a speaker, coaching, consultant for 35 years, Paul, literally. 14 days from today is the 35 anniversary of the founding of my business.
Micheal Cont'd: I did it part-time. I literally signed my first consulting contract the day I signed my first employment contract at the University of Illinois. I did that for ten years as a side hustle before we knew the word side hustle. Then I left that world and went full-time coaching, speaking, consulting. I fell into a niche. I know we're going to probably talk about that a little bit because I know niching is one of the subjects that you like to make sure your audience thinks about. Accidentally fell into a niche and built a business doing work that I enjoyed, that I was good at, and ran that for 15 or 16 years, and then one day had an awakening.
I'm not really as aligned with my passion as I want to be. The other piece of the back story that's going to sound odd for someone listening who doesn't know anything about me is I was petrified to speak in public as a child. Now, you would never guess that.
Paul: That's because this is a pretty great speaker.
Michael Hudson: Thank you, thank you. It's because of some pretty bad stuff that happened to me. This is a lot to drop on an audience in a quick thing, but it's an important point. My fundamental belief in life is this. Every one of us, Paul Klein, Michael Hudson, our friend, Mike Kim, everybody else we know, we all travel a journey. That journey brings good and bad stuff into our life. All that stuff shapes us and equips us with a message that only we can share. There are people on this planet, I believe, who are here to hear that message from us.
Michael: I had this awakening... I'll tell you the quick story, okay? I was hired to facilitate a workshop after a keynote speech. Keynoter, he did his keynote, and then I took a third of the audience, and two other coaches took a third of the audience, and we said, "Okay, what do you do with what you just learned?" Paul, he started his speech by giving each of us a sheet of paper with a dot in the middle of a circle. He said, "I want you to draw a pie chart of how much good work, bad work, and great work you're doing." He said, "The definition of bad work is abbreviated WOMBAT."
"It is a waste of money, bandwidth, and time. Good work is your job description. You're good at it. If you don't do it, it doesn't get done. Great work is the work that you're really here to do. I want you to draw a pie chart, and be honest with yourself about how much good work, bad work, and great work you're doing." I'm sitting at a table, Paul, with six CEOs who are going to be in a room with me, and about 100 other people after this. I had to be honest. I draw the pie chart, and I label 65% of my work bad work, 5% great work, and the rest good. I am gobsmacked by the fact that that's how I see, but that's how.
On the plane on the way home, I make a list of the clients who are good work, bad work, and great work clients. I look for commonalities. I then decide, Paul, after being gone for four days to inform my wife on Monday morning that I'm firing 65% of our clients. She looks and me and says... I said, "By the way, I'm going to double the business next year and sell it, because I realized I'm not doing what I'm here to do." "How is that going to work?" I said, "I don't know. It'll work because the universe does." Fortunately it did. The reason I wanted to double the business is because I wanted to be able to sell it.
I sold the business, and that was a niche business in the credit union space. Nothing wrong with the space. It was more where I was positioned, because what I realized, Paul, was that because I couldn't communicate as a child, what I cared most about was making sure people could communicate. The bad work clients were clients who weren't communicating, and the great work clients were clients who were allowing me and enabling me to open the doors to enhance communication, both individual people as well as teams.
Paul Klein: Right.
Michael Hudson: I decided to refocus my work there, which is where the whole Get Your Message Heard objective came from, and this fundamental belief I finally recognized. Today my work is focused on that, and specifically working with speakers, coaches, and consultants, helping them unlock their message so they can attract the right clients, repel the wrong ones, and do the great work that they're here to do.
Paul Klein: Yeah, no, that's awesome. That's all post-academia. You were with the University of Illinois for many years. When you made that transition from the bureaucracy, I think you and I were both what I call an entrepreneur stuck in a bureaucracy. When you made that transition, that was all pre... We're very similar in age, pre-Internet. I think it was '90s, right?
Michael:When I left Cornell, because I was in Illinois for five and a half years. I was at Cornell for four and a half. When I left Cornell, the Internet was just awakening. I was at the point where I was eligible for a sabbatical, so I took that year. I spent that year playing on the Internet back in the days where it was chat rooms on AOL. If you wanted to send a document, you sent it via AOL or faxed it. Yes, I had the fax machine, I had the big phone lying on the seat.
Paul Klein: Yeah. Good old days. I'm interested in your perspective on that. You're older than me, but you are very well adapted. For those of you who don't know, Michael, he's got Facebook, he does videos. Comparing to how it is now and how you run your business compared to how it was in the early '90s when we had dialup and all that, would you say it's easier now or harder now?
Michael Hudson: I think the answer to that is almost always going to be is both. But it does open the door for you to make it easier, I think. I'll give you a quick example, Paul. About six weeks ago, I got this little bug that said, "I need to talk to my audience a little bit, because I'm not sure that I'm understanding exactly what they want." Think about how much work this would have taken 20 years ago.
Paul Klein: Yeah, we'd have been part of NASA haha.
Michael Hudson: I go on Facebook, and I say, "I'd like to have a ten-minute conversation with you and ask you two questions. If you're interested, send me a direct message, and I'll follow up." 35 people respond. I reach out. I use a scheduling tool online that I send them to where they can go book the appointment, and I had these phone conversations. I use Zoom. Actually, I didn't use Zoom. I just phoned all these because I didn't want the face-to-face. Sometimes people try too hard to say it the right way, and I just wanted them to say it. I walked away from those phone calls realizing that people were expressing three areas of frustration.
So I said, "You know what? Why don't I offer a pilot coaching program to address those three areas of frustration?" Again, in the world we live in, what did I do? Okay, so I made a list. Who were the 15 people I'd like to have in the program? I sent them direct messages, either on Facebook or LinkedIn, basically said, "Hey, I'm launching a 90-day coaching program. If you're interested, let me know. I'd love to have you in it." I had 15... No, I had 12 conversations, and I got 10 people.
Paul Klein: That's awesome.
Michael Hudson:Yes, we could have done that in the old days, but what would that have taken? Multiple phone calls that we'd have had to align our schedules just to talk, whereas now I just post it, and they get the message whenever they want. I just think that makes it so easy. What gets in our way is the perfection trap. I decided I'm not doing some marketing campaign on this. Did I talk to everybody I saw? Yes. The other thing I did is I did a handful of Facebook Lives where I hit on some theme that was tied to what I learned in those conversations.
Michael Continues: Paul, I've got to tell you this quick story about this, because this is... Have you ever doubted whether social media works?
Paul Klein: Yeah, all the time.
Michael Hudson: I am driving to have dinner actually with our friend, Mike Kim. Not that I'm trying to mention Mike all day today, but it's just ironic. I'm driving to DC to have dinner with Mike. That morning I had awakened and is said, "You know what? I'm done wasting time on Facebook. I have never had somebody pay me from Facebook ever." This was about three weeks ago when I'm just kicking off this coaching program. I happen to stop to get a cup of ice tea at Dunkin' Donuts, and I get a Facebook Messenger message from somebody I haven't talked to in five or six years.
I had put out a thing last call for my coaching program or something like, "I'm coaching a new coaching program if you're interested." He sent me a direct message, "Hey, he haven't talked in a while, but I'm really curious about your coaching program." Since I was on the road doing windshield time, I send him a quick message back. I said, "Give me a call in the next 10 or 15 minutes. I'm on the road for the next hour and a half. Happy to talk. Let's catch up." He calls. Before I get to DC, I booked my first client through Facebook who was actually a paying client.
I'm like, "Okay, that decision this morning was a little premature."
Michael continues: Then it ended up that out of the ten that I got, seven of them actually, it was all done through Facebook. The others were LinkedIn. It really shifted my perspective to realize we can use this, and it's all about intention.
Paul: Yes. What you're talking about, and what we're able to do now, what I call this is the great knowledge economy. You were able to do your product development, marketing, and onboarding all in one, basically almost in the same motion. It was all because of video conversations and social media. Whereas back in the '90s, we would have had to print ads. We'd had to print up flyers and mailers and things like that.
Michael Hudson: You had to hire a designer to create all that stuff.
Paul: Yeah, and it would have been a no... You're able to do your product development all around your coaching and your knowledge or your expertise that you have to serve these people, and you got ten people that you're going to serve, and serve well, and share your experience. Then they're going to be better off and be able to go do the same and similar things, which is just a wonderful, wonderful way to look at it. I think a lot of people get stuck in brick and mortar, "Oh, product development. We have to," overcomplicate it, like you said. We overcomplicate it.
Michael: One of my big mantras that kicked in at the end of the first quarter is try, test, rinse, and repeat. I could say try, test, learn, rinse, and repeat. I want you to learn, right?
Michael: You replicate the process again. I'm going to do a very similar, a PLF model of a set of webinars for free, and the back end is going to be a course that fulfills the promise that we discussed in our webinars. I'm not going to go through all the machinations of all the stuff, and put a team in place, and all that. I'm just going to do it, and I'm doing these things as pilots so I can learn and then say, "Okay, how do I now take that to the next level?" I already know what's next in this coaching program based on what I've learned just in the first couple weeks.
Continues: One of the things I realized is there's a missing piece here, so I'm going to create a course on that and do that as a pilot. I think the hurdle there ties to your podcast, because the hurdle is pricing. We think, "Where do we price it? Oh, my gosh, if I do pilots, I'm not going to make any money." Every dollar that comes in the door matters. If you're running a small business, every dollar that comes in the door matters. I said, "I'm pricing this ridiculously cheap, and I'm going to acknowledge that." Look, I've priced this where I think you can't possibility say no.
Paul: Tons of value.
Michael: Somebody says to me, "How can you do that?" I said, "Because I want to way over-deliver the value to you. I want to learn with you and from you while we do this. I want you to know this is a pilot program." Paul, what I'm testing in this program is basically unlimited access to me. You can text me, email me, or request a conversation for a quick question, and so forth any time you want during the time we're working together. Then we schedule a call, and it's paid access to the ridiculous price. I shared that with some of our colleagues and they go, "Why would you do that? That's ridiculous. You should charge more than that."
Because I don't want to fight with people to get them in. Pick the people that I knew I could help, and that I knew would give me honest feedback. I think we can all serve ourselves well if we will get gutsy enough to do that.
Paul: I think you can also perfect your product, too. Another product may come out of that. Another offering, engagement, or group coaching. Who knows what'll develop from the feedback you get from the group?
Michael tell the people in the program, but there will be a mastermind group offering at the end of it. It all will because crystal clear because of the obvious overlap between these people, and where they are, and what they need.
Paul: Yeah, absolutely. Creating that product ladder and that value ladder for people to onboard on a lower tier product, and then as they engage with you more... Just like Apple, we started buying the iPod, then the iPhone, then the iPad, then the MacBook. Now if you want a $17,000 iWatch and you're independently wealthy, you can go buy one of those.
Michael:Paul, I just want you to know, I do listen to the stuff you teach. I'm not-
Paul: Yeah, I'm honored.
Michael: I may be a slow learner and adopter, but I do listen.
Paul:That's awesome. That's awesome.
Michael :Paul, I want to hit this as a point, though. This is important. You may make this point. I'm not saying I listen to every word and memorized it, but a decision that drove this for me was one thing. I woke up and I realized, stop swinging for the fences. I have always swung for the fences. Some of us, you may have done this in your career, too. We get big home runs sometimes where we're in the corporate bureaucratic world, and now that's our standard for when we're really succeeding and excelling. Now we go into this space, and we start saying, "I got to swing for the fences. I want 50 people."
This all started when I made a decision. I'm going to do a live event. I want 50 people in the room. To be very, perhaps more honest than I should, and I want to generate $250,000 gross revenue from the event.
Michael: I think I can do that, but I realized, you know what? That's a swing for the fences. I put all the time, effort, and energy in that. What if I'm wrong? What if I miss the mark? I go back and start studying some of my heroes and some of the people I follow. I realize, look, a lot of them have been a lot smarter than this, and they've done it on a small scale, or they've tried it, they've tested it, and they've worked up to that. Why are you always swinging for the fences? Then perfectionism getting in the way, and you never actually exit.
I threw all that to the wind and said, "Let's just do this. Let's build a simple value letter based on get you in, what's next? What's next? What's next?" Because that's what I did in the niche space in the corporate world. Why not do it in the one-on-one world?
Paul:Yeah, yeah. We're not always going to hit a home run. As Mike says, our friend, success is sequential, not instantaneous. Tony didn't just become Tony, not that we want to be Tony, but he's a well-known successful speaker and motivator. You look way back. I remember seeing his late night TV when the commercials were over. You used to see him on TV just grinding before he was what he is today. That's great, Michael. I really appreciate that perspective. I want to move on to transition to some other things I wanted to ask you about.
One was we always talk about pricing on the podcast. I know you have experience both on academia, making the transition to the corporate world, the credit union world, all that great stuff. Great consulting, high-end consulting. When it comes to pricing, how do you find the sweet spot? You don't want to charge too much, but you don't want to charge too little and undervalue yourself. How did you make that transition into charging the full value for what you're worth, but also not charging too much? How did you make that call when you first started out in your consultancy?
Michael:It's the hardest call to make, because the first person you got to convince you're worth it is you. At some point, you start listening enough and learning from what you're hearing from others, and realizing that, look, value is about the impact on an organization that you create. What I started to finally realize was, look, these... Let's go back to the 65% of the bad work clients. Most of them were clients that were smaller. They didn't have the perspective of value that I needed for the quality of what I could do and what I could create for them.
They didn't have a team that could actually execute. That was a big part of that problem for me. I was also wanting to help and serve, so I was accepting whatever they were offering. I was in a niche. The credit union niche that I fell in... Remember, credit unions are not-for-profit organizations. They're not non-profits, but they're not for-profit. They're rather conservative. They're also financial people, so they're even more conservative. I stepped in, and this is way they pay. There was the going rate for what you got paid to do, and I started strategic planning.
I spoke at a bunch of conventions and started getting hired to do a lot of strategic planning. There was a mindset, and you've experienced this, Paul. There are certain industries that have a level set in their mind, this is what this costs. The first thing I did was I started asking, "What's your budget?" If the budget was below what the going rate was, that gave me a hint, this is not a client for me.
Paul:Yeah, you could detect it right away, huh?
Michael:Then I learned, and I picked this up over the years. I picked it up in conversation. I learned to start probing with more questions. You know I think my mantra is ask, listen, learn, and serve. I shifted the burden away from me trying to define the price to getting them to help define what it would be worth to them to have a better strategic plan, and to learn and understand what the problems were they were encountering, and to then in my mind say,
"Okay, based on the size that they are of an organization and the annual revenue they are generating... "
Even a not-for-profit has to make a profit or they stop existing. In the profit they're making a year, how much of a difference does my work create in that number? Start to contextualize that. You start saying, "You know what? That number that everybody else pays is at least 25% or 50% or 75% in some cases, in some cases 500% too low for what their impact is going to be." Very quickly what emerges, and I know you've experienced this, too, is you start finding that the larger organizations are familiar with paying more because they realize the value is bigger.
The amount that's on the line, the risk is higher. The secret sauce for me, Paul, was more in... I'll use your term, which I'm probably tweaking it slightly, but building a value ladder in terms of what I was delivering. To put that very simply, and strategic planning session that I was running involved prework, it involved the session itself, and it involved postwork. Obviously, I was originally not laying that out for the client. It would just happen. Then one day I had this epiphany. "Why don't you show them all the work that they're getting that they don't know they're getting?"
Paul Klein:Yeah, yeah. Take credit for it.
Michael Hudson:Yeah, and I think you've seen my value calculation and proposal template stuff.
Paul Klein: Yeah.
Michael Hudson: I create this one-page table. One of the blessed things about academia was I had to spend too much time creating journal articles and things like that, so I got masterful at things like tables, so I built this table. Table had column one was, what's the activity? Column two was when is it going to happen? Because I found that if I put dates in a proposal of when I wanted it to happen, it could happen on my schedule a lot more than if I just said, "We'll schedule that." Column three said, "Who's involved?" Column four, "What's the objective?"
There was a row right under the header that said, "Pre-planning session." The steps that fit in there were there. Then there was a row that said, "Planning session." There was a couple rows there. Then there was the row that said, "Post-planning session." I had the real epiphany that changed everything. If I get myself back on site with them in the post-planning session phase, I am there when they're making the decision of who they're going to hire next year.
I went from going where I would go into two-day or a three-day planning session at some off-site location to doing a pre-planning workshop and a action planning workshop after the planning session, which revealed more to them. Tripled the value of the contracts, greatly enhanced the value of the process, because most strategic planning sessions where you go do it, and you go home, and it works all on them, and gave me a resale opportunity because if they were happy at that point, I could say, "By the way, I don't know what you're thinking next year, but if you got your date, I'd love to put on hold if you'd like to work with me again."
That was the first sequence. Second sequence, a real quick one. Then I decided when I'd start the conversation to say the following. After we had the initial summit, because most of my business was from referral. Someone would call and say, "Let me tell you how my process works. I work with you to set you out on a five-year strategic plan. That's not saying you have to bring me in every one of those five years, but I'm going to set the foundation for you so then your next three to four years will be easier because you'll have a frame of reference there." Paul, that turned into everybody hired you for five years.
Paul Klein:Yeah, yeah. Always better than acquisition.
Michael Hudson:It's a lot cheaper and a lot easier.
Paul Klein:That was a good framework there. I could see how that worked well.
Michael Hudson: I can say this feeling pretty confident. There's no way anybody involved with this would know, but the other thing that changed it one day was a client who made a comment to me about what someone else was charging. I did something I had never done before. They called me. They had been referred to me. We had a couple conversations, and there was a little uncertainty. I said, "How about if I fly out and we spend a day together and map this out, and see what fits for you?" That's my view, has always been to customize the work to the client.
Paul Klein: Yeah.
Michael Hudson: I flew out. We never discussed who's paying for it, because I was paying for it. We finished it. We got it all mapped out. They're now invested. We're in the process. It cost me air fare and a couple nights on the road. I come back and she says, "By the way, there's one thing we didn't talk about. What's this going to cost me?" At that point, you're done. The contract is ready, and they're bought in because they own it, because you just spent a lot of time helping them map it. I said, "Where is your budget?" She made a statement. "As long as it's not over this, which is what so and so wants, the job is yours."
Paul: Yeah, yeah.
Michael:I don't mean that manipulatively, but the reality is that number that so and so wanted was about seven times what I had been charging.
Paul:Had a few more zeroes on it, huh?
Michael :Yeah. I said, "Okay, wait a minute. I'm charging you guys too little," and that completely reset my pricing structure. My point is build a relationship to get the comfort and the freedom. Make an investment that you may need to make to go do some work to earn the right for them to be candid and honest with you. That can go a long way.
Paul Klein:Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, for those listeners out there that want to get into C suit coaching or workshops for corporate world, those kind of things, you got to connect with Michael because he's got great templates out there that he was just talking about that you can download that are just great for that whole realm. If you binge on his podcast, you'll get a lot of that information. Anybody who's wanting to enter that world, you've got to connect with Michael. That brings me to the... You mentioned it briefly, but I wanted to share it with our audience in a little more detail if you could, Michael.
Maybe we can put this in the show notes, but is that value calculation. You have that PDF that shows how to price or how to determine value of your service for a corporate client or so forth so you can maximize your value for them. Tell us a little bit about that value calculation methodology that you have.
Michael Hudson: Well it's so simple it's almost stupid. I don't mean that in a harsh way. The easiest way to get people to talk about value to get them to think about something anybody understands, no matter who they are or where they are in their organization. One thing everybody understands in any organization is time. You're not going to find five our of 100 people who will tell you they're not running short on time. What people forget about is how much the small moments count up and aggregate across the course of a year. Where I start the conversation is a very simple place. Let's say we're having a conversation about doing a culture intervention.
What's our objective. If I want to show them the value, I need to understand what the pain is costing them. This is an actual example without names and words. I have a client, contacts me because their CEO sees me speak on culture at an event. She tells her HR director, "You need to bring this guy in to help us with our problem." I come in. The first question is, "Tell me what's going on. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." It was a matter where they had merged a new organization in. The alignment didn't fit. The organization had a crappy culture.
They had a very strong culture. The people were... Everybody is confused. I said, "What's happening as a result of that?" "Well, we're losing people." "Wow, that's got to be a pain." Ultimately I get her to the point of saying, "What's that cost you when you lose a person? How long does it take to replace that person? How many hours are involved?" She gives me a number. I say, "What else is involved?" I'm taking notes, calculating. We come up, and we're like, "Okay, you're taking 20 or 25 or 30 hours just to replace anybody that you're losing because the culture fit is not right."
"What's the average salary of these people you're recruiting?" We very quickly got a cost, right?
Michael:What are the people who are doing the recruiting, what are you paying them? Every 30 hours they're losing is costing you this much, and you're losing how many people every quarter? You suddenly create... It's not inflation. It's accurate.
Paul:No, you just created what we call a metric for your cost savings or revenue increases. In this case, it's cost savings, and as a metric to that, that's the staff time, cost. That's a dollar amount. Now your fee should be based on that cost savings. That's where you're going, right?
Michael Hudson: Yeah. You teach that. You take something simpler. Let's take a communication issue where there's miscommunication occurring. A lot of times that's the root of most problems in a corporate organization. Say, "Okay, how many times a day do you encounter this problem?" "Maybe six." "Okay. How many other people in your department encounter that probably every day?" "Three others." "How many times do they encounter it?" "They probably get it more than I do, because the six I get come through them." "What's a number?" "Each of them probably has 15 of these a day."
"Okay. How long does it take them to handle?" "10, 12 minutes. Maybe 15." I said, "Okay. When they handle it, is anybody else involved?" You see where I'm going here.
Michael Hudson: Now we end up, we say, "Okay, let's just think about the ten minutes." You reveal this, Paul. This little statement I'm about to make can make your audience a lot of money.
Paul Klein: Okay, hold on. Let me get my pen.
Michael Hudson:You know what statement. The statement is just, "Do you realize how much time you lose a year if you lose ten minutes a day to a problem?"
Paul Klein: I'm not very good at math.
Michael Hudson:Most people will look at you just like you just looked at the sky, right?
Michael Hudson: You say, "Let's just work it out." You work it out in front of them. This feels salesy, but trust me, it doesn't come off that way, because you're teaching them.
Paul Klein:Yeah. You'll be having a conversation.
Michael Hudson: Yeah. You're saying, "Okay, you work 50 weeks a year, right? Yeah, okay, that's 250 days a year, times ten minutes a day. That problem happens one time, ten minutes a day it eats up. You've lost 2,500 minutes. Divide that by 60. That's over 40 hours. That ten minute a day problem is costing you a full week every year."
Paul Klein: Yeah.
Michael Hudson: "Is it possible some days you had that problem three or four times?" "Oh, God, I have it five times a day, every day." "Okay, so now what do we got? Now we got five weeks of the year. How many people in the organizations have this problem?" "All of our 20 senior leaders have it." "Okay, so we got 20 people now losing five weeks a year. That's 100 weeks a year. What's the average salary and benefits package for these people?"
Paul: Yeah, your average billable rate or whatever. Yeah.
Michael:Now we do the math and you got this massive value and say, "If we could only get each person to stop having, cut out two of the five times a day they experience it, look what it's worth to you."
Michael Hudson:Then you look at your fee and your pricing based on... Let's look at it relative to that magnitude. When somebody pushes back on price, they wither. That's the other point. If you forget to do this, and somebody pushes back on price, you say, "Wait a minute, let's talk about what this is worth to your organization. What's this problem costing?" Time is such an easy way, because nobody can argue with it, because they all know it.
Paul Klein: Yeah. Yeah, that's when you want to point out charging by time is to your advantage, because that's a clear way how most clients equate things. Obviously I'm a proponent of the billable hour or anything, as you know. You aren't, either. In your client's mind when you're trying to establish that baseline or that value that you're going to save them by solving the problem, absolutely. It's not very hard to demonstrate that, like you said. If you don't demonstrate that, and then you get into a price... Not debate, but conversation, it's harder to make your case for those higher rates. You've got to position yourself by making that case to your client.
Michael Hudson: Paul, there's a foundation here. You can't lead with price and do this. In the sense that you don't put the price on the table until you have to. My whole table thing that's in my proposals, is my proposal template, as I call it. I often will take that after the intake conversation, and lay that out as to what it looks like, and share it with them without any other details because that frames the conversation. We haven't even talked about price. Now I can have the value build conversation with them about, "This is what this will do, this is what this will do, this is how this will benefit you." In that process, what's going to happen is they're going to open doors and show you the way.
You'll hear them say, "My problem is I'm sick and tired of having people on the team who don't get it." "What's causing that?" Now you can go further, and you can start saying, "How much time is that costing?" If you bring it back to that, ironically they don't think about you in terms of time anymore, because now you're a problem-solving partner.
Paul Klein: Right.
Michael Hudson:The other secret in this, and you know this, I know, is you use we more than you use I.
Michael Hudson:How much is this problem costing us?
Paul Klein: Now you're vesting yourself in with them as part of
Paul Klein:Part of the team.
Michael Hudson:Pricing is positioning, is your whole point. Positioning you as a member of their team as opposed to some outside dude with the solution changes the picture.
Paul Klein:Yeah, yeah. Man, those are excellent points. We're definitely going to have to include the value calculation PDF that you have for people so they can get that. It's another way or form of value-based pricing, although Ron Baker, Alan Weiss, they do it on a whole different magnitude. I think you've broken it down in a much more simpler and practical way for more of the common person. The guy that's a freelancer, what I call a seven or six figure small, not a $100 million consultant like Alan Weiss, but a practical consultant can take...
Those are the people I was put here to serve, so that's what I try to message to them.
Michael Hudson: Yeah. Same here. Same here.
Paul Klein:I'm not teaching $100 million, $500 million folks how do stuff, but a seven or six figure small, I'm right there with you. Moving on here, that's great. We'll put the PDF in the links and all that good stuff. Really appreciate you sharing that with my folks. The next thing is you do have a podcast. I enjoyed it. I know you put in on hiatus, and you're doing some videos. Tell us a little bit about your content plans. Are you going to be bringing the podcast back, or are you going to primarily focus on video? Tell us a little bit about that.
Michael Hudson: You asked the million-dollar question. Gosh, I wish I really knew the answer.
Paul Klein:That's okay.
Michael Hudson:I kind of do. Yes, I'm going to bring the podcast back, because the trust is I miss it. I started the podcast, and one of the major goals I had was really be clear on the message. Part of that was me doing some work personally, and working through some things that I had to figure out how they fit into things. It was also because I was trying to, and I appreciate your kind words about it earlier. I was trying to provide a basic foundation for people who are trying to get started to get past that challenge of figuring out, "Okay, what am I here to do?"
Then I shifted to the interview format, and had some great interviews. Then I reached a moment where I said, "I need to step back a little bit and think about how this play is moving forward." That was candidly, Paul, my decision to go all in on serving speakers, coaches, and consultants, and the final evolution of moving out of that niche business I had built serving the credit unions. When I sold it at the end of 2015, I carried over five clients who were in various stages of that five-year process. I had a four-year runway that wound down in terms of the revenue from that.
Like we're all probably willing to do is I kept dabbling and looking for other stuff over there because that was easy. I made this pivot because I wanted to really help people who were trying to get started. Any of the people I really work best with and that have evolved is the client. This is part of why I put the podcast on hiatus. I hadn't been addressing this issue of transition. What I'm finding is that the clients I'm working, like if you look at the people in this coaching program, almost every one of them is in some kind of a transition.
One of them has just lost their job because of a downsizing in the organization they're in. One of them has just retired from a successful career, and has a passion that they want to take to the world that they learned in that career, and they're trying to figure out how they do that. One of them is someone who has actually encountered some health issues, and those health issues led them to need to get out of their corporate job, but they have a passion message they want to share. I always found myself working with these people in transition.
I wanted to reshape the podcast. . I can't tell you exactly when it'll be rebooted, but I'm looking for the guests who are people who have rebooted or have transitioned. You've transitioned from corporate as I transition from the academic world. I'm looking for people who have had that kind of a challenge, because what I've discovered is that if I work with just the startup person who's never done anything before, I'm the wrong guy.
You and I both know the student has to be ready before the teacher can help. If you have not run something, you can't catch most of what I can help you do.
Paul Klein: Yeah, you got to go through some of that pain first before I could help you.
Michael Hudson: Yeah. You got to have mastered, "How do I get past this tough decision?" If you're still make those tough decisions for the first time, there are people who are far better capable to do that with you than me. If you're at that point where you know what the message is, at least you have a sense of why the message matters and what it should be. You know that you're ready to move on. That's where I can help you, so I've pivoted my work to there. That's where the podcast has gone in my mind, and so the reboot is going to be taking it down that path with less of the teaching stuff I did early on in Get Your Message Heard.
There's 104 episodes of Get Your Message Heard, and there's really good stuff in it.
Michael Hudson:I've had people say to me, "Hey, it's a perfect course on how to start a speaking, coaching, and consulting business." I've had people say, "The interviews really helped me frame where my speaking and consulting and coaching should go." I highly encourage people to go listen to it. They're still out there, and they're not going anywhere, but that's going to be a reboot. The video side of the question you asked, Paul, I like video. I think we don't use video enough. I think we overcomplicate video. I think we make ourselves think it has to be perfect, and it doesn't.
That doesn't mean it should be crappy, but it doesn't have to be perfect. I also think we need... This is my take. I can't give you scientific data to back this up, but we need to recognize there's an astounding number of people who watch your videos with the sound off, and I know you know this because I watch what you do where you used that tool, the closed captions get put on. Clip-O-Matic. Clip-O-Matic puts the captions on there for you. Captions are important, not only from a marketing perspective, but also people who are deaf and disabled. They can enjoy your content, as well.
We might not think about it, but a lot of times we're watching video with the sound off because of where we are.
Paul Klein: We're somewhere where we're not supposed to be watching the phone.
Michael Hudson:My goal is five-minute videos, a weekly blog gets a five-minute video, and several other videos, as I feel some Facebook Live stuff. I'm starting to do a lot more on YouTube, and starting to get some real traction on YouTube in terms of, there's a three-part series I have that we can share with the audience on attract the right clients, repel the wrong ones. I've run those three videos on LinkedIn and gotten some good conversation around them, and also picked up a lot of new requests and connections, and started some conversation.
I think LinkedIn for guys like us, men and women like us is a path we should be certainly paying attention to in using video. One of the guys I follow is a guy named Brian Fanzo, and Brian is a social media guy. He's talked a lot about how good a results he had had with these little two-minute videos he does. I'm going to keep mine in the two to five-minute range. When he uses a tool you're familiar with that I use called Splasheo, because I like it, because it's easy. I just record it. I ship it to them. They put the captions on. They send it back, and then I do what I want with it.
I like easy. I think video is a path we should use. I think instead of the traditional lead magnet where we write a document, PDF or whatever... How many PDFs, Paul, do you have on your hard drive that you have never even opened?
Michael Hudson:I'm using video for that hoping it gets more opens, hoping people see it more. I think it's more likely to get reshared. I don't have data for that, but I have people who are saying that, so I'm going to-
Paul Klein: It seems to be the trend, absolutely. Even combining video with your PDF, that's what I've done. If you download the Product Pricing Roadmap, you'll get a link to a video where I explain it. It's about 15 minutes long. It helps establish that relationship.
Michael Hudson: I love that. There's a guy named Bobby Clink, I think, and he's a lawyer. He has all kinds of forms. If you buy one of his forms, you get video showing you how to use a form.
Paul Klein:How to use a form, yeah. It's excellent.
Michael Hudson:There's a power in that. It's a marriage. It's not a either, or.
Paul Klein:Exactly. Exactly. No, you're so right. We're definitely looking forward to the podcast coming back, and I think transitioning professionals, or that whole transition thing is so important. We preach the same things, the same crowd, and so I'll definitely be looking forward and tuning into that. Also, your videos on Facebook and YouTube, I'll definitely put links into all that kind of stuff. Let's tell our listeners about the free video series. You just mentioned it briefly, but is that the best way to connect with you, Mike, is your video series?
Michael Hudson: I'd certainly love for you to grab it if you want. It's your standard thing. I think we're beyond the phase where we pretend this isn't how this work. I give you a link, you give me your email address, I send you the videos. If you don't want to hear any more from me, you get off the list. I get that. If you go to MichaelHudson.com/attract, A-T-T-R-A-C-T, there's a three-part video series there. It talks about the three things you need to do so the right clients raise their hands to work with you and the wrong clients walk away. Paul, that last part is the important part.
Stop chasing everybody. Pardon, I'm being very directive, but stop chasing everybody. Everybody is not hear for you. The story I shared earlier about what happened to me earlier in my life is not for everybody to hear. I get that. You don't care that I was petrified to speak in public is because somebody raped and molested me for a year. I get that. If that story resonates with you, then we have one step up the ladder, so yes, you and I should know more about each other.
Paul Klein:Right, right.
Michael Hudson:Understanding the language they use, the problem that they have, and the path you can give them that only you can give them in the way you can give, your framework, your intellectual property, what you have learned is worth out lives. If you're a speaker, coach, or consultant, and you're trying to take your work to the next level and get off the random revenue roller coaster, the number one most important thing is messaging. Too many of us don't give that enough... The problem is we get in our own heads, and we think we know it better than they do. Paul Klein describes his pain in a certain way. Michael Hudson describes his pain in a certain way. Every other person on the planet describes theirs in a certain way. What we have to do is say, "Let me talk to enough of them to understand what the commonalities are, and shape my messaging so they know that I understand them." Not in a manipulative way, but in a way that is candid, honest, and real, and genuine.
Paul Klein:Yeah, absolutely. What you're talking about is what we talk about a lot on the Pricing is Positioning podcast, and that's niching down, or niching down to your expertise so you attract the right customers and not the wrong ones. If you serve everybody, you serve no one. You can't. You've got to serve the ones that are right for you. People get all upset when people unsubscribe from a mailing list. I see people every now and then, I get a notification or something. It's like, "Great, I'm not for them. Maybe they'll come back later." It's not a bad thing. It's a good thing.
Michael Hudson:Yeah. I look at it that the series of messages you'll get with the three videos will let you know whether you think we're in tune. If we are, we'll have a chance to engage with. The days when we should be thinking about how many hundreds of thousands or tens of thousands of people on our list doesn't matter, because what matters is what kind of business you're trying to build. I'm trying to build a business that for all intents and purposes is not a business. It's a practice. I want it to protect my lifestyle. That's why I left that bureaucratic world.
I put a pin in a map at the beginning of this year, Paul. I went out 350 miles, and I drew a circle. In my world, what that does is that gets me just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, it gets me to Pittsburgh, and it gets me to Boston. That's a pretty massive amount of business in the United States. You got DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia. You got a massive audience there. Why 350 miles? Because I can drive it in six to seven hours, because I'd rather drive to things right now. I love it because when I do it, I have lots of conversations with people while I'm driving and learn more.
I talk to my prospective customers, so I learn their language, I listen to their problems, and I learn what they need, which helps me then serve them better. I can't do that on an airplane.
Paul Klein:No, no, can't do that. It's all about building the business around your life, not your life around your business. We talked about the six, seven figure small. I think my last episode I just recorded, I share the banker and the fisher parable. You heard that before? Yeah, where the banker is in Mexico and he's like, "Oh, I go out on a siesta every night." You need to build a business. At the end of the story he's all, "So you could retire," and do what he's exactly doing now, and that is spending time with his family and stuff. So true.
Michael Hudson: That's where I am. I got four grandkids at this point in life. I didn't have kids. I married my wife when her children were adults. Part of my objective in life is to have time to spend with my grandkids.
Paul Klein: Absolutely.
Michael Hudson: Part of my objective in life is to have... Tomorrow night I have a CEO of a client that I've worked with for years who is in our area for vacation. I'm going to spoke a brisket, and he and his wife and two daughters are coming over for dinner.
Paul Klein: That's awesome.
Michael Hudson: I want the ability to have those days to do that. It's not that that's the only kind of people I'm working with, but the truth is if that's what you want, if you want to build more of a practice... Is this a business? Yes, but it's going to die with you, and that's okay.
Paul Klein:Right. We're not here to build the next Tesla conglomerate.
Michael Hudson:Yeah. God bless Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, but I don't want to be him.
Paul Klein: Yep, not for everybody. We all know our lanes and where we want to be, and that's okay. Well, Michael, I got to say thank you so much. It's an honor to have you on my show. Feel like I've gone full circle, because I've known you for a few years now. So glad you're able to join me and share your knowledge and expertise, and being on the Pricing is Positioning podcast this week.
Michael Hudson: It was my privilege, Paul. Thank you so much, and I hope that what we shared with the audience helped them. I'll invite anyone. If you got a question, you can email me, email@example.com, and I'll be happy to... I will respond, and more than happy to hear and respond if I can help your audience in any way.
Paul Klein: Absolutely. We'll have all that in the show notes. Please connect with Michael, and check him out, and his podcast and videos. Until next time, we will have another great conversation on the Pricing is Positioning podcast. Remember, pricing is positioning. Thank you and have a great rest of your week.
How much is an expert to you?
This week I want to tell you a personal story where a so called “expert” almost cost me $25,000! To give you the full story I’m going to have to give you some background.
This past year has marked my wife and I’s 26th wedding anniversary. The two of us bought a five acre property with a nice house back when our three kids were still young and spent twenty years growing and making the place our own.
Now that our youngest is eighteen and we’re getting older, my wife and I decided to take advantage of the current housing marking by placing our house for sale.
When it came around to finding an agent to work with, I decided to go with a someone whose marketing had captured my interest.
Years ago, I received a flyer in the mail from a business claimed they were the "Rule Property Specialists."
Their niche marketing really caught my attention, so much so that I held onto their flyer for years in case I'd ever need a realtor again.
After interviewing the agent and checking references everything seemed like a good fit so we went ahead and signed with one of their realtors and began the process of listing it.
We had discussed a listing price and proceeded based on his advice because after all, he's the expert and this is his domain.
His half of the commission of the sale was going to be in the $20,000 range!
Not a bad rate at all. Right
So we scheduled to have a professional photographer come out and shoot the house for the online listing. Me, my wife and my son spent three days getting the house and property spotless for Tuesdays photoshoot.
When Tuesday comes along the photographer NEVER shows up and any of my attempts to reach my realtor are met with no response.
At this point I'm fuming and realize this is a major red flag that maybe this isn't the right expert to go with.
When I finally get a hold of him hours later he takes no responsibility and blamed the entire thing on the photographers.
To make a long story short we ended up firing him and hiring someone who was an actual expert.
Now here's two important business lessons that I took away from this and want to share with you:
Number one: Do your research, don't just look at google reviews talk to people and ask former clients about their experience. Do your homework!
Number two: It's okay to cut things off things go south. At the end of the day it's business, not personal.
You want the expert who is going to provide the most value you for you. If you're up front but respectful about your expectations you have no reason to feel guilty.
Trust your intuition and if things don't feel right!
In This Episode you'll hear:
- My personal story hiring the wrong expert
- Two Business lessons I learned from this
-How to spot "red flag" when hiring
Consultant or coach?
What's the difference?
This week I'm excited to talk you about this topic. Special thanks to Michael Sizemore and for our conversation which helped inspire this episode.
In the realm of personal branding and self employment, the terms coach and consultant get passed around so much they end up overlapping.
Both provide a tremendous amount of value and resources for professionals but when it comes down to it they engage clients differently and set out to achieve different objective.
My hope is by the end of the episode to provide you with some more clarity behind the roles of each title and to determine which
In my experience, I had always deterred away from the connotation of coach. I always thought they were exclusive to sports or life coaches you'd see on TV.
However, in the past few years as I've entered the realm consulting/coaching I can see the immense value in both roles.
So what exactly is the difference between a coach and consultant?
-Is someone who influences behavior, provides action steps but controls nothing with their clients outcomes.
Coaches advise and provide direction/the steps to get to the end result but they are not responsible for the end result. They adopt a role closer to a mentor or advisor.
-A consultant provides solutions to complex problems and in some cases, controls the implementation. I also find that consultants will rarely consider themselves a "coach" but a coach will at times consider themselves as a consultant.
Consultants are usually specialists in one niche area, and are hired to produce a specific outcome for you.
Take a professional copywriter. Here are two examples that demonstrate the services of a "Copywriting coach" vs "Copywriting consultant".
- Offers ongoing advising
- Helps improve your copywriting
- Gives you exercises and drills
-Provides constructive criticism
-Would write the sales copy for you launch
- Is there to provide the solution
- Is there to provide their expertise not teach it
In the personal branding world, it's common to see arrangements in which someone assumes a hybrid role between the too. This is where I think many people get caught up or the confusion comes in.
If you consider yourself more of a “coach” then you will likely lean on the coaching side of things first with some level of deliverables.
However, if you consider yourself more of a consultant, then you will likely lean on the consulting side of things first and eventually offer some form of advisory to your expertise in addition to any set of deliverables that solves your clients problems.
This is why it's extremely important for you to be really clear on WHAT you are and WHAT you are offering.
Here are some important questions to ask yourself if you're still trying to figure out which title fits for you:
This week I'm excited to have Michael Zipursky on the show!
Michael is an author, entrepreneur and high end consultant. He is also the CEO of ConsultingSucess.com.
His brand Consulting Success® has helped hundreds of consultants add six and seven figures to their annual revenues.
His two books, The Elite Consulting Mind and Consulting Success are great resources that I highly recommend to consultants.
On this episode, Michael and I talk about a variety of important topics such as the success of his brand and the importance of mindset in business.
We also talk about what is needed in this initial stages creating your business and/or making the transition from corporate world to high end consultant.
An important distinction we talk about is the difference between "building" vs "engaging" your business.
Building your business involves the cut and dry steps like creating a logo, website and all of those nitty gritty details.
While these steps and "building" are important, they can be time consuming and lead to procrastination and what Michael refers to as "builders syndrome".
Instead, of spending two hours adjusting the font on your websites homepage, Michael would encourages his clients to instead spend the time trying to engage with their business in someway that can evolve the bigger picture.
This can be as simple as having a conversation, networking with other people and being bold enough to tell people what you are doing!
This ultimately leads us back to the importance of mindset:
The first sale is to yourself!
We discuss this and much more in detail on this episode of The Pricing is Positioning Podcast. Tune in!
On this episode we discuss:
-Michael’s business backstory
-Engaging vs building your business
-Mindset and its importance
-How Michael approaches pricing
-Why you don't need to offer multiple services
Connect with Michael:
This week I have an essential question for you.
Is $4000 a more attractive price than $3999?
Which do you think converts to the most value 99, 97 or .95?
I get this question all the time, and the solution is based on what's known as "charm pricing" or the "left digit principle."
Charm pricing and the left digit principle are two essential tools you can add to your pricing strategy.
Charm pricing involves pricing that ends with .95, .97, or .99, and is often what you see at discount stores like Walmart, Target, or your local fast-food restaurant.
Think about it, when was the last time you saw the list or base price of a product at a high-end retail establishment that ended in .95, .97, or .99?
Not very often, and if you look at high-end products like Apple, Louis Vuitton, and Ruth Chris, you will see most of their prices end in zeros..........at least most of the time.
Whether these retailers are on the high end of the pricing spectrum or the discount end of the pricing spectrum, they all rely upon a simple principle called the "left digit principle" and you can too in your consulting freelance business.
The left digit principle is best explained by looking at a study done in 2005 by Manoj Thomas and Vicki Morwitz in which they came to the following conclusion:
"Nine-ending prices will be perceived to be smaller than a price one cent or one dollar higher if the left-most digit changes to a lower level but not if the left-most digit remains unchanged."
In other words, we prefer to use the left digit only when there are different options, and the prices are different.
Here's one way I would work the left digit principle into your pricing:
Let's say you have an online course for $399 and want to "entice" sales by offering it on sale for $299.
In this case, it's actually better to offer the course for $400 and then have it on sale for $299.
This is because the difference between the "2" and the "4" in a quick calculation seems or is perceived as much better value (i.e., $200) than the difference between the "2" and the "3" in $399 to $299 (i.e., $100).
This is why it's not only essential to understand charm pricing and the left digit principle, but how to use it in your pricing effectively.
In this case, it's more effective for you to use it with your sale price and not your full-priced services because it allows you to convey the difference between the original and sale price in a way that emphasized more value.
Learning theses principle's is just one step of the equation that can help produce an increase in profit and value for you.
I also suggest that simple is always better that the complex. let's say you have a high ticket offer for $9000.
Whether it's on an email, a proposal sheet, or your web page, you should keep things simple.
For example, here are the different ways that you could potently list this price:
You see this all the time in the higher end or more elegant restaurants. Check it out next time you are out at a nice restaurant.
You will likely see no decimals or commas in their pricing. Try this out on your next high ticket consulting engagements, so you don't overwhelm your clients with the complex.
So how about it? Are you going to experiment with a price endings for your next product or proposal?
I challenge you to incorporate charm pricing and the left digit principle into your next product offering or proposal.
In this episode, I talk to you about:
Manoj, T. and Morwitz, V. (2005). Penny Wise and Pound Foolish: The Left Digit Effect in Price Cognition. Journal of Consumer Research, 32. 54-64.
Do you have good pricing habits?
Are you wanting to charge more for your services and products?
No matter what area of life you're talking about, habits are what lay the foundations of our daily lives and our goals.
The professional world of consulting and pricing included!
The word "habit" is defined as "An acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntarily."
This weeks episode of The Pricing is Positioning Podcast is inspired by one of the most famous books out there on habits: Stephen Covey's "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People".
On this episode, I give you my version and recommended list of 7 habits of highly effective pricing!
Here's a breakdown:
1-Be focused on value.
2- Begin with Price Options.
3-Put high anchors first.
4 - Think outcomes not time.
5 - Seek 100% up front.
6 - Synergize your expertise and value
7 - Sharpen the “No”
When it comes down to the bottom line, just remember as a consultant you are the expert! You are the expert practitioner of your craft and/or vertical, own it!
So there you have it, a brief take on my 7 habits that I recommend to you for effective pricing. Tune into the episode for more!
In this episode I discuss
This week I get to interview special guest Rochelle Moulton!
Rochelle offers some great resources to anyone making the transition to a freelancing consultant.
She is a brand strategist and co-host of The Business of Authority Podcast.
Rochelle has a long list of accomplishments, one of them was becoming a global partner with a corporation by the age of 31!
These days, her niche is helping professionals craft their brands into flourishing business.
We discuss on this episode how she, herself, ended up making the transition from the corporate world to a high end consultant and the tips she gives to those making the same transition.
Some of the main advice she gives to those venturing out on their own, is to get specific with your niche.
Ask yourself questions like:
Once you narrow those answers down, you can begin to accurately gauge how you price your services.
"Price communicates value" is Rochelle's approach to pricing her services and it is what she tells clients.
Pricing your services too low can be just as damaging as pricing them too high!
If you price your services in that balanced sweet spot of value, you will be able to position yourself as (what Rochelle) refers to as an authority in your profession.
An authority is much different than expert, as she puts it:
"(An authority) is like an expert on steroids."
They are someone who is not only an expert at their field, but they have exceptional clarity about their expertise and their niche.
To become an authority takes more than just knowing your craft, it's about knowing your market and accurately gauging your value within it.
On this episode we discuss these topics further and you'll hear more about how Rochelle advises those looking to become an authority in their niche market! Tune in!
In this episode we discuss,
Connect with Rochelle:
Business of Authority Podcast
Client Avatar BrandSheet
This week I’m talking to you about CVs (Curriculum Vitae), what they are and if your social media footprint is acting as a quasi CV for your business.
In today’s professional world, almost all consultants and freelancers may be asked to provide one. In the past decade we've seen an increase in demand for CV's.
But what exactly is a CV? Does Social Media play a factor in this?
And why CV's are being used more than a resume these days in the freelance consulting economy.
CV's actually date pretty far back when it comes to human history.
When I went to research its origins I was surprised to find out that it was none other than the famous Leonardo Da Vinci who was the first person to create the first version of what we know as a CV today.
Hence the latin name "Curriculum Vitae" which means............"The Course of Life"
Fast forward many centuries and you'll find that CV's continue to be used as a way for professionals to list their professional projects, skills and accomplishments.
Here's a good chart that the difference between a resume and a CV:
With technology, it's no question that social media has changed and shifted how we market our services and products to our clients.
While Cv's have not yet been entirely replaced, nor do I think they will be anytime in the near future, a modern CV can branch into many different verticals.
Like social media.
I know for a fact that some of my clients have looked to my social media before hiring me. It gives professionals the ability to have a kind of visual portfolio.
Social media sites can be an alternative way to showcase not only your services but reach out to new customers as well.
While it's not mandatory or essential to success in the modern market, Consultants and freelancers should start to see how social media can be viewed as another medium to showcasing their products and services.
I discuss this further on this episode of The Pricing is Positioning Podcast and tune in until the end because I even give you some tips I used to craft my own CV!
In this episode I discuss:
-Why you need a CV
-The difference between a CV and a resume
-Is Social Media is the new CV?
-Tips I give for crafting the best CV for you
This week I want to share with you some secrets.
Many of you don’t know this about me, but when I was younger, I was actually an aspiring rock star.
YES…..A Rock Star! In fact, I was part of a “Big Hair” band during the Heavy Metal era of the 1980s.
Can you guess which one was me?
Yes, I spent a good part of the late 1980's playing music putting on shows in venues all over California.
It was during this time I learned some of my most important lessons in business. One important one was how I experienced the harsh reality of "pay to play".
In the 1980's rock music industry, up and coming bands would have to literally pay to play shows.
Clubs would require bands to buy their tickets in advance so that they received money regardless if the our band actually sold the tickets.
This left the clubs with a safety net of compensation and the bands to work up front with no guarantee they would be paid.
One time, my band and I played a huge show with over 500 people. The agreement we made with the venue was that we would receive 50% percent of the "door" earnings after the show that night.
When it came to the end of the night after rocking the house and playing one of our best shows, our total earnings came to a whopping $50!
This experience left me with my second important lesson:
While I know in some industries and bigger corporations this is unavoidable, but in my experience, the majority of the time it's a matter of positioning your services and offerings in your terms and require payment up front prior to starting the work.
Paying to play isn't just something you want to avoid in the music industry.
It's something you want to avoid in any business industry because it essentially leaves you at risk for not getting maximum compensation for your value and leaves you acting as a credit union to your clients.
On this episode of The Pricing is Positioning Podcast, I discuss these topics further and I get to talk to you a little bit about a time in my life that my kids are embarrassed I talk about!
In this episode I talk about:
I’m excited to have my friend Jonathan Stark on the show this week! Jonathan is on a mission to rid the world of hourly billing.
So much so, that he has a dedicated podcast called The Ditching Hourly Podcast and is the author of Hourly Billing is Nuts.
Jonathan is also the co host of The Buisness of Authority Podcast with Rochelle Moulton.
Jonathan falls right in line with what we talk about on the Pricing Is Positioning podcast.
I’m happy to say we share many of the same ideas.
One of the first things we talk about on this episode is his journey from being a corporate software developer to becoming an independent consultant who has his own podcast.
It was during his time as a corporate employee that Jonathan became aware of the many issues within the hourly billing system.
One of his tasks was to manage a small team for his company.
During this time, he realized that the highest paid employee wasn't actually making the company the most money and the employee that was making them the most money was only getting a starters salary.
That's when he came to conclusion that value based pricing would be a much more efficient option.
But what exactly is value based pricing?
Value based pricing aka "outcome based pricing" is to put it simply, to price the value of services per project rather than just pricing your time.
Time based pricing is limiting and as mentioned above, almost always less efficient for the workers.
One crucial step to implementing value based pricing is to determine the profitability of your services so you can choose projects properly.
But does hourly billing increase profit for everyone?
For some people, it might be good to make the transition to outcome based pricing based pricing overtime.
For others, increasing profit means having to completely switch over to value based pricing.
We discuss this and much more on this weeks episode of the Pricing is Positioning podcast!
If you want to move away from hourly based billing and increase your rates, you wont want to miss this weeks episode of the Pricing is Position Podcast.
In this episode, you will hear:
It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out or have been in the business for years. There’s one thing that can doom any business at any stage.
When I first began my journey in consulting and owning my own business, I had no idea where to start.
So I started by taking notes and asking questions.
One of the most common pieces of advice I’d receive in the beginning stage was always the same:
“You’re gonna need a small business loan.”
This didn’t make sense to me. Why did I need to take out so much money if I could just start small?
Why bite off more than I could chew?
So I went against the advice I was given and started out just $500 to my business. Within a year, that $500 turned into $1000, $10,000 and then $100,000.
In this episode, I want to talk to you about why you don’t always need that small business loan and how debt can be the anchor that drags your business down.
I also stress the importance of starting small and share with you how I approached employees and other factors I had to consider when I started my own consulting business.
In this episode, I’ll cover these topics
The Banker and the Fisherman
An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied, “only a little while. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.”
The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats.
Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution.
You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”
To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”
“But what then?” Asked the Mexican.
The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”
“Millions – then what?”
The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
– Author Unknown
This week I want to talk to you about pricing options.
Having multiple pricing options are extremely important for your clients to have. They allow your clients to have multiple opportunities to engage with you.
When you only give your clients a single price option, it's like giving them an ultimatum….take it or leave it!
By giving them pricing options, it then becomes a question in your client's mind of…….. “not SHOULD we work with you, but HOW we are going to work with you.”
But there is such a thing as having too many choices and too many options as your clients will shut down, be indecisive or worse,.........look to your competition.
Something I’ve learned over the years as a consultant with pricing options is there’s a sweet spot of the right amount that you want to provide to your clients during the proposal process.
In this episode, I’m going to share with you how to determine what’s right for you and why having too many might be hindering your business growth instead of maximizing your value potential.
I am excited to share my thoughts on this subject with you, including some interesting studies and what the experts in behavioral economics are saying about the topic of price options and choice overload.
In this episode, I talk about:
TSOE - Episode #237: Interview with ADP's Chief Behavioral Economist Jordan Birnbaum
Jam Study: Jam Study - Iyengar & Lepper (2000)
This week I’m excited to have Mike Kim on the show.
If you don’t know Mike, you need to and I am so glad I get to introduce you to him.
He is a speaker and marketing personal branding expert. Here we are at a conference together a few years ago.
and again at his marketing mastering workshop in Orlando Florida last year.
In this episode we discuss how Mike chose to leave his corporate marketing director position behind to build his own business and brand and has worked with high-profile clients like John C. Maxwell and StoryBrand to name a few.
We also talked about his journey from working in the corporate world as a marketing director to running his own successful business.
We also discussed branding yourself, pivoting, and the sadistic selfies!
Finally, we talked about pricing, ad spend, and how to make sure you are priced right to justify your ad spend costs.
You are going to get a ton of value from this episode.
In fact, be sure to listen through to the end because that is when Mike unloads some nuggets that he hasn't talked about before.
In this episode, you’ll hear:
Connect with Mike:
The Brand You Podcast
Mike Kim -Web Page
Mike Kim Blog
Of course Mike is alway's good for a gin and tonic!
This week I wanted to share with you how I recently failed a product launch and why I loved it.
I launched my group coaching course or tried to monetize my personal brand and failed miserably.
I got one sign up.
Now you may be thinking, “Wait a minute, Paul, you failed and you loved it? I don’t believe that.”
It’s true, I failed, but there were many lessons I learned because of it.
In this episode, I am going to share the lessons I learned from failure, what I did wrong, and how I am going to fix it for next time.
My hope is that you will find some key takeaways so you can avoid them.
Or perhaps, more importantly, come to realize that failing isn’t the worst thing that can happen, instead, it may actually be the best thing that can happen.
So, yes, I failed and I loved every minute of it.
In this episode, I’ll cover these topics:
I have worked with some major clients such as Target, Neiman Marcus, Slack, Starbucks, Holiday Inn, and more. The list goes on over my 10 years of consulting.
But how did I get these clients? And more importantly, how the heck can you get those types of clients?
In this week’s episode, I am going to share my secrets!
Yes, that’s right, today I am going to share my three secrets on how I landed my first Fortune 500 client.
Before you start thinking that you couldn’t ever land high profile clients because they’ll never listen to you, let’s make this clear:
they're not on some ivory tower, they are not unreachable. If you desire these types of clients, you can.
I will share what worked for me and maybe, more importantly, I hope it will help you land Fortune 500 clients too.
In this episode, I’ll cover these topics:
I’m excited to have my friend and mentor Cliff Ravenscraft on the show this week! He has transitioned from being the Podcast Answer Man to being the Mindset Answer Man.
Cliff hosts the Free the Dream Conference and Next Level Mastermind. He is a business mentor, life coach, and motivational speaker. He also happens to be one of my mentors too.
This week we are chatting about mindset issues, overcoming challenges and obstacles, and charging what you’re worth.
If you have been struggling with mindset, roadblocks, and confidence in your pricing, this episode is for you!
In this episode, you will hear:
Connect with Cliff:
The Cliff Ravenscraft Show Podcast
Cliff Ravenscraft - Web Page
Free The Dream Conference
The Next Level Mastermind
Next Level Workshop
Everybody says you need to niche down; lean into your expertise or craft. And that's great advice.
But the question many people come to me with is, “How do I price a specific niche?” I hear from people all the time who are struggling to come up with how to price products or services for their niche or different niches.
Here is the biggest issue I see when it comes to niching down and pricing your products or services:
If you're serving a specific market that doesn't see the value in what you're doing or exceeds the value of the amount that they're willing to pay, you're never going to be able to get that high rate you want, need, or deserve.
In this week’s episode, I am going to share my thoughts and strategies for pricing niches, including how to do it successfully and some things to consider.
In this episode, I’ll cover these topics:
I help freelance entrepreneurs stop undercharging so they can scale a 7-figure business.
Anchor your value and establish your value ladder.
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Investing In Personal Development and why I'm attending Cliff Ravenscraft's Free the Dream Conference