It's a Better Product, Why Can't I Charge More?

Monday, March 16, 2015

I attended a conference with a keynote speaker from a very famous company. Like many in the audience, I was eager to hear the great pearls of wisdom that would soon be flowing from from his mouth. After all, I'm a lowly business owner, yet the man who would soon be standing in front of me was a titan of industry with an impressive set of credentials. Unfortunately, there were no pearls to be had at all! Though a large supply of words flowed from his mouth, they proved completely devoid of meaning. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, the speaker had compressed the most words into the smallest ideas of any man I had ever met. I could have easily stood up and summarized all his points in two minutes - a 3,000% increase in efficiency! Yet, for some reason the speaker is able to charge multiple orders of magnitude more than I for delivering a substantially worse presentation.

Why can bad speakers command such large sums for delivering terrible products?

It didn't take me long to realize that I had completely misunderstood the point of speeches. People don't often pay huge sums of money to hear information. If they wanted information, they would read a book (like this fantastic book on software pricing). Instead, people drop large piles cash to hear people with impressive resumes. Like a novice, I had misunderstood the pain that the product (a speech) was intended to address.

This is the absolute number one difference that separates novice speakers from professionals. Novices believe that value comes from saying something interesting. Professionals know that their value comes from being interesting.

The key to any business venture is understanding how your offering addresses the needs of your customers. If you learned something from this simple analysis, imagine how I could help your business with some customized consulting services!