Why You Want Your Offerings To Be Free Or Expensive (But Never Cheap)

There is a discussion I have over and over again in coaching conversations and it goes something like this:

Consultant: “I’m designing this new __________ (service, course, product, etc.) and I think I should price it at $___________.”

Me (after asking a few questions about audience and outcomes): “That’s not enough.”

Consultant: “But I’ve never charged that much for something this simple for me to do.”

Me: “It’s not about how much time you put in, it’s about how much value your target buyer will receive. If you were to 2X (or 3X or even 10X) your price, would they perceive that as a valuable exchange?

Consultant: “You know, I think they would…”

Underlying those discussions on selling authority is a simple philosophy: make it free or make it expensive—but never make it cheap.

When you make things free, lots of people in your target market can benefit.

Done smartly, you will:

Help a lot of people and spread your message on the revolution you want to lead.

Drop a series of breadcrumbs that lead your ideal people to belly up and buy from you.

Or as Jill Konrath asked on the podcast: “How can I give my expertise away for free and make good money doing it?”

She consciously built a strategy of giving away highly valuable content to salespeople, while charging dearly for her speeches to conferences and deep-pocketed big corporates.

You’ll create plenty of goodwill, forward momentum on your ideas AND revenue when you find your optimal balance of free and expensive.

Notice I didn’t say cheap.

Cheap does not telegraph authority. In fact, it will actively work against it.

Imagine landing on a website where an authority charges $25K for a speech and regularly produces high value content they give away.

If that same person has a $20 option that isn’t a book, how likely—really—are you to buy it?

Wouldn’t you be wondering why they’d even want to bother with the hassle of charging for so little? (Charging for products inevitably means you’ll be handling customer service interactions and processing returns.)

It sends the wrong signal.

Instead, you want to create “expensive” items that are worth many times over their cost to the right buyers.

Of course, expensive is in the eye of the beholder.

Targeting big corporates is quite different than say boot-strap start-up founders.

My point is this: when you’re building authority, your unrelenting focus is on delivering value to your ideal audience.

It’s wonderful to give things away to the people you serve. And it’s just as glorious to offer them expensive options.

Just don’t ever encourage them to view you as the cheap choice.

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