Act as if your price just doubled!

October 12, 2009 | Jason Cohen

What if tomorrow I forced you to double your price?

If you sell software, your prices just doubled. If you’re an hourly consultant, your rate just doubled. If you’re a salaried employee, you’re now demanding double your salary.

Ignoring the (understandable) backlash from your existing customers/employer, what would you have to do to justify the new price tag?

  • If you’re selling software, would it be best to add new features, or would people perceive more value if it were beautifully designed? Does it need more functionality or fewer bugs? If a customer emails tech support, what response would impress the customer? If a customer comes to you with 20 feature requests, do they get lost in the shuffle or do you proactively contact them quarterly with updates?
  • If you’re a consultant, could you command a higher rate if you got certified in some technology, or would you earn more authority writing a quality blog? Should you charge for every email or provide some advice gratis? Should you charge a low rate but milk projects for extra hours or should you be expensive but brutally honest with your time reporting? To maintain contact with your past customers, is it enough to send automated holiday e-cards or should you write a quarterly newsletter with useful tips and ideas?
  • If you’re an employee, how could you make yourself indispensable? Is there a project lying around that no one else is taking the initiative on? Is there a way to save money? Is there something you could do above and beyond your job description that would undeniably improve the company?
  • If you’re looking for work, should your résumé list as many technologies as possible or should you boast about your deep expertise in one area? Should you dwell on formatting or on making an impression? Should you copy the ten recommendations you have on LinkedIn or is it best to attach one passionate, glowing recommendation? Is it more impressive to list your club memberships or your Stackoverflow reputation?

Assuming this thought experiment has provoked some ideas for how you’d change your approach to business or your professional behavior . . .

What would happen if you acted like that without raising your price?

You’d crush your competition.  Maybe it’s the edge you need to make sales during a recession.  Or, maybe you could justify raising your price!

Hold on though, isn’t it more difficult, expensive, and time-consuming to behave as if your time is twice as valuable?


But then, behaving that way does make you twice as valuable!

Is this mindset helpful or just a distraction?  Do you have more tips for how to behave like your time is twice as valuable?  Please join the conversation and  leave a comment!

This post originally was published Feb. 16, 2009, on Jason Cohen’s blog, “a smart bear.” Check there to see comments and more tips from his readers!

Jason Cohen founded Smart Bear Software, maker of Code Collaborator, a tool for peer code review and recent winner of the Jolt Award. He took Smart Bear from start to multiple millions in revenue and 50 percent profit margin without debt or VC, then sold it for cash. He also is a founding member of ITWatchdogs, another bootstrapped startup which became profitable and was sold. He’s also a mentor at Capital Factory (like TechStars or Y-Combinator in Austin). And, he’s the author of Best Kept Secrets of Peer Code Review, the most popular book (35,000 copies) on modern, lightweight methods for doing peer code review effectively without everyone hating life. He blogs at asmartbear Email him: jason (at) asmartbear (dot) com

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