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Why you should be saving your clients more time than money when working with you.

In my work with world renowned authors, speakers and thought leaders I get to see certain patterns.  Sometimes those are a view into the future. Other times I see someone struggling unnecessarily, clinging to assumptions that are based on the way the world used to work.  Our expertise is in the development and monetization of content at scale.  It’s the bridge between brilliant ideas and having a viable business that scales.  Many of the standard rules of economics and business apply, however there are some nuances that are counter intuitive.

Time and money as we all know are scarce and limited resources.  However, when you confuse what is most scarce to your client and operate under erroneous assumptions you are putting your success in jeopardy.

For example, if you offer your content primarily in a workshop format but that segment of your business is either stagnant or shrinking basic economic theory tells you that at a lower price you always sell more widgets.  Content isn’t a widget and the cost of your program is not the true cost that is borne by the end user.  For example, they may have travel costs and time out of the office.

There could be opportunity cost if:

Your client’s population is responsible for selling or,
You are working with professional service organizations that sell their time to generate revenue.

What if you reexamined that piece of your business and realized that lowering the workshop cost by 10, 20 or 30 percent isn’t the answer.  Maybe the time investment of participants is the real, yet unarticulated, issue that your clients are struggling with.  Now the challenge is to figure out how to deliver your solution in a more time efficient manner.  Given the world we live in there are many, many ways to do that via video enabled learning,  distance learning, and blended learning that requires less classroom time, travel time, etc.  Time for many organizations is the scarcest resource they have.  They can afford your fees (assuming your content is relevant and impactful) but the cost of taking people off line in today’s business world is incredibly expensive and no longer a realistic option.

When you continue to confuse time scarcity with budget you will continue to miss out on opportunities.  Pricing is part art and part science and we often neglect taking the time to understand the true “total cost of ownership” that our clients consider when deciding whether to deploy an initiative at scale.  It doesn’t appear in an RFP or a typical request; you will need to learn to probe for it and to make sure you have the suite of solutions that are the most time effective.  And, the next time your friend asks you to borrow $100 see if you can lend him ten minutes instead.  My guess is time and money are rarely interchangeable and trying to solve a time problem with money (or a money problem with time) won’t work for either party.

Peter Winick has deep expertise in helping those with deep expertise. He is the CEO of Thought Leadership Leverage. Visit Peter on Twitter!

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