Rethinking Unlimited Access Level Agreements

While watching Rory Sutherland’s Zeitgeist presentation for the 20th time, I was struck (finally or again) by his story about Spotify and how they have not gotten much traction with their offer of unlimited downloads per month. He suggests that they change it to some absurdly high number like 180 songs a month.

images

Sutherland reasons that unlimited provides no context to the offering. As he put it, “Nobody knows what unlimited music is worth. It is a bit like asking, ‘Would you like to buy my unicorn?’”

The 180 song per month limit would give the price context in that it could be compared to iTunes at $0.99 per song. So for $9.99 a month you could enjoy $180 worth of music.

This got me to thinking.

Perhaps access level agreements should have a similar notion. Instead of saying unlimited access, perhaps it should be changed to 30 contacts (phone calls or emails) per month. Now, this would be more than anyone could possible need, and would therefore it would not be a barrier to any customer in terms of being worried about wasting a call on their particular issue. It would, however, allow them to compare it to other plans where there is a per call fee, thereby increase the perceived value of your offering.

What are your thoughts?

ET HORA LIBELLUM DELENDA EST

There is no such thing as losing to “No Decision”

While teaching Sage Consulting Academy last week, I had what my mentor would call a BFO – blinding flash of the obvious – a sale is never really lost to “No decision.”

artworks-000012084925-nwyyay-originalFirst, “No” is a decision and therefore, by definition is a …

Second, while a prospect may not select either you or a competitor, the prospect’s money is going to be spent on something. This could either be continuing to pay another third party to manually do what your system does, or they might simply be buying a new boat for themselves instead.

In either case the message to you (and your competitors for that matter) – You have done a lousy job communicating and convincing the customer that you and your potential solution create value for their organization.

Think about it, if you were the CEO of a small company and had the choice between a new ERP system and a boat, which would you choose? This is yet another reason why your value proposition must be a strong one.

The next time you think you have lost to “No decision",” I suggest you pause and reflect rather than just caulk it up to a confused potential buyer.

New Edition of Flawless Consulting

51Ma9ZgVyHL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_Those of you who follow this blog regularly will no doubt recall that I am an ardent adherent of Peter Block and his works. If you are also, I have some terrific news.

Peter has recently published a new (third) edition of his seminal work Flawless Consulting. I am thrilled to add it to my bookshelf next to the first and second editions. They are both terrific!

I am looking forward to reading and comparing this new edition to the first. It is fascinating to see how his thinking has evolved over the past three decades.

In addition, Peter has posted a video explaining the term – flawless consulting.

Too Many Notes

VeraSage Founder, Ron Baker has often used Snow White and Seven Dwarfs to illustrate the problem of applying efficiency to knowledge work.

“A LEAN six sigma guru would have advised Walt Disney to make Snow White and the Three Dwarfs as it would have improved efficiency by over 50 percent,” he intones.

Recently I was reminded of a scene from the Academy Award winning film Amadeus where the Holy Roman Emperor Jozef Franz (or was it Franz Jozef) criticizes Mozart’s opera for having, “Too many notes.”

 

Unfortunately, the clip cuts off before Mozart’s brilliant response, “Which few did you have in mind, Majesty?”

Knowledge work cannot be LEAN six sigma-ed. Once again, effectiveness trumps efficiency!

On Paid Search vs Social Media Spending

Fellow Sage team member Greg Tirico posted an interesting link to an article which suggests that small and medium businesses are beginning to favor social media spending over paid search.

I have always thought of paid search (and even SEO) as a mistake in the consulting profession because it tends to lead to poor customer acquistion. In other words, it produces more D and F customers than A or B customers.

By their very nature web search prospects are in the gather information step in the buying process. They tend to be tire kickers who are generally looking at buying more on (pun intended) low price rather than a long-term relationship.

I think social media has the potential to change this because it turns search on it head. Instead of looking for people who already have their hand in the air (an intercept lead), social media allows the providers to look for people who have unrecognized need.

In my opinion, it is a much better place to spending marketing dollars.

ET HORA LIBELLUM DELENDA EST

New Addition to Ed’s List

In December, I created Ed’s List – a a list of IT (information technology) whom I consider to be true professional knowledge firms.

Today, I am pleased to add another name to the List – Plus Computer Solutions in Burnaby, BC, Canada. As of January 1, 2012, they are no longer keeping timesheets! Said Wendy Gorrie, one of the principals:

For some time now we have been offering fixed fee, money back guarantees for our engagements, it is only now we are taking the final step in the value pricing journey by eliminating time sheets from our organization. Our customers, our team the reputation of our organization and the products we represent will ultimately benefit from our divorce from the timesheet.

I am thrilled to have been some part of their transition and wish them every success in 2012 and beyond!

ET HORA LIBELLUM DELENDA EST