Nobody Cares About Cost

Steven Kneiser
5-minute read ⚠️ Work In Progress

We're not here to lose less
We're ... here to make more

NOTE: This is Part 3 of the “Nobody Cares” series

Companies Care
about Cost
of Course

but all that cost-saving corner-cutting
goes away when they see Value™

Businesses think very differently from people

because that brings confidence & comfort,
knowing they’re getting the most work done

Great news:
You don’t have to be the cheapest option!

They won’t skimp on $1000,
IF they know it’ll cost them $10k later

The question becomes:
how can we communicate your services
as an investment, rather than a cost?

“Your services” is a fancy repackaging of “a job” from the consulting world. Think of yourself as a 1-person business, not an employee. In general, employees sell their time for limited returns while businesses sell products & services (or should I say “experiences”? …no: Transformations™)

Turns out you already do it:

“Getting a job”?
More like making an “enterprise sale”
(“enterprise” == big company & even bigger money)

🔑 Companies want to get rid of as much money as possible 🔑


Companies actually want to
get rid of as much money as possible

They play “hot potato” with money

They want to make sure it’s not stuck sitting in their hands …the same way you don’t want any emails from your boss sitting unanswered in your inbox. Every second that money sits there, it’s not out generating even more.

Again, great news:
you want more money now
but they just want more money later

They’re happy to give you money now
if that means you’re thinking non-stop
about how you’ll make them even more

Why was this so counter-intuitive?

Individual consumers like you & me
don’t often think like businesses

Think about it this way:
businesses could cut costs,
but there’s no ceiling on profits

Businesses = profit machines

When it comes to us as individuals,
we’re highly risk-averse:
we play to not lose

Humans = survival machines

Ever heard of “loss aversion”?
We value losses 2-4 times more
than gains of the same value

One more reason:
Pricing™ is a complete art form

There are many many mindgames to pricing
(countless books written on this)

Despite what childhood movies taught you
about The Big Bad Greedy Executives™,
most executives just want safe bets

Maximizing money-in-pocket is nice & all, but if I have a big plumbing issue that could corrode the foundation of my house …am I going to laugh maniacally about my savings when some random plumber I don’t even know named Dan [who doesn’t even look that coordinated …or agile] pretends like he can do it in no time for 7 bucks?

Or let’s say your team secured a SuperBowl commercial timeslot. Do you honestly think you’d entertain a small agency with zero reputation to pull off a good ad for the “super-duper cost-effective” pirce of $1,750? Every other advertiser is investing millions to sharpen their messages. I hope you can appreciate why cost often isn’t the #1 priority for these decisions.

People pay Premium
for peace of mind

They want a sure bet

What’s the Return on You?

They want your most expensive offering
if that can free up their time
to face bigger problems

If I handed you a mysterious box
that turned $1 into $1.05,
you’d get crankin’

In what environment do you turn $1 into $1.05?

This isn’t “give me 5 cents”
That’s not the transaction here

Notice the difference:

“Oh you can make $1.05?
hmmmm …go ahead: here’s $1 up-front”

Life is rarely that straightforward, but now you can appreciate why businesses actually prefer to spend more money. It’s not about costs, but returns. If I gave you $100 & you only invested half of it to make a 10% return on that $50 …walking away with $105 sounds nice, but part of you would wish you could go back in time to turn that entire $100 into $110, instead of only $50 of it into $55.

“you need to spend money
to make money”

So what can we do?

Thinking like a consultant

How can “thinking like a consultant” help us better approach our job search & even negotiate a higher salary?

The best “consultants” in the world optimize for other things than profit (e.g. to work on interesting projects, to work with interesting people), but let’s pretend like we’re only in it for the short-term money. There are many ways to price your services but we’ll look at the most basic, then the “best”

Cost-plus pricing

This is probably the most intuitive

If you want to make profit, just charge more than it costs to produce

If you always charge

so you sell products at a price slightly higher

What’s wrong with this?

What if they’re willing to pay more than you’re asking? You just negotiated against yourself. The higher the price or more specific the service, the more flexible people are on price. If we only ever charge this relatively fixed price, then we could potentially be leaving a lot of money on the table.

There must be a better way…


Thinking like an investor

Sure, understanding how companies think helps you communicate yourself to employers, but this is a great opportunity to explore how else this can improve your life & career: we’ve written about co-opting this “investment mindset” & searching like an executive

Don’t worry about your costs
Worry about their returns

NOTE: This is Part 3 of the “Nobody Cares” series

⚠️ Full story: coming soon…

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