Bezos’s Insights; Reflection’s Impact; Lencioni’s Hub; Monday’s Webinar
April 20, 2017
Mark Cuban’s Weekly Report; Screaming Emails; Cracking Jokes; Julie’s Olive Oil Won
May 4, 2017

Pricing Power; Boomerang; Conversation Possession; 10 CEOs Needed

"…insights for scaleups"


10 CEO Interviews Needed — are you using customer funding to fuel your growth i.e. are you a fan of John Mullins' Customer Funded Business book? See below, but first…

May 2 Cutoff if you're planning to attend the ScaleUp Summit May 23 – 24 (almost sold out) and/or Scaling Up User Conference May 25, the cutoff for getting the conference hotel room rate is May 2.

"Conversation Possession" taking a page from futbol powerhouse FC Barcelona's One-Phrase Strategy of "ball possession" Andrew Bentley created a quarterly theme around "conversation possession." Notes Bentley, Regional Director for SAS in Canada:

We gave out mini soccer balls, drawing the analogy that when FC Barcelona has the ball, which they do 70% of the time, there's no scoring opportunity for the opponent. If we own the conversations in our market, we have the ear of the decision makers i.e. if we're meeting the VP Marketing on Tuesday at 11am, my competitors can't. So let's own the conversations in our market.

What is your quarterly theme? How do you block the competition? BTW, congrats to Lionel Messi who scored his 500th career goal as Barcelona defeated Madrid in the final 10 seconds of the El Clasico on Sunday.

Pricing Power The Atlantic published a lengthy, but insightful, article on pricing titled "How Online Shopping Makes Suckers of Us All." Instead of leveling the playing field, the internet and it's access to our shopping habits is leading to many of us paying higher prices than others.

The price of a can of soda in a vending machine can now vary with the temperature outside. The price of the headphones Google recommends may depend on how budget-conscious your web history shows you to be, one study found. For shoppers, that means price-not the one offered to you right now, but the one offered to you 20 minutes from now, or the one offered to me, or to your neighbor-may become an increasingly unknowable thing. "Many moons ago, there used to be one price for something," Dolan notes…Which raises a bigger question: Could the internet, whose transparency was supposed to empower consumers, be doing the opposite?

Boomerang — The same article highlights a startup called Boomerang that helps major companies make billions of real time pricing decisions. Notes the article:

..its software engine isn't built to match the lowest price out there. (That… would be a simple algorithm.) It's built to manage consumers' perception of price. The software identifies the goods that loom largest in consumers' perception and keeps their prices carefully in line with competitors' prices, if not lower. The price of everything else is allowed to drift upward.

What are you doing to up your pricing game? Please take 15 minutes to study this article and keep dynamic pricing at the heart of your strategy.

10x Price Increase — I was the closing keynote for Mark Moses' CEO International Summit this past weekend and expounded on the importance of pricing. One of the CEOs in attendance learned that a big reason his $30,000 solution wasn't selling is that the customers thought it was way too inexpensive to solve their problem – and that they had allocated $300k for a solution. So he10x'd the price and the rest is history! How much are you leaving on the table?

Unconditional Service Guarantees — drawing from the ideas of this classic 1988 HBR article titled "The Power of Unconditional Service Guarantees", Hugh Smallridge, Managing Director of UK-based Ashwood, established a Saleability Guarantee. Notes Smallridge:

We are selling items to retailers, so their success at selling the product on to consumers is essential to our success – so that they come back and buy more. Our Saleability Guarantee means that if you have unsold stock after 3 months, we'll collect it and replace it with stock of your choice, credit it or refund it. No quibble!

And the results?

We do have to take stuff back – the odd leftover grotto presents or whatever – but the fact that we landed 285 new customers last year (we supplied 815 customers in total last year), and 139 so far this year, tells me the guarantee is paying for itself very well! Because it's a no brainer for the customer – why wouldn't they want to try some of our products on this basis?

Smallridge concludes:

I think guarantees are vital to a successful business strategy – that and having unique products. I think the key is that the guarantee must be compelling and risky enough that it will cost you something. If it doesn't, it's not powerful and compelling enough.

London Business School (LBS) Course — want to be featured in an LBS online course? We're shooting a Master Class with the famous Professor John Mullins and we need to include 10 CEO video interviews. Are you a fan of his book The Customer-Funded Business? Are you fueling the growth of your firm from customer cash flow? Are you collecting larger upfront deposits like Elon Musk? Do you have a membership fee like Amazon or Costco? Are you getting customers to pay you faster? Please email [email protected] if you're interested in being featured in Professor Mullins' course. We'll fly to you to shoot the video.


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Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish is founder of the world-renowned Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and chaired for fifteen years EO’s premiere CEO program, the “Birthing of Giants” and WEO’s “Advanced Business” executive program both held at MIT. Founder and CEO of Gazelles, a global executive education and coaching company with over 150 coaching partners on six continents, Verne has spent the past three decades helping companies scale-up. The “Growth Guy” syndicated columnist, he’s also the Venture columnist for FORTUNE magazine. He’s the author of Scaling Up (Rockefeller Habits 2.0); Mastering the Rockefeller Habits; and along with the editors of Fortune, authored The Greatest Business Decisions of All Times," for which Jim Collins wrote the foreword. Verne also chairs FORTUNE Magazine’s annual Leadership and Growth Summits and serves on several boards including chairman of The Riordan Clinic and the newly launched Geoversity. He is an investor in many scale-ups. A father of four, he enjoys piano, tennis, and magic as a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.