I’m a big fan of high prices.
Much of the value I bring to my clients is related to price increases, especially for products with limited supply such as cruise ship suites or for a seasoned consultant’s extraordinarily valuable expertise.
I advised one client to charge embarrassingly high rates, and he’s never looked back. His consulting company has grown from a one-man operation to a 10-person team with revenues approaching $3 million annually.
All while being the best — and most expensive — expert in town.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
And I can’t help rooting for unbridled success for the new Seven Seas Explorer from Regent Seven Seas Cruises. The new 750-guest vessel is heralded by its owners as the most expensive and luxurious cruise ship ever built.
“Regent has the highest per diems [prices] in the industry,” according to a totally unapologetic Frank Del Rio, the line’s CEO, who was quoted as saying, “There’s a lot of rich people in the world and we’ve built this ship for the one-percenters.”
Regent’s rates, which soar to a nosebleed-inducing $10,000 per person per night, are enough to make me swoon.
But actually that ain’t nothing. Because when it comes to high prices, now I’ve finally seen it all — the $800 men’s haircut.
That’s right guys, 800 bucks, as reported recently in the fashion pages of The New York Times.
Granted, the men mentioned in the article are in a rarified class: sports greats, movie stars, heads of state. Guys who regularly show up in paparazzi viewfinders and who need to look good at all times.
It’s not just a U.S. phenomenon. The newspaper reported sky-high prices for men’s haircuts across Europe, Asia and the Far East.
What do you get for your $800?
An expert hair stylist who has a fancy pedigree, with a reputation for being in demand among the most demanding clients and who’s associated with a top-tier hair salon. You also get drop-everything-at-a-moment’s-notice customer service. You want a trim in your own dressing room at 10 o’clock on Saturday night, for $800, you’ve got it. This tier of stylists will even rush to an airport to clip your bangs on the tarmac before you jet off to your next appointment.
Sounds crazy, right? Perhaps. But there are important lessons here for how you price your own products and services.
First, never underestimate the vast range of what people are willing to pay. There are millions of people for whom a $100 per person per night cruise is sufficiently luxurious. But there are also those among us for whom $10,000 per person per night makes plenty of sense.
And while there are tens of millions of people for whom an $8 trim at Supercuts is good enough, there are — apparently — those among us willing to pay $800.
How do you begin to scale these heights?
Become an expert at what you do and position yourself accordingly. Toot your horn, with some cool, glamor and razzle-dazzle.
Differentiate yourself through convenience and service. Make yourself available day and night and charge for it. Every dry cleaner in the world charges extra for next-day service. I’ve even seen bicycle repair shops double their fees for providing pickup and drop-off service.
If you’re great at what you do, if you’ve got a prestigious list of clients, and if you’re willing to move heaven and earth to be of service, aim high and don’t be bashful about extracting a high price. You might not get 100 times the going rate for mere mortals. But then again, if the very best barbers can do it, why not you?
Adam Snitzer is a revenue strategy expert and president of Peak Revenue Performance, a consulting firm that specializes in designing and executing innovative pricing strategies. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via the company’s website at PeakRevenuePerformance.com.
Some of Adam Snitzer’s recent columns include: