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Unmasking: Market, Meet Your Maker

“The market won’t bear that kind of price,” she said, quietly. “I looked her in the eye. “So what?” She thought I was kidding. Despite my grin, I wasn’t.

I know clients and colleagues keep pointing at “market prices” as if it were a scary monster that keeps wayward colleagues on the straight and narrow pricing path just like everyone else.

But shine a light on it and you will see it’s just a dusty, moth-eaten scarecrow. “The market” is a personification of a statistic, a collection of notes about a public pricing record. It has neither a will nor a voice. It cannot stop you from charging any amount you and your client agree is fair.

And people

Yes, this would be different if you were selling pork bellies, or bullets, or insurance. For commodities, the market has a regulatory “bite”, and a price elasticity “sting” that sends the clients fleeing toward the same service with a lower price.

But, as Blair Enns said, i__t’s hard to imagine anything further away from a commodity than a great idea or a piece of transformative advice. You are a driver of value, based on trust rather than efficiency. Like a mom, you don’t have to be objectively the best to be treasured by some.

This means having the ability to set a price outside the usual range, and therefore be a market maker, rather than a taker. While you will never get a formal invitation to “lead” the market, you can always do it anyway.

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