Secrets Of Profitable Pricing For Consultants With Bill Wilson: Podcast #320

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Your pricing structure may not be as profitable as it should be. And that is what we will address today! In this episode, Bill Wilson shares his insights to unlock the secrets of a profitable pricing business that drives success. He also talks about the common pitfalls during sales calls and how you dodge them. Bill Wilson’s wealth of experience is essential to help fortify your pricing structure. So, join us today, and let’s grow our consulting business together.

In this episode with Bill Wilson, you’ll learn how to:

> Successfully navigate a rebrand without disrupting your business or unsettling your clients.

> Develop an effective pricing strategy that drives success.

> Steer clear of common pitfalls during sales calls.

> Identify and filter out clients who may not have the budget for your offerings.

> Craft your messaging to attract your target clients.

> Introduce efficient systems and processes to facilitate the scaling of your business.

Book your complimentary growth session call https://www.consultingsuccess.com/coaching-for-consultants?utm_source=podcast&utm_medium=audio&utm_campaign=grow

Connect with Bill on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/wdrwilson/?originalSubdomain=ca

Check out PacePricing: https://www.pacepricing.com/

If you have any questions about these instructions, please email [email protected] and cc [email protected]

Welcome back to another episode of the show. Joining Michael on the show is Bill Wilson who is a highly accomplished entrepreneur. He has established several successful firms and is assisting early-stage Software as a Service or SaaS businesses in growing through price optimization. He also coaches other entrepreneurs at SaaS Academy, advises startups at Volta Labs, co-founded SalesRight which was acquired by FastSpring in 2020, and founded MindSea, an award-winning mobile app design agency.

As you’re about to hear, Bill is in the early stages of growing his new business and is looking to hire and scale in his company. He always looks to get in the room with people who are smarter than him. This was the secret he used in building and selling his other businesses. Learning from those past successes, Bill knows how hard it is to go it alone.

If you resonate with Bill and you’re trying to go at it alone in your consulting business, we can help. The Consulting Success team is offering a free no-pressure growth session call where during this call, here’s what we’re going to tackle. Number one is we’re going to dive deep into what makes your situation and business unique. We’ll have a real talk about your goals and whip up a success plan that’s tailor-made for you.

We’re going to help you dodge those frustrating costly blenders and save you from the headache of trying to figure it all out on your own. Lastly, you’re going to get the ongoing support and accountability you need plus join a buzzing community of other successful consultants like you. Let’s be honest. Growing a business by yourself can be pretty tough at times. To book your free consulting growth session call, be sure to head over to ConsultingSuccess.com/Grow.

Let me tell you about what you’re going to learn in this episode with Bill. First is how to go through a rebrand without affecting your business or upsetting your customers, how to implement a successful pricing structure for your consulting practice, how to avoid falling into common traps while on sales calls, how to filter out clients who can’t afford your offering or services, how to structure your messaging to attract your ideal clients, and how to implement systems and processes into your business plus so much more. Here to share with you his insight and story is Bill Wilson. Enjoy.

Bill Wilson, welcome.

Thank you for having me. This is going to be great. I’m so excited.

Before we hit record, you told me that your company name had changed, which we’re going to talk about because not everybody wakes up and finds themselves having to decide to change their name. Let’s start off very briefly. What does Pace Pricing do?

Pace Pricing is an agency that is designed to install good pricing practices inside B2B Software as a Service companies. It’s an area in B2B SaaS that a lot of founders are scared of and a lot of companies don’t internalize well. I feel much like UX and customer success teams that didn’t exist years ago, we’re going to have pricing teams inside organizations from the very beginning. It’s reserved for very few companies.

We’ll talk about this because I want to better understand how you arrived at this focus, but let’s start off with something that people probably wouldn’t have expected if I hadn’t said it. It is that you underwent a name change. I was about to welcome you on the show with your previous name, which was Price ToProfit. To be clear for everybody out there, it is Pace Pricing. Can you walk us through how that happened? You didn’t decide to change it. There were some influences going on. Explain a bit of that backstory.

It’s embarrassing, but in 2021, when I wanted to start the company, I went through this process of trying to find a name. As many of your readers can probably understand, it’s a real pain trying to find a good name. You can get into some analysis paralysis if you’re anything like me. I ended up on Price To Profit and I was pretty happy with it.

I went back and forth with a bunch of my colleagues, advisors, and stuff like that. I was like, “Maybe this is going to work.” I did some searching as you do and didn’t come up with anything so I said, “This is great. This is going to match.” I couldn’t get the .com. It pointed to a book or something, but I didn’t feel like it was too off the mark. I got the .co domain and away we went.

Fast forward, it’s 2023. It’s July. I had sent an invoice to a client and 30 days had gone by. I checked in and the invoice wasn’t paid as you do. They said, “We sent you an email about it. We need to change the address on the invoice,” or something. I was like, “I don’t have an email from you.” We tracked it down, and it turned out they had sent it to a competing company.

It was another company that had almost an identical name to mine. It was run by, from what I can tell, a fantastic person who has been in the space for a very long time. It was at that moment I had become aware of the other company probably about two weeks earlier. I was like, “It’s only a problem if there’s a problem.” That was how I was thinking about it.

The other company didn’t have the exact same name. It was a similar name.

It’s pretty darn close.

What did you do? walk us through. When you discovered that there was this other company with a very similar, almost exact same name, and there was some bit of confusion in the marketplace because your own customers were sending them emails to try and pay your bill, what did you do?

Consulting Success Podcast | Bill Wilson | Profitable Pricing

The first thing I did was I wrote a letter to the other company. Right before I hit send, I said to myself, “Is this the right thing to do?” I sent an email to my lawyer who hadn’t been my lawyer yet. He was my lawyer from my last two startups or last two companies. I reached out to her and said, “This has happened. I’m about to send a letter. What should I do?” She’s like, “Do not send the letter.”

What did the letter say and why did she say not to send it?

It’s mostly about drawing attention to it. If it’s, “Let’s fix it before it becomes an actual problem,” you don’t want to be trading on someone else’s name. There are a lot of things that can happen if you are trading on someone else’s name. They have a lot of grounds. I’m not a lawyer so I don’t know all the things.

Disclaimer. This is not legal advice to everybody or financial advice. This is two people having a conversation.

I reached out to Laura, my lawyer, and she graciously advised me. She’s like, “Please change your name. The best thing for you to do is to change your name, and don’t make it so literal.” As you can guess with Pace Pricing, it’s still pretty literal. It’s got Price in the name. It’s not a made-up startup-y word with dropping some vowels and that kind of thing. It is still pretty on the nose. That was her advice. I then went through this whole process again of trying to figure out a name. I can go deep into that.

Take me back for a second though. When you did update the name, did you end up reaching out to that other company and having any kind of communication with them or did you leave it as is and move forward?

That was July 2023. The name got changed this week. At the time of recording, we’re late fall 2023. It got changed partly because I had to decide on a name, and that took a long time. I went through the process. I have not yet, to date, reached out to them not because I wouldn’t be friendly, I’m scared, or anything. It’s that I don’t poke the bear.

What’s important to take away from this is that you were proactive. You didn’t leave it. You didn’t bury it. You also, it sounds like, did what is probably the right thing to do. If this other company was already established well before you with this name, you did what you needed to do and moved on. It sounds like the right thing.

It’s the right thing and I’m much happier with the name. I’m much happier with everything lining up. It lines up with the program that I offer and my love of running. It’s one of those things. It’s serendipitous. The big change is still ahead, changing the website and all that kind of stuff.

When you discovered this issue existed, what emotions did that trigger for you? Were you being like, “Man.” Was it chaos and fear? Did it feel like a real threat? How did you deal with that when it came up?

I felt it because I felt, one, embarrassed that my client was reaching out to someone else, which immediately drew a thing in my mind. I was like, “Did they think I was that company all along?” You go through these sales processes sometimes and they may not understand. Maybe they went and looked on my website but it wasn’t my website. That’s a silly thing. You shouldn’t worry about that.

It happened again. It happened another time with a client. It was a fresh client and a few weeks later. They had done the same thing. They were like, “We’re on your website,” and they sent me a thing with my website logo. I’m like, “That’s not my logo.” I felt pretty embarrassed, to be honest, and I felt a little scared. I felt a little apprehension because the last thing I wanted to do was tread on anybody else’s property. I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to be trading on someone else’s name.

Make that distinction in how we deliver the service. Click To Tweet

First of all, I appreciate you being so open about this. Entrepreneurs at all stages are always going to be running up against challenges, and very often, something will happen. At that moment, it feels like, “We’re done. This is a big deal.” What I’m trying to point out is this is not your first rodeo. You’re a seasoned entrepreneur. You’ve sold companies in the past before this consulting business for Pace Pricing. You still had a feeling that you had to work through, but you’ve worked through it. You took action on it. Fast forward, here you are. You’re off to the races. Thanks for sharing that.

Take me back to the focus of the companies. You specialize in pricing for B2B SaaS companies. That’s Software as a Service in case people aren’t familiar. You’re not the only company doing that. There are other companies and other consultants in that space. There are primarily 1 or 2 larger ones that I’ve heard about or familiar with. I have two questions here for you. The first question is why get into the folks of B2B SaaS pricing?

I fell into it. That’s maybe a common refrain. If you’ll indulge me for a minute or two, I’m going to take you back to how all this started. I used to run an agency called MindSea. It was a mobile app development design studio. We had a productized service that we sold. We had built a piece of software internally to allow us to present pricing for that productized service. It looked an awful lot like a B2B SaaS pricing page. It had three tiers, a couple of add-ons, and that kind of thing. We were selling these mobile app blueprints, which were the very beginning stages if you wanted to build a mobile app. Some people would call it a discovery phase. We called it a blueprint.

We sold to a lot of B2B SaaS companies at the time. We built a lot of their companion apps. Every time I showed it to a B2B SaaS company, they would always ask me, “Where did you get this tool?” I said, “It’s  something we built in-house.” Fast forward to a number of my entrepreneur friends who run SaaS companies, my head of sales, and my CFO all pushing on me like, hey, let’s go build a product with this thing and see what we can do.

In 2018, we founded a startup. We went and raised some money and we built a product around this targeting B2B SaaS sales teams. We wanted to help them sell customized deals which often happen in sales-driven motions in SaaS. We went on our merry way. We validated it in a silo like a lot of people do. We went into an echo chamber of other SaaS founders and they were like, “This is great.” We went to try and sell it and it was a little different.

I used to get on the phone a lot with revenue leaders at SaaS companies, whether it’s head of sales, director of sales, or CRO. One thing was really clear. It was that their pricing wasn’t clear. This is for anybody who’s selling anything. If your sales reps do not understand your pricing, there is no way they’re going to be able to communicate it to their customers.

When you say do not understand pricing, do you mean that there are too many variations or there’s no clear logic? Take us through.

Yeah. Maybe it doesn’t align with value or they don’t understand how it aligns with value, or it is too complicated. Complex pricing has its place. The most important thing about pricing is that you can sell it and it makes sense to your customer. If that means there are a number of levers that have to be pulled, that’s fine.

Generally, if your sales reps have trouble articulating it to themselves or explaining it to someone else even on their team, then they’re really not going to be able to ever explain it very well to their customer. What will end up happening is they’ll focus on one area of it that they do understand and that’s what they’ll sell. A lot of things will get left on the table. They won’t get sold. They won’t get cross-sold like they’re supposed to, etc. That I heard over and over again.

I started getting these conversations on my sales calls which were, “You see a lot of this. What should we do with X?” All of a sudden, I was becoming a bit of a consultant for free on my sales calls. That led me to believe that there’s a really big space here for this. When I dug even deeper, I realized that it’s a really scary topic, and that sounds weird to say.

There are not too many things we’re scared of in business. It’s a little tongue-in-cheek, but nothing can get our stomachs in knots faster than messing with the relationship with our customers. If you’ve got a customer, that fear of being a little scared to mess with it and there’s no greater relationship with your customer than what they pay you is where the rubber meets the road. Anybody who wants to mess with that, everybody’s a little bit apprehensive about doing that.

We see this a lot with working with consultants who know they can be earning more but they’re very afraid to adjust their pricing for fear of losing clients, having people say no to their proposals, or whatever it might be. Fast forward to the story, I want to get your thoughts on this one thing rather quickly, and then I want to take us deeper because there’s a lot more that I want to cover here with you.

Consulting Success Podcast | Bill Wilson | Profitable Pricing

That is you decide to enter this market. You’ve been doing some consulting. You see that there’s a need. You feel like you can make an impact but you’re not the only player. There are incumbents. There are probably larger firms and consultancies doing something maybe similar. Does that register for you? What do you think about that? Do you look at competition as a good healthy thing? What’s your view on that?

I love it. It’s great. I firmly believe a rising tide lifts all boats. I am in it for them as much as I am in it for the SaaS companies. I have made so many amazing connections with the rest of the pricing community as a result of my doing this. I have never been in a group except for maybe when I was into kite flying  that I’ve met that have been so welcoming. I really mean it.

That mindset that you’re sharing is a very classic example of an abundance mindset over a scarcity mindset. It’s always so refreshing and nice when I talk to people who have that abundance mindset. This is a concern that all kinds of people have. In the consulting world, especially those that are in the earlier stage, they think they have the secret sauce. Somehow, they have to not really talk about what they’re doing or be so careful.

It is like, “There’s way more opportunity than any one company can handle. There’s so much opportunity out there.” I’m glad to have you share that. Let’s then zoom forward to now. Can you give us a sense of the size of the company, like how many employees or team members, how many clients per year are you working with, or revenue? Anything that you share to give us a sense of where you’re at.

Yeah. Honestly, I feel like we’re in year one in a lot of ways. I spent the first probably twelve months. In 2021 when I registered the company probably until late 2022, I spent mostly coaching SaaS companies. I’ve done over 800 coaching calls with SaaS Academy as a resident price coach there. Also, I love how closely pricing ties to the product and all the other areas of the business, so it was great.

I did that, but when I decided to double down on the pricing stuff because I was already doing it, it was  December 2022. We’ll probably crack $500,000 this 2023. It’s not a lot. When I say we, I mean me. I’ve got a great executive assistant out of Vancouver. It’s just the two of us, but I have a couple of contract folks that I can work with. I am in the middle of hiring. We are looking for a senior strategist to join the team because I have far too much work to do. That’s a little bit of a glimpse into the size. It’s still pretty early.

You’re getting started with this one. You’ve built and sold other businesses in the past so you’re leveraging that experience. One thing that I noticed when I went to your website, and I know the website has changed or at least the name on the website has changed, it did say that it’s $950 for some kind of an audit or a discovery offer for the starting point. If that’s still the case and still correct, why do you have the price on your website? What’s the mindset behind that?

For me, publishing your pricing is, in general, good practice. If people can’t understand the value of what you’re trying to sell, then maybe there’s a good opportunity where you have to do some education and bring them along. A $950 offer is pretty straightforward. It’s, “Here are the things you’re going to get. Here you go. Here’s how much it’s going to cost.” It does a couple of things. It filters out the people.

Here’s the deal with putting pricing on your website. Pricing does two things when you publish it. One, it attracts the clients you want and repels the ones you don’t. If you offer a $50,000 consulting service and you’ve got people knocking on your door, wasting your time, and booking calls that only have a $3,000 budget, what are you doing? Put a starting price on your website at the very least like, “The project starts at $25,000.” That is going to filter out a whole bunch of people you don’t need to talk to. We don’t need to win every client.

100%. Wise words there. To summarize what I’m hearing from this and what you said, which I agree with, if the complexity of the offer is pretty straightforward, so it’s not complex, it’s not that high-ticket in the sense that we’re not talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars, millions of dollars, or even maybe tens of thousands of dollars, having the price right plays a role. If somebody can’t invest at that level, they’re probably not going to be a good fit.

One of the really important pieces is if your business is at the stage where you’re getting a lot of lead flow and a lot of opportunities coming your way, time is your most valuable asset. Don’t spend time getting on calls or talking to people who don’t have the ability to invest. Having a starting price of, “Starts at $10,000. Starts at $25,000. Starts at $5,000,” whatever that might be on a monthly basis or depending on the structure of your offer, will help weed out the wrong people and make sure that you’re talking to the right kind of people. I imagine then that you’re not going to build your business to the level that you want or even to the level it is on the back of $1,000 pops all day long. If somebody comes in and they pay $1,000, what happens next?

I have that offer there to service a very particular group. I love bootstrap B2B SaaS companies. When they are early stage like that, sometimes, they have a pricing challenge they want to talk through. That is really their design to help them. It could morph into a larger pricing strategy engagement, but it’s about segmentation at that point for me. It’s about segmenting my audience.

It’s not magic, but forcing yourself into the mindset is the key. Click To Tweet

People who want large pricing strategy engagements where they know they have a challenge and they’re multimillion-dollars a year, think $5,000 to $10,000 and upwards to $50,000 or $100,000, they’re not going to go and spend $950 on a 1-hour pricing audit. They’re looking for something a little more holistic. They’ve got a lot of players involved and things like that. That’s what I think about it. I want to speak to my audience. I know I have them coming in and I really want to help. One of my core values in life is to help. That’s how I’m doing that.

Y ou shared that exact same thought with me before we even hit the record button, so it comes through very genuine. What percentage of people that come into your world, clients, start with that pricing audit or that $950 pricing audit?

A lot of them come in. They’re either doing that or they’re doing the other. There’s not much crossover and I’m glad for that.

Explain what that other service is.

I have the Pace program. Pace Pricing System is what it’s called. It’s where we go through a multi-month process to tear down your pricing from the ground up starting with data and building it back up. It’s profiling your company, your competition, and your market, architecting packages and the model, and then calibrating prices. We then go onto the execution phase where we validate it all, do impact analysis, and launch it. It’s a more holistic program. There are lots of people involved. I help them build a pricing team, and there’s a lot of coaching.

I love to coach. My job is to install good pricing practices inside these businesses. You asked whether I am worried about some of the other consultants and other things. No. I embrace it because I believe my job is to teach them how to do it. I want them so they don’t have to hire people like me to do their strategy. What the companies come to me for is the pricing strategy. Dan Martell says all of this in the chocolate and the broccoli. That’s the chocolate. That’s what people really want. The broccoli is that they need to build good pricing practices. They need to build up the muscle to be able to look at pricing from the very beginning, through their product, and all that kind of stuff. That’s what I want to teach them. It’s a two-way thing. That’s a little unique in the market.

If we could drill into that a little bit more. You’re talking about the difference between what the market wants and what the market needs. This is very common across all industries and types of consulting where oftentimes, the consultants or the founder, what they know the market, the buyer, or that ideal client needs is what they lead with. Their messaging is about, “Let’s call it B,” but the marketplace or the buyers of those services are not thinking about B. They’re thinking about A, which is what they want, not necessarily what they need.

In your experience and even in terms of what you’re doing, with your messaging, your content, or your conversations, do they focus and lead with B, meaning what you know they need, or do you lead with A, which is what they want even though you know that’s not what you’re going to deliver to them right away?

I lead with A. You have to meet them where they are. You have to use their words. their words, your message. That’s how you have to do it. However they’re thinking is what you need to come back to them with with your message. It’s about pricing strategy. If you go to PacePricing.com, for example, that whole page is about the Pace Pricing program. It hits them with their pains, the things that they’re struggling with, and how they’re going to get to the end of it. Rarely do I talk about anything about installing good pricing practices. There’s a bit of that but not a ton. It’s really about how to get to the strategy that works.

The question that I know some people will have is, “That makes sense.” If you need to talk about what they need, which is the right pricing practices, not the strategy, when do you bring that up? When do you say, “I know you wanted strategy and my website talks about strategy, but in fact, we need to start with practices, not strategy.” When does that shift happen?

I teach by doing. We do a lot of the strategy work together. There are a lot of interactive workshops and things. I usually try to leave them with the idea that at the end of each of these sessions, it’s like, “Here is how you can now apply this in practice in your organization.” I try to get a cross-functional team. We do a lot of in-person mural-style workshops where everybody’s interacting.

I don’t know a lot about adult education, but I do know that the best way I learn is by doing it myself. Getting people to do those exercises and work through those things can get that muscle moving. It’s really about you taking them through the thought process of doing the strategy. I may know where we’re going to end up, but asking them the questions and letting them have the discussion is a big part of it.

Consulting Success Podcast | Bill Wilson | Profitable Pricing

By the end of it, they are used to working through these types of problems, and then it’s about, “Next step is to build a pricing team. Here’s how often you meet,” and things like that. I weave it through the whole program. It’s never, “I’ve tricked you. Welcome to me teaching you how to build your own strategy.” It’s not that. It’s mostly I try and weave it through.

For the first audit or that one service, it is $950 for that. What is the system’s full-on strategy? What does that type of work look like from a pricing perspective? What do you charge for that?

It starts around $50,000 and then goes up from there depending on how involved we have to get. There are certain things that take quite a bit of effort and time that we need to account for. If we’re doing a lot of surveys or really large market surveys with panels, that costs a lot of money. It can drive the price. I did one for about $75,000. That’s so far roughly the top end that I’ve been doing.

You mentioned also that you are hiring. What’s the desire? What do you think about the future and scaling this business? Is it going to be through a lot of people? What do you envision? If we fast forward 2 to 3 years from now, what do you think the business will look like?

I’m a technologist. I came up as a software developer and have founded technical companies my entire life. I want this to be a tech-enabled agency. I love the idea of being able to make your own way. I went down the BC route before. It’s an interesting journey. I salute anyone who can do it well. I like the idea of building a really profitable, good business. I love people. I love teams. I love to lead. It’s going to be people-powered, but it’s going to be very systematized.

One of my other core values is clarity largely because I suffer from it myself. I want to get clear on everything, and that means having good systems and processes. Systems, processes, technology, and people. I’ve got a structure that I know will scale based on the pods of people who can deliver these types of projects. I’ve done some calculations of where I want to be. I want to get it as big as I can, which is not something I’ve ever done before. When I ran my first agency, I was very much the gatekeeper. It was lifestyle-y. After 10 or 12 years, it was still only $2.5 million to $3 million in revenue. This time, I’m focused on how we scale it.

O ne thing that a lot of people are concerned about, especially when you’re starting off, is you’re doing all the delivery. You’re making sure that there’s real excellence in the outputs and real outcomes being created. What have you done with the systems or the product for you to get to the point where you feel comfortable hiring and bringing in other people to be part of that delivery and maybe remove you from it?

I’m a big believer in building the plane while you fly it. There’s a little bit of that. I also really believe in productized services. I started out right from the very beginning in my head knowing that I was going to be selling a program. The first few projects at the beginning were very much figuring that out. What is that going to look like? That Pace Pricing system is what we’re going to sell. It’s going to be pretty easy to train people on it.

To put a bit of a spotlight on maybe the differences between what a more custom solution might look like and what a productized solution would look like, what I’m hearing you say is you’ve documented, “Here’s what our process looks like. Here’s the system. Here are all the different components of it. Here’s what we do at each stage from the audit to the surveys to the review sessions to the workshops.” All that will be clearly documented so that if you aren’t the one doing it, you can easily or with time train somebody up to take over that and they can deliver it. What they’re doing is they’re following the “instruction manual” of how to deliver the services at the level of quality that you’re after. Does that sound right?

Yeah. It’s important to make that distinction in how we deliver the service. It doesn’t replace anyone’s intellect and how we can execute the actual strategy. How we deliver and how we overdeliver for our customers is really what I want to turn into the processes.

What about that second part then of what you mentioned? There’s the how, but there’s also the strategic mindset or bringing more of that critical thinking to it. That’s something that a lot of founders struggle with when they’re thinking about bringing on more senior people or others who can help them to do more of that strategy-level work. As a result, they’re often tied into it because they don’t feel like they can bring somebody in who has that. How do you think about that in terms of tapping and finding the kind of person that has that ability or experience to apply critical thinking, be more strategic, and not follow the instruction manual?

The big thing for me is that sometimes, I feel like I don’t know. I struggle with that imposter syndrome sometimes like we all do. I’m like, “Is this the right thing?” What breaks me out of that is talking to people who are much smarter than me and people who are really good at this stuff. I don’t shy away from it. If I can get in a room full of smarter people, I’m going to do it. That’s how I hire. I try to find people who are better than me and who have sharper minds than me on this stuff. I learn from them, bring them on, and try and download the vision and mission.

Double is nothing. Don’t work that many hours because you will be out hunting. Click To Tweet

If they’ve got the skills and they have that mindset, and they get the vision and mission, we’re almost done. I f you can download the vision and mission and they believe it and they are really good executors, I’ve worked with so many people like that over the years. I know that that’s the core of a good team. That’s what I look for. It sounds a little bit glib, but I want to find people who are better than me at this and bring them along.

Some people might wonder, “That sounds like a great person to find or several people to find but doesn’t sound cheap.” What do you think about the compensation for that level of person you’re looking to bring on?

It’s interesting. I’m struggling with this. Went to market. I got some great resumes and then had quite a bit of sticker shock when I looked at it. I remember this same feeling when I started my first company and I hired my first employee. I had some contractors that were full-time, which was easier. To hire this first full-time employee, they didn’t want to go as a contractor. They felt it was more secure. I was like, “This is way less secure.” I was scared to bring them on, but once I did, I felt a little better. Everything was great.

I had to bring on my second one, and then I realized and said, “If I can’t make payroll for this group, then I’m screwed. I’ve got nothing. I can’t cover it with my credit line. I can’t cover it with my personal stuff,” which was always my backup. That’s when all the stress went away. Once you let go of that or once you have to trust the machine that you’ve built to generate the revenue, the leads, the opportunities, and the pipeline, e verything else will follow.

For me, the big fear is, “Is this investment worth it? Do I have the pipeline to support this person?” The answer is, “Not today, but if I have this person, I’ll have it tomorrow because 1) It’s a forcing function and 2) It’s going to immediately free me up to go off. Now I’ve got another person that I need to provide for. That’s a driver for me.”

It says a lot about the kind of person that you are because some people would probably be the opposite. Meaning, when they add that level of what some may consider to be a risk, in your case and probably likely in my case as well, it’s like, “Now we have to make this work.” Whereas others would be paralyzed by the fear of, “If I don’t make this work, XYZ is going to go wrong.” They hold themselves back from taking any action. It’s almost debilitating.

There is not necessarily right or wrong here, you do what feels right for you as an individual person. I am talking to everybody joining us. It is interesting to see that there are different ways to view those kinds of situations. Many people do talk about the idea of burning the boats behind you. You have to get it done.

I’d like to add to that because I struggle with that. I still struggle. I want everybody reading to know it’s not a magic thing. Forcing yourself into that mindset is the key. The struggle is the reason. You can’t grow into the pain. I’ve found myself almost resisting deals because I know how underwater I am. That’s a signal to me that you’re stalling. It is like, “You’re stalling. Execute. Go get the person. Hire the person.”

I’ve got a coach. Everybody should have a coach, to be honest. He challenged me. He was like, “You said you need this person. You’ve already got filler out for that. That sounds good, but the stretch here is that you need this person.” I’m like, “You’re right, but I can’t afford it.” It’s all the same excuses. You work through it and then you realize you’ve got to do it. You pull the trigger and you do it. I wanted to share that it is one of those things that you struggle with, but it is the struggle that matters.

Before we wrap up, you’re the pricing guy or at least the B2B SaaS pricing guy. That’s where you’re focused. What is one pricing mistake that you feel consultancies, consulting firms, or consultants are making that they may not even know that they’re making? Does anything stand out for you as, “This is a really big one,” or, “This is an important one to deal with.”

A long time ago, especially early consultants starting out, they tended to not know what they were worth and therefore would discount themselves before their customers even asked for a discount. I feel like those kinds of motions are not great. It’s this. There are a couple of things. One is that someone once told me double is nothing. We all probably know this in consulting, but generally, if you’re going to charge by the hour, which I don’t recommend, doubling what you think you make even as a solo and saying, “That’s your rate,” you’re selling yourself short. You can’t scale that way. You can’t continue to run a business that way. I always say 1/3 if you’re going to do hourly at the very least.

When you say 1/3, break that up for us. Explain that.

1/3 for you, 1/3 for the employee or the person, 1/3 for the business, and 1/3 for expenses, operations, and things like that like taxes and all that kind of stuff. That’s how I think about it. Double is nothing. If somebody says, “I  want to make $200,000 a year. That’s roughly $100 an hour if I’m full time. I’m going to charge $200 an hour,” you are not going to get there. One, you’re not going to work that many hours because you’re going to be out hunting and all that kind of stuff. That’s one. The other one is when I started MindSea, I had this thing in my head. It was, “Know what you’re worth and charge it. Do not apologize for how much you cost.”

Consulting Success Podcast | Bill Wilson | Profitable Pricing

Why don’t we wrap up then here? I want to thank you so much for coming on. I also want to make sure that people can learn more about you and the work that you’re doing with Pace Pricing. Give me the domain. I don’t want to make any assumptions on this. Go ahead.

It’s PacePricing.com. You can get me on LinkedIn as well. I’m pretty much @WDRWilson everywhere. That’s my initials. It seems to follow me everywhere I go and nobody seems to have it. In any service you come across, if you type @WDRWilson, then you’ll probably find me.

There we go. Thanks so much for coming.

Thank you very much. It’s been a blast.

There you have it for this episode between Michael and Bill. If you enjoyed this episode, then be sure to hit that subscribe button wherever you tune in to your favorite shows. Be sure to share this episode with a friend or colleague you feel would truly benefit from reading this interview. Also, a reminder to book your free growth session call with the Consulting Success team. You can visit ConsultingSuccess.com/Grow. That’s the end of the line for us. Thank you so much for tuning into another episode. We will be back with another one. Until next time.

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