Must I weigh my words?
In The Agony of Price, we saw that charging for what we sell can be a tricky affair.
I’d now like to explore the conflict between discrete and continuous goods (or services).
Half a Kitten
Discrete goods come in whole units – like cars, kittens, football tickets and DVDs.
Continuous goods come in measured doses – like petrol (litres), carpet (square metres) and copywriting (hours).
You can buy half a litre, but not half a kitten. (At least not in my suburb.)
When describing discrete goods, we use ‘fewer’. When describing continuous goods, we use ‘less’. Thus, we say ‘less carpet’ and ‘fewer tickets’.
Unfortunately for me, the division between discrete and continuous goods fails when it comes to resumes.
I see resume optimisation as a continuous service, because I charge by the hour.
Depending on source material quality, a resume can take me 1.0 to 4.5 hours (i.e. $120 to $540 + GST.)
By contrast, my clients see their resume as a discrete good. They have only one.
I consider $540 a fair price for half a day of my expert attention and 30 years experience.
Yet some resume providers charge as little as $50.
How could I possibly be eleven times better than these ‘competitors’?
Of the last 15 resumes I did, 14 of their owners went on to secure their dream job. (The 15th would’ve too, had he listened to my interview advice.)
I can turn a box of torn notes into a two-page marvel that will get you a top job at Microsoft.
I always warn clients that I’m much more expensive (and effective) than local-rag traders.
Some see my fee as a worthy investment in a much brighter future.
Others go to jelly at the thought of my ticking clock.
I appreciate where they’re coming from; taxi meters on freeways have a similar effect on me.
That’s why I offer a free option.
What’s Mine is Yours
During my ten-year human resources career, I handled thousands of resumes for hundreds of jobs.
Each time a resume won its owner a job, I compared it to my resume. If it was better, I improved mine.
The result was a distillation of every successful resume I ever saw.
So, if a client is quavering about price, I send them my resume.
I say that all they need do is fold their source materials into this template.
By doing so, they don’t spend a cent.
The trouble is, they can’t.
Not So Easy
Their source materials are too many, too few or too poor.
They don’t know what to put in or take out.
Some have a go, but the result is a hodgepodge.
That’s when I explain that it takes expert eyes and hands to sort gems from spoil and weave them tight.
They see this, but the $50 option still haunts them.
And so they try for a middle path, hiring me for half the necessary time to ‘break the back’ of their resume.
This defeats the purpose:
- Dream jobs demand perfect resumes.
- Perfect resumes demand time.
I could solve this problem by turning my continuous service into a discrete good.
I could simply say all optimised resumes cost $600, no matter what.
The timid would vanish and the true believers would cough up.
But I don’t do this, because I only charge for time actually worked.
This policy, though well-intentioned, clashes with my clients’ desires.
So, should I get with their program?
Good on You
Are your goods (or services) continuous or discrete?
Do any fall between the cracks?
What charging dramas have you had and how did you resolve them?
In for a penny, in for a pound!
Paul Hassing, Founder & Senior Writer, The Feisty Empire