Like most consultants and advisors who make themselves publicly accessible, I get emails asking for advice or to meet for coffee or lunch. Often it is to "pick my brain" and certainly there is no harm in asking. When it is feasible, I'm happy to oblige and end up meeting some great people. Sometimes the logistics don't work, and other times the person asking might be better served taking someone else to lunch; his customer.
Below is an email I received from a SaaS entrepreneur and my response, which I thought was something others would find value in, so I've anonymized the original email and posted it along with my response.
"I recently came across your white paper on the freemium model for B2B while researching software pricing tips for my startup.
I have struggled with pricing on my SaaS business for a while and your paper was very insightful. In particular your comments on the relationship between perceived value and pricing are helpful to me.
I had heard from a few potential customers during the product validation period that my prices seem low. I think my current pricing is too complex and low. I will think over this a few more days but will probably shift to single higher price model.
[...] I am offering a free lunch in exchange for some more insights from you. Thanks for writing the paper!"
Thanks for contacting me. I'm glad you found the Freemium paper and am happy it was useful. I'll give you some generic advice on pricing based on your email and after looking at your site.
Pricing is part of marketing which is part of your overall business strategy. It should not be something that you take lightly or just some arbitrary numbers thrown on a "pricing page." Pricing should reflect your market position (or what you want that to be). All of your marketing should push your value proposition and when it comes time to make the purchase, the price should be aligned with that value-prop.
I like that you said you had some potential customers tell you they'd pay more. My advice to you is to go talk to more potential customers. Take them out to lunch; not me. Find out not only what they think about the pricing, but what part of your value-proposition really resonates. Then you can start to figure out how to price. And pricing isn't just the figure you attach to your service, its how you bundle the features together, or what "metric" you use (per project, or example)... you have to know how your customers will buy and what they care about before you can apply a figure to it.
You're on the right track, especially since you are willing to involve customers in the process. A lot of startups avoid talking to potential customers and just make guesses.
Take your customers or prospects to lunch. I'm happy to help you, but to get to a point where we can really help would require more than lunch. We do have a pretty great deal for startups if you're interested.
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