Guest post by Tara Joyce
Have you ever considered why you choose to set prices? For most of us, we set prices because we have been taught, and we believe, that if we do not, our customer will not pay fairly for the item of value we are selling. This feeling, of others not being willing to pay, is based upon the assumption of scarcity that permeates, and is the foundation of, our modern economy and economic theory.
What if this assumption of scarcity is fundamentally flawed? What if, in truth, we don’t live in an economy of scarcity, but rather one of abundance? What if our giving was seen as a web that connects us, and that being generous is our natural state? How would that change things? And how might that change how you price?
Could it be that you’re actually limiting value, rather than ensuring it, by setting prices? Could it be that setting a price for your offering actually restricts the value that it can offer? There is a way to not set prices, to invest in abundance, and to do so in a sustainable and mutually wealth-creating way. Your business can use it’s pricing, and the value it creates, as a tool to empower your customer and your brand to be responsible for the value they’re receiving, and the exchange they’re participating in.
In asking your customer to Pay What It’s Worth and not having set prices, you create a system for fairly exchanging value, and remove assumptions of scarcity. Through the creation of norms, accountability, and disclosure in your pricing system and in your business relationships, you can create a structure for your customer to fully value your exchange, and responsibly determine a fair price what they are receiving, while your business provides guidance in fairly determining the worth of what’s being given.
In allowing both parties to be responsible to the value of the exchange, your business shapes it’s own economy of integrity where both customer and provider are invest in the mutual benefit of the relationship. This economy of integrity exists all around us already—we experience it when we trust the ATM to give us our money, or the farmer to provide us with nourishing food. Without noticing, we inherently trust each other’s integrity, and the integrity of the systems around us.
Our integrity is a powerful tool in guiding our choices. We can trust each other to act from a place of wholeness when we create the space for it. For that reason, setting prices may not be the best choice for your business for your value to your customer may be worth more than you realize.
Tara Joyce is the author of “Pay What It’s Worth: Building Your Sustainable System for Not Setting Prices” and the owner of Elastic Mind, a communication design consultancy. Since 2009, she has been practicing with and writing about the art and science of not setting prices. Connect with her on Twitter, @ElasticMind.