The Best Career Advice for Pricing Professionals
Many pricing people are brilliant and love numbers more than most. When we figure something out, we are usually right. Yet, too often the rest of the company isn’t as smart as we are. 🙂 We end up arguing with people in different departments, thinking, “if only they could see what I see”.
Sadly, this paragraph describes perfectly what I was like many years ago. Happily, I got over it.
A Pricing Mentor Makes a Lasting Impact
Geoff was probably the best mentor I ever had. He thought he was brilliant with numbers (he wasn’t). He thought he was great with excel (he wasn’t). BUT, he was more effective than any pricing executive I had ever seen. (To be fair, he wasn’t bad with numbers or excel and he’s now a good friend.)
Luckily, he took me under his wing and we would talk a lot. We would often talk about pricing strategies, but the real AHA’s came when we talked about pricing leadership. He would always share what he was doing, which consisted of a lot of one on one conversations with people in many different departments. He knew what so many people in the company thought and wanted. He seemed to be able to do anything.
I clearly recall one time when I was describing to Geoff a conversation I was having with my enemy, Raj. Raj was not really an enemy, but someone who disagreed with where I was trying to take pricing. I knew I was right and didn’t understand why he couldn’t see it. We would argue and Raj just couldn’t see the logic in my position. It was so frustrating.
Have you had similar experiences? If you’re like me, probably too many.
After I described this to Geoff, in his brilliance he said to me, “Why does it matter if he agrees with you? Why do you have to convince him? If you can find ways to help him achieve his goals while moving closer to your own, isn’t that much better? You’ll never make progress when you’re arguing.”
A Question To Ask Yourself in Business Conversations
OK, he probably had to tell me that many times before it sunk in. Eventually, I created a mantra that I would say to myself before going into a meeting with Raj, or anyone:
“Do I want to be right, or effective?”
That attitude worked miracles. Trying to help others instead of proving I was right was the turning point in my pricing career. I went from just another pricing person to someone with influence and respect in the company.
As I mentor other very smart pricing people, inevitably we will get to the point where I have to ask them, do you want to be right or effective? It’s hard to let go of wanting or even needing to be right. Yet, if you want to grow your influence and your career, you have to let go. Focus on the outcome, not on your own feelings.
Feel free to use my mantra. Say it to yourself over and over again. I’ll ask you one more time.
Do you want to be right, or effective?
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Mark is a pricing expert who helps companies understand value, how to create it, communicate it and capture it. He has a PhD from U.C. Berkeley and an MBA from Santa Clara University, plus 25+ years pricing experience. As an educator, speaker and coach, Mark applies innovative, value-based pricing strategies to guide growth and increase profits for large and small companies.