What Is Your Price?

I always wonder how premium brands sell yet they do not advertise neither are they cheaply priced. For instance, how many have seen an ad on television for Ferrari? But Toyota and other Japanese brands are a permanent resident on our screens. And how comes Ferrari turnovers are higher than Toyota Corporations? Or Apple being much more appealing to sell than let us say Nokia phones?

I bumped onto this analogy online as i was browsing, and i copy paste here for illustration purposes:

A friend once went to promote an new soft drink in a rich kids school. The drink was going for 10 bob (promotional offer) while Coca Cola was going for Sh. 40.

He realized very few were buying the soft drink at Sh. 10 and they were all flocking on Coke’s stand.

He quickly changed the pricing from Sh. 10 to Sh. 60 and the tables turned. People started buying the drink even more.

When sending bids, note that rich clients may NEVER even check your bid if you price too low. If a client is looking to pay someone Sh. 20 per 500 words. High chances are that he won’t even check the Sh. 2 – Sh. 10 bids. He’ll consider them desperate.

Therefore, NEVER bid too low for projects in bidding sites. Always check the client’s budget and bid either at their price or slightly lower. I’ve seen that even bidding slightly higher can work wonders. Aim to get to at least Sh. 10 per 500 words as soon as possible.

Are you surprised as i am? Yeah, i am sure you are. We expected that the cheaply priced items and bids would have a higher number of users than the premium priced but then, practically speaking, it is the premium priced ones that outdid the cheaper ones.

The secret herein lies:

People never buy the product for what it is. They buy the motivation behind the product. What touches the human soul of the potential buyer is what moved the producer to produce to manufacture the final product. That is what makes them buy. If it was pricing, we would be seeing the cheap products’ turnovers being much more than the cheaply priced ones. How then does Apple, premium priced as it selling more than Nokia, which is cheaper? The motivation for the manufacture of course!

In the same vein, we always reach a point that desperation make us to just accept what life brings our way. I always get so many inbox messages from people looking for jobs and when i ask them which job they desire to linked to, all they would answer is ‘any job’! And i tell them off that there is no job titled “any job”. You must know what you want and be psyched to go for it. That is what one who has a vision and is principled carries himself. Now worse off, are those who when they go for interviews, they quote a low amount of cash as monthly pay. What the interviewers see is that you are desperate and you have no intrinsic value attached to your skills.

I remember when i got employed, i had a perfect career development plan. That in five years, i should be made manager from being a graduate clerk. And yeah, i exceeded my expectations and was promoted in two years to be assistant manager and two years later, a unit manager. When i landed into my new position, i set a target to work and if am to move, my new employer had to add a specific amount of cash on my monthly pay if successful in convincing me to. I achieved that. And since the game was sweeter by the day, i purposed that my next employer would have to double my pay on poaching me out of there. And yes, when the time came a year later, they did exactly that. And how did i achieve all this? By building a track record and using it to sell to those who needed my skills and services.

Clients pay for quality. If you know you have something worth being paid for, do not undervalue it. Because the price you attach to a product or skills speaks much about the motivation behind the service or commodity you are selling.

So, what is your price? Let it reflect the worth of your WHY.
The writer is an acclaimed business author of Passionpreneurship Demystified and Business Networking: How To maximize on your contacts for Business and Professional Growth. He is also a Personal Branding and Business Coach with PBL Africa. In case you need assistance to give your business or profession a jump-start, he can be reached via the following contacts:
Email:                              pblogix@gmail.com

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To Save Or To Invest: Which Way To Go?

There is a lot of talk of late about reviewing the year that was 2016 but then again, as most of us are, we have nothing to report about on the resolutions we made at the beginning. I know we will repeat the same ritual all over again: Get down with a pen and paper and pretend to be serious and note down “resolutions” for 2017.
One such resolution is creating a financial bubble for future contingencies. I have been involved in a lot of online banter about money and it’s good to note most are warming up to the idea of creating a hedge fund.
But then again, we have to get back to the drawing board and ask ourselves: why do we save? Literally speaking, why do we deny ourselves the pleasure of enjoying our earnings?  To spend or to increase its value?
And this is where we all go wrong. A pal of mine recently boasted to me that he had joined a chama that was involved in savings and lending. He contributed religiously every month and at the end of the financial year, he received his dividend of Kes. 30,000. Quite a tidy sum if you asked me. But he went ahead and used all of it in the Christmas festivities, flying to the coast for holidays. And I asked myself: what if he took 50% of the dividends and re invested back into the chama or better still, invested in some other portfolio like the money markets that are risk free and flexible? Another case I encountered online was a fellow who was wondering why anyone would save for an entire year and go chasing plots of land to buy. He opined that chasing the plots has become the norm nowadays. But then again, doesn’t land appreciate in value as opposed to the luxuries we go spend our cash on that bring in nil financial returns? Which still brings us back to the original issue: to save or to invest, which is the best way to go?
Saving involves putting cash away for a period of time completely safe and can be accessed after some time together with accrued interest. It is risk free. Investments are risk prone. The cash is put into some asset with the hope that you will get it back with some interest. However, the returns or compensation are higher than just saving. For instance, you can choose to put money under the mattress for some time, periodically topping up and get it back as it is in total. Or you can choose to buy into an investment vehicle and let professional managers manage it for you and earn interest and dividends.
Apparently, and sad to be true, there is no right way to manage your money: it all depends on your circumstances and your needs. If you want to keep money over the long term, investing would be appropriate. But note that there is a risk to it. Hence this should be the most critical factor to consider when choosing an investment option. Whether it is starting a business, buying stock, buying property, it is all about putting money away in the hope that the price of the asset will appreciate and you can get back your cash including accrued compensation. If you cannot afford that risk, then outright saving would be appropriate –either in a simple home bank or a savings account, whichever will deem fit.
Personally I recommend both savings and investments. Savings cater for short term needs and for collection of earnings and later, once the target is reached, invested to grow your net worth. At the end of the day, ensure your money is growing.
The biggest problem with holding cash is inflation. Money value deteriorates with time. Putting cash for mid to long term periods degrades its value and hence the importance of ensuring your money grows. It also would be beneficial in a way because the sum total value of your assets versus your debts (net worth) should always be increasing on the positive side. Financial freedom only comes when your sum assets can service your debts comfortably. Hence, to ring fence yourself, you have to ensure you are always growing your asset base as a safe landing in case any future eventuality.
Some people opine that it is necessary to save and spend after denying yourself the entire year. Well, why would you go the length of denying yourself in the moment anyway? Just earn and spend. But remember, no one knows what the future holds. The wise plan for generations to come. The unwise look forward to Saturday nights (and end year) to spend!
Life is short and you only live once (as generation Z say). YOLO is ensuring you make the right decisions now to live well even in your old age. It will start now by the choices you make. After you break that piggy bank or literally bust your savings account at the end of your saving period, apply wisdom. It will be worthwhile.


How To Be Known

Recently, I read a really encouraging snapshot of some corporate news- that McDonald Mariga has been appointed the Brand Ambassador of Safaricom Kenya Limited, Kenya’s top corporate and flagship telco and Fintech Company. The worth of the contract was undisclosed but I bet it was some good dough!

And I thought to myself, how comes Mariga was picked. Why not you, or me? At the end of the day, it was not because Mariga was the first Kenyan to play in the English Premier League. There must have been something that out of all the international starts our dear country has; it picked on only one  Mariga. It is his brand. The Mariga brand is what makes any corporate worth its salt is able to pour millions of shillings just to be associated with it.

I did a book on passion and I was amazed at the many prominent personalities who have employed the power of passion in the attainment of their life dreams. Take for example Michael Jordan. He is agreeably the best basketballer of all time. But apparently, he earns much more than the full time employees of Nike who work in its Malaysia factory eight hours a day, yet he has never been in the site for more than a few hours on any day. You would ask yourself how? He has apparel with his signature name and by playing his sport well, he endears himself to his fans and this in turn boosts his sales. In actual sense, he commands his payroll. And there are many examples of people who have discovered their passion and employed it to earn as per their life dreams.

To get back to the start, we ought to ask ourselves what really matters in life. Most of us are concerned with how the world perceives us. To most therefore, what is crucial is being accepted by the world. We always want to be seen to belong so that we are accepted into the social circles we hang out with and in effect, earn psychological satisfaction.

The more the reason we allow the external environment to influence us to an extent that we lose track of our reason for living and we ape others to live their dreams. I know of several acquaintances who had bright ideas for life but when they started out and got carried away by other people, they chose to abandon their life dreams and started copying what others were doing and got lost. Actually they have failed. It is a fact that one cannot ape another and succeed. The underlying reason is that each of us is wired differently and hence, therefore, our abilities are distinct. By copying another, one abandons his strength for the other and that is how they fail since they cannot perform as the originator of the idea.

But the worst cause of failure is lack of focus. I have seen many urge about the merits of undertaking several life dreams at nice. But it has been proven these serial dream chasers have slim chances of success. Focus gives you power to concentrate on one line of pursuit, learn to execute it perfectly and deliver.

It all is underscored by the reason why you exist. It is time we sat down and did an honest evaluation in order to better appreciate ourselves. Why do you live? Once you understand the reason why you exist, you will strive to live for that reason and that is when passion is created. You can only derive power from passion if you truly have discovered the reason why you exist. And that is what makes winners like Mariga to be who they are winners. A winner in life does not need to prove to be someone. His passion shows him to the word why he is and becomes his brand. Even businesses whose underlying principles of operation are values are the ones that become dominant.

Let your WHY be the reason you are known and you will not regret. Because your WHY is your personal brand. Let I sell you. So, what are you known for?

The writer is the author of ‘Passionpreneurship Demystified’, ‘Business Networking’ and ‘Face The Elephant’, all acclaimed business books. He is also the Lead Coach at PBL Africa, a firm founded on the Passionpreneurship principle. 

​The Story Behind The Story: How To Effectively Sell and Inspire

Whenever I am walking in the streets of Nairobi especially at night, I love going by those side walk hawkers who display an array of wares to the passersby. I came to notice that am impulse buyer to these hardworking Kenyans, at times, even purchasing stuff I did not need. I guess this is the reason why my little Princess has a lot of toys and usually celebrates whenever I travel back home from those trips!
But I came to realize that the buying is never out of a need to spend, nay. It is out of a conviction by these hawkers doing the selling. I read somewhere that we ought not bargain with these sellers since to them, the profit margins made is what makes them survive from day to day unlike supermarkets and other established retailers that have a fixed price and have economies of large scale supplies to run on.

So how comes I always come to buy from these street sellers? It is because, whenever they have an opportunity to face anyone, the first few minutes they indulge with anyone is to convince you about why they are doing so. To most, they say it is about survival, that the sale is about feeding their families and such and out of it, you feel obliged to spend to help them meet their basic needs! 

This brings me to my pet subject – entrepreneurship and administration. Why is it that some products are too hard to sell? Why are some leaders so uninspiring? Where do some products and businesses sell more than others albeit effortlessly?

Most probably the reason is they do not connect with the potential buyer.  People are never curious about just a story, but the story behind the story. A television channel once rode on this as its value proposition and everyone trooped to it to watch the story behind the headlines since they felt more satisfied with behind the scenes happening away from the normal stuff in the name of news. The story behind the story is the why of what is happening. It is the motivation or the reason why something is happening.

The WHY is the reason behind the creation of a product to satisfy a specific need. When a consumer goes to buy a product, all he is looking for is that connection with the motivation for the production of the output. If the motivation resonates well with the need he has, he seals a deal and completes a sale!

This therefore means that the seller has to find a way of communicating to the potential buyer the motivation for his product. And this is best seen in the company values. What does your company stand for in terms of consumer satisfaction? Is it efficiency? Does it appreciate the fact that inflation is high and that is why it produces cheap products? Then find a way to communicate that to the customer FIRST before going into the details about what the product is and how you will produce it.

Selling they say is an art it therefore can be learnt as a skill. It is also human  it is emotional. The seller has to connect emotionally to the potential buyer and inspire him enough to facilitate the buy off of the product. Where we normally go wrong is we start by rapping about what the product is and its features and it ends there. That is not inspiring enough  and hence, most people find it hard to sell.

Proper selling must start with communicating to the customer the motivation behind the production of the product. What motivated you to develop the product or service? How does that product deliver value to the customer? And lastly, all presentations should end with what the product is, in that sequence.

If all people, leaders included would start with the story behind the story, sales and inspiring members of an organization would not be a hard nut to crack. For the street hawkers, they have perfected this art  they start by invoking your emotions about how the products they hold is their way to survive and from it, seeing as it the product is what you need, you buy into it and hence a sale! It all boils down to the WHY of an organization- define it, communicate it and you are good to go!

It therefore means that people do not buy what you offer, but WHY you do the things you do. The more the reason we should never be concerned about WHAT we do, but WHY!