Maybe Your Prices Are Too Low

It’s a reflex in many sales situations — when you’re competing with others who offer a similar product or service, the first impulse is to cut your price.

What if, instead of reducing your price, you made sure you were the most expensive option in the category?

Columnist Harold Meyerson recently discussed the concept of positional goods as it relates to… hookers. The inspiration for the discussion was an alleged prostitution ring (one of whose alleged customers was Eliot Spitzer) called the Emperors Club, whose professional companions charged up to $5500 an hour.

Positional goods are those commodities that are more valuable than their run-of-the-mill counterparts because a special status attaches to them, since only a select few can have them. Since the Web sites on which prostitutes advertise indicate that the average hourly rate is around $300, the Emperors Club maximum rate, which is roughly 18 times higher, could be justified by the particular appeals and skills of its hookers. I haven’t conducted empirical research on this one, but let me just say: I doubt it.

I suspect that what makes a prostitute worth $5,500 an hour is that she costs $5,500 an hour. The value here doesn’t dictate the price. The price, rather, dictates the value. These women are available only to the wealthy; the ability to hire them, like the ability to live on Fifth Avenue overlooking Central Park, means that you’ve made it. And even if your hour turns out to be a bit disappointing, that’s okay, because $5,500 doesn’t really mean anything to you — which just means you’ve really made it.

And there, I suppose, is the thrill. The power of being able to command the world’s priciest hooker, like the power of owning the world’s priciest real estate, could be a turn-on in itself. The power of dropping thousands and not even remembering what type of woman you’ve booked: Boy, are you ever something! Whether or not you’re getting one terrific woman, the transaction alone confirms that you’re one terrific dude.

I now charge $5500 per script. Give me a call if you’d like to get on the waiting list.


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