Home Articles The ‘pay what you think it’s worth’ model goes B2B

The ‘pay what you think it’s worth’ model goes B2B


Call me crazy but we’ve recently offered ‘pay what you think it’s worth’ (PWYT) terms to selected customers.

The concept has existed for some time in the restaurant business with Melbourne eatery, Lentil As Anything, operating in this manner since 2000, and a number of other restaurants in Australia and elsewhere following suit in recent times in response to the global financial crisis. Hairdressers and other consumer product and service providers have also begun adopting the model, but from what I know we’re pioneering the concept in the business-to-business arena.

We will undertake a Productive Thinking program for a fee determined by the client once the activity has been undertaken.

The idea is based around picking and agreeing upon a key issue of concern to the business right now.

Then the client will choose a small group of people to work on the issue and allow them time away from their normal duties to do so. We agree on a rough timeframe, then get to work. We take the group through the Productive Thinking process, from identifying the ‘real’ issue to having a well-qualified solution ready for implementation. The solutions will typically include a proposed action plan and a picture of likely benefits and costs.

The decision to implement any or all of the solutions is up to the organisation and it’s at this point that they’ll be asked to decide what they think the solution is – or might be – worth to the organisation. Then they decide what to pay us.

While the offer is very much a pilot program at this stage, with no more than six clients being offered the opportunity to take part, we will consider rolling it out in a more permanent and openly available manner pending the results of the pilot.

Thus far our approach has received a mixed response. One client has accepted the idea and we start work on the project soon. One client has said they would rather pay a fixed cost as in the past. And another potential client has said that such an idea as PWYT would “make life too difficult” for the accounts department. This really worries me, given that I spend my time encouraging organisations to think differently and have seen the amazing results that doing so can achieve.

How confident are you in your company’s ability to deliver? Maybe your clients might pay you more than they do now if you can really deliver the goods. Why not try PWYT with a selected number of clients? It would be a great demonstration of your confidence and your faith in your products and services. And who knows what opportunities for growth might arise.

Ken Wall is the CEO of The Thinking Network, a consultancy which focuses on implementing a more productive way of thinking – helping organisations think better, work better, do better.