“You can’t handle the truth!”

With apologies to Aaron Sorkin, the original author of a great script, and with deference to TigerHawk, where I have found the first parody, I present to you the VeraSage version of “A Few Good Men:”

Professional pricer: “You want answers?”

Consultants to the professions: “I think we are entitled to them!”

Professional pricer: “You want answers?!”

Consultants to the professions: “I want the truth!”

Professional pricer: “You can’t handle the truth!!!”

Professional pricer (continuing): “Son, we live in a world that is based on value. And that value must be identified by people with elite skills. Who’s going to find it? You, Mr. Consultant? We have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom.

You scoff at value and you curse our rational beliefs and economic theories. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what we know: that while the costs of business are excessive, they don’t matter if they don’t provide value to the customer.

And my very existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, drives VALUE! You don’t want to know the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at industry conferences … you want me at that conference. You NEED me at that conference!

We use words like price discrimination, leverage, integrity, and sensitivity. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent valuing something. You use them as a punch line!

I have neither the time nor inclination to explain myself to people who rise and sleep under the very blanket of value I provide and then question the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said “thank you” and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you figure out a way to create some value. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you’re entitled to!”

Consultants to the professions: “Did you price based on value?”

Professional pricer: “I did the job I was hired to do.”

Consultants to the professions: “Did you price based on value?”

Professional pricer: “You’re goddamn right I did!”


  1. Regarding the corporate side rejecting value pricing because it’s too much work, there are myriad of retorts to this point.

    But here’s a major one: Buyers don’t get to decide how sellers price their products or services. The airlines didn’t ask their customers if they could shift to Yield Management pricing, nor did hotels, rental car companies, and on and on.

    All buyers really care about is value relative to price, and all buyers want to make that decision before they buy, not after.

    If buyers are rejecting a fixed price, it’s probably because they don’t understand the value. Sellers have to communicate value, thus convincing buyers it’s worth the price.

    I can’t think of anything else a corporate buyer purchases based on the hour, not knowing the price up-front.

    As for risk of higher charges, this exist much more under hourly billing than fixed prices, especially for the buyer. Fixed prices shift the risk from buyer to seller, where it belongs. This is why fixed rate mortgages command higher interest rates than variable rate mortgages. Not because it costs the bank anymore to process a fixed rate mortgage, but because they are shifting the risk away from the mortgage holder.

    Fixed pricing is how every other business on the planet prices. There is simply no relationship between hours and costs and value. All the arguments trying to defend cost-plus pricing are based on an economic fallacious theory.

    The onus is on sellers to educate their customers on value and price.

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