Want Advice With That Shake? (On $5 Milkshakes and the Value of Free)

Long one today, but it’ll help you stop wasting time giving free advice, and I’ll show you how you can get more sales by selling at higher prices.

Grab a cup of coffee and let me ‘splain.

The following quote is from the movie Pulp Fiction, and for smart readers there’s a massive lesson in it.


“Vincent: You think I could have a sip of that?

Mia: Be my guest.

[slides her milkshake towards him]

Vincent: I gotta know what a five dollar shake tastes like.

[he takes out her straw]

Mia: You can use my straw, I don’t have kooties.

Vincent: Yeah, but maybe I do.

Mia: Kooties I can handle.

[he takes a sip]

Vincent: Goddamn, that’s a pretty fucking good milkshake!

Mia: Told you.

Vincent: I don’t know if it’s worth $5, but it’s pretty fucking good!”


“I gotta know what a five dollar milkshake tastes like”.

After all, who would pay five bucks for a milkshake?

Five dollars for a milkshake? That’s crazy!

The lesson here is about perceived value.

If something comes with a high price, our mind automatically assumes it must have a high intrinsic value.

That’s just how the psyche works.

If it’s expensive, there must be a reason for it. It’s got to be

Compare that with the other end of the spectrum: free stuff.

If you give something away for free, the recipient automatically attaches little value to it.

This is why, when you give away an ebook, it’s better to say ‘Normally sells on Amazon for $7’.

Even that small price will be enough to tell people that actually, there’s value in there.

If advice is free, people will listen, ignore, and go their own way.

Sounds familiar, right?

If you charge money for that same advice though, the situation changes completely.

Suddenly, the advice costs them money, and you bet people are going to pay attention if they have to pay for the privilege of getting it.

Best of all: they’ll act on the advice they receive. Which is kinda the point

Yesterday I saw a perfect – and very sad – example of this principle.

A client in Oz that I’ve worked with for the last year or so.

I’ve mentioned him before: he’s the one who keeps wanting to drive his business off a cliff.

His latest brilliant move:

He removed the header copy and the call to action from his homepage.

No but, seriously.

“It made the header look messy”.

So I say: “Best to put something there though, to explain why a visitor is here, and tell them a good reason to fill out that box and perform a search. This way it won’t convert”

“We got some feedback saying it’s clear enough”.

Oh geez…

I’m done with it, I give up.

This is the nth time he’s done something to break his site or the copy he paid good money for. (Very good money – big client.)

And each time I put on my boy-scout hat, give him free advice, which he then proceeds to ignore completely.

Not that it upsets me, but hey –

I do happen to be a guy who knows about conversions.

If I tell the him: “That’s broken, it won’t convert”, there’s a good chance I’m right.

It’s my job, you know?

But nope, his colleagues gave him feedback (BIG mistake – feedback from clients and prospects is what counts, not what your colleague thinks. I’ll write about that in a few days).

So he’s about to launch a site, after almost a year of work, and more than $50K of investment, with a landing page that’s completely broken.

I hope he follows my final advice: test it. But I doubt he will.

Anyway, aside from that psychological aspect, where a premium product is perceived as having a high value, there is also the simple fact that quality has a cost.

If you buy a $5 milkshake, you would expect day-fresh farm dairy and natural flavorings

If you get a $95/hr UX expert, you should be getting a severe load of expertise.

If you buy a $475 designer pizza, there will be truffles and gold dust in it. (Those actually exist – though I’m not sure about the gold – can gold be eaten?).

If you would have called me for a suit 15 years ago, it would have cost $4000 or more, and there would be merino wool in it, plus over 100 hours of manual labour, with needle and thimble.

If you decide to get my help, and embark on a mentorship program to improve your writing, there’s stellar in it.

Which is why my coaching is $299 per month – not cheap at all.

But here’s the kicker: It’s not about what’s in it. It’s about what it does for you

Sure you get a guy with decades of sales experience and so on and so forth.

Of course I get psychology from the inside out yada yada.

It’s not about what’s in the tin: it’s about what you get from it.

A pizza with truffles and gold is an unforgettable dining experience and tastes unbelievable.

A $5 milkshake tastes like a holy cow squirted liquid rainbow into your mouth. It’s bliss.

A handmade bespoke suit looks and feels utterly amazing.

It’s exquisite comfort and utter elegance.

And a writing coach transforms you into a powerful engaging writer who connects with the audience, and gets sales from it with ease.

Details here –> http://www.martinstellar.com/starship-mentorprise-writing-coach/





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~ Antonio Herrezuelo,
Avenida Capital

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