Tuesday, July 31, 2007

More money, please, sweetheart

Pretty Lady must admit that this one surprised her:

What we found across all the studies is men were always less willing to work with a woman who had attempted to negotiate than with a woman who did not. They always preferred to work with a woman who stayed mum. But it made no difference to the men whether a guy had chosen to negotiate or not."

This alone doesn't explain the pay gap, of course. But, it's a reminder that closing at least the pay negotiation gap will be trickier than teaching women to be more aggressive. "This isn't about fixing the women," said Bowles. "It isn't about telling women, 'You need self-confidence or training.' They are responding to incentives within the social environment ... The point of this paper is: Yes, there is an economic rationale to negotiate, but you have to weigh that against social risks of negotiating. What we show is those risks are higher for women than for men."

Although Pretty Lady is by no means a Financial Mogul, she has recently noticed a few things:

1) Raising her prices has generated more new clients, not fewer.

2) Insisting upon a market-rate fee for her recent speaking engagement, after the initial hurdle, seemed to generate a healthy respect for her expertise, and an eager willingness to follow her advice, rather than Suspicious Resentment.

3) Working for below-market-rates tends to attract demanding cheapskates who book infrequently, fail to tip, and do not think to recommend Pretty Lady's services to their friends.

Pretty Lady hates to make sweeping generalizations, and she is certain that there are many sexist bastards out there who treat working women like dirt. She is equally certain that there are female employers who resent ladies who do not act like dirt, and stiff them accordingly.

But she also wonders if the negotiation gap is not partly created by something subtler--that women who feel subconsciously guilty for negotiating will then negotiate in a defensive and unpleasant manner. Because, confidentially, Pretty Lady only started getting the above results when she was able to say, in perfect serenity, "Sweetie! That's my price, and it's a good one! If it seems too steep for you, Chinatown is that way, and I fully understand."

7 comments:

DuckMan said...

1) Raising her prices has generated more new clients, not fewer.

Pretty Lady, that comment suggests that your product is a luxury item and has "snob appeal". Your other numbered points are also consistent with that assessment. What I am suggesting is that your advice works for anyone who is selling luxury products (i.e., not necessities), but not necessarily for others.

prettylady said...

DuckMan, assuming you are not destitute, and you sustain a compound fracture in your pitching arm which requires surgery to set correctly, which doctor do you go to? The cut-rate alcoholic bargain-basement doctor who is one malpractice suit away from losing his license, who charges $400, or the surgeon at the local Presbyterian hospital who has done 100 of these surgeries in the past six months, and charges $1000?

Pursuant to this decision, would you consider that such service is a necessity or a luxury?

Anonymous said...

what, the chinamen don't deserve a decent wage? forget it, jake. it's chinatown.

Desert Cat said...

Perception of value is a big deal, and it doesn't just apply to high-end luxury items.

Commodities aside*, asking price has a lot to do with a customer's notion of the value of what he's getting. What's the difference between a $5 haircut and a $20 haircut, Duckman? More than just the cost, and most people are quite aware of this.

I was not surprised at the result when PL raised her fees, especially if the level the old fees were associated with was bargain basement, five-dollar-haircut quality bodywork, and most especially if she can deliver at the level people expect for those higher fees. Then come the referrals.

*even commodities are somewhat susceptible to price = quality perceptions with good marketing. But that's usually a tougher sell.

DuckMan said...

Pretty Lady, your product is considered from an economic standpoint a luxury because when you raised the price (presumably with no change in the quality of the product), you discovered the demand for it had increased. That fits an economist's definition of a luxury.

In the example you provided, there are two different product-providers with products of differing quality and price. That is a somewhat different situation.

prettylady said...

I am not saying that my product is not a luxury, DuckMan. I am saying that perceived price/value ratios are not linear, even when the service provided is not a luxury. As DC said.

DuckMan said...

Okay. I apologize for my confusion.