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Ifesinachi Okoli-Okpagu: 4 Surprising Things People are Willing to Pay Much More for



No, it’s not juju, but I am sure you know one or two people, whom for the life of you, you cannot figure out why s/he gets paid more than their peers. But there they are, carting away cash with their bullion van.

The secret is not far-fetched. If I were to summarise, I would say this:
People unconsciously pay more for perceived value than they pay for real value. Notice the words I underlined. It’s all in the head, guys, but hey, this does not discredit your skills. In fact, without your skills you probably won’t go far, but with the extra tips below, you will surely be on fire.

Here goes:

People will pay for what they cannot and will not do…but you can
If you think people only pay because you have skills, you probably are not earning enough. People are willing to pay more to others who are bold enough to show their vulnerable side.

Did I just hear you wince?
Think about it. The highest earners in the world – fashion stars, celebrity actors and actresses, etc, are people who show us the not-so-strong part of their lives. They are willing to take the risks to put it all out there. They know how to tug at our emotional heart strings, and…wait for it…the media.

So yes, while expertise is a big, big money-maker, vulnerability is a little extra icing on the cake. It’s why for some of us brand builders we are faithful believers in the power of storytelling.

Boy meets girl. They fall in love. But wait, there is an evil step mother. They fight against all odds. Boy saves girl, or vice versa. Everyone wins. We all croon “awwww”. Happily ever after. Producer cashes our money, smiling all the way to the bank.

Same thing in everyday life too. If you look closely you will see the trends.

Take-away: Don’t forget the power of creating a powerful, emotional story around your personal brand or around your business. Expertise is a must, but topping that nice cake with some butter-cream flavoured vulnerability will win people’s hearts…and their wallets. Any time.

People will pay more for what they’re too lazy to learn
If you ask me to learn how to code or perform a heart surgery, I will probably curl up in my little shell and snooze. It’s boring for me. Nah, it’s not that boring. I am just too lazy to learn it.

There are things you too can’t be bothered to learn. You know if you set your heart to it, you could probably bake a cake as good as those guys with the big sign board down the road, but the spirit of laziness and perhaps, lack of interest, is hovering around stopping you. You would rather dole out the cash for it.

Result? Someone else walks home (or rather ‘drives home’) with your money in their wallet.

Take-away: Look closely for things people want or need, but they are too lazy to learn. If you have a passion for it, you’ve just found a pot of goal at the end of the rainbow.

People will pay more for things that will make them look and feel better about themselves
Do not underestimate the power of our ego. Let me repeat, just in case you did not get it the first time. Do NOT underestimate the power of your ego and my ego.

The average human being probably walks around with 10 tonnes of ego on those slim or broad shoulders. We want to be acknowledged as beautiful, or handsome (six-pack things); smart and knowledgeable; funny and cool; popular (social media folks, I am eyeing you right now); rich and upper class, etc. So, if you sell us an app that will make us look like Beyonce with just a click of a button, we’ll buy it.

Take-away: Analyse people’s pain points and see how your product or brand can fulfill the yearning in all our hearts that even social media cannot fill.

People Pay More for Confidence
Yep. Confidence. The ability to look someone in the eye and tell them exactly what they are not expecting and get away with it. Confidence is not to be confused with arrogance.

I have sat in interviews where people with extra bags of confidence to dish out cart away the prize without an effort while all others prepare 100-page presentation slides wearing 3-piece suits. I have seen people with PhD in confidence-ialism (there should add this to the dictionary) argue their way out of a fix by the roadside.

With confidence, you can go from a 3 to an 8.


With confidence, you can bluff your way from the front gate all the way past the secured gates where you have to punch in numbers to enter, up to the Group Chairman’s office to demand fifteen minutes of his time. I have seen it work. I have tried it myself, so I know it works.

Another great thing about people who are confident ALL the time is that they are great networkers. You know what they say about networking – your net worth is your network.

Take-away: Dress the part EVERY SINGLE TIME. If you are a naturally anxious person like me, sorry…you’ve got to unlearn it. Best yet – fake it till you become it.

In the subsequent weeks, I will devote time to writing on how you can fake it till you make it, and stories about real people who have used this strategy to climb to the very top.

Your turn. What else did I miss?

Photo Credit: Jason Stitt |

Ifesinachi is a published author, screenwriter and student of innovation. She blogs about creative ingenuity at


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