How to Get People to Pay You More With Just ONE WORD.

IN: Marketing

His name was Joe.

Rightfully so, because Joe was in charge of customer service at the Honda Dealer in good ol’ Scranton, Pennsylvania. And, I don’t know, I just trust men named Joe.

I mean, you don’t want some jerkoff named Tucker invoicing you, do you? You’d leave and there’d be a doodle of a marijuana leaf next to your total. Tucker. Grab a pitchfork and get to work, boy. This is Scranton! We work hard ’round these parts!


My man Joe confirms the details of my sweet, sweet, 1998 Honda Accord Coupe–voted best car at Blue Ridge High School senior year, thankyouverymuch. (Certainly the mirror tint and tire shine were a worthy investment.)

And so, as Joe’s going over the specs, he confirms that my car, in fact, was a coupe. I nod. That my car, in fact, was a 1998. I nod. And my car, in fact, was eggplant color. 

I gasp in horror.


No, no, no. This simply isn’t going to work, I tell Joe. He looks at me confused.

“My car,” I started, “is not eggplant.”


“Oh, it’s not?” he says. “That’s what we have listed here in the system.”


“Well technically, Joe, that’s probably what you should have in the system.”


“I’m confused.”


“REALLY, JOE?! EGGPLANT? Joe, you gotta help me out, here. That’s my baby. She can’t be called eggplant. It’s going to hurt her self-esteem.”

Joe laughs. A gregarious laugh like you’d imagine any mechanic named Joe would laugh. His eyes twinkle at me–just like they do in the movies when the new boy in town falls in love with the girl next door. Except we weren’t in love. This was serious business.

Joe asks me what I’d prefer her to be called, to which I promptly reply, “Pretty purple.” And like that, Joe changed it in the system, and forevermore, every time I returned to the Honda Dealer, there she was–listed as pretty purple.

Now granted, I suspect I could have chose a better name than pretty purple. But in my finest fake Italian accent I will say:  Whatddya want from me? *shakes palms in mamma mia fashion*  I was on the spot.

And so, as I was telling this story to a friend the other day, it reminded me how important every single word you use actually is.

Every single word you use tells its own little story about a brand. About your brand. Because every single word carries its own nuances, its own imagery, its own character, its own personality. And when you pick one word over another to describe your business, for example, you’re implicitly making a statement about your own nuances, character and personality–and VALUE.

My car was not a fucking eggplant.

Similarly, the same applies when you write things for your website.

There’s a difference between describing yourself as “unconventional” versus “quirky” versus “eccentric”–certainly, out of these three words, “eccentric” carries almost a shade of a negative, cat-lady connotation, doesn’t it?

Another example might be “coach” versus “consultant” versus “strategist.” All three could be applied to those who do business coaching, but not all three are going to convey the same meaning–or VALUE. And that’s really where the heart of this whole post lies.

You may be willing to pay a business strategist 10x more what you’d be willing to pay a business coach.

And guess what?

Your customers may be, too.

So choose your words very, very carefully.

Content isn’t king; nuance is.

Forget 50 Shades of Grey.

This is the 50 Shades of Getting Paid.™

One word at a time.