The Real Cost of $0

We trained minor league baseball players entirely free of charge for the first two full winters we were in business. Our thinking was that there was no better way to get our foot in the door with the professional athlete community than by delivering an exceptional complimentary service to a collection of athletes who live below the poverty line until the moment they (hopefully) make it to “the big leagues.”

On the last day of his first off-season with us, an athlete named Cory Gearrin walked into my office to say thanks and deliver some feedback:

“You know, Pete, I almost didn’t come here this winter. I wasn’t sure I could be comfortable putting my career in the hands of people who were delivering a service for free.”

Up until that point, we’d never put any thought into the concept of employing a “reassuringly expensive” pricing strategy. Nor had we considered the potential damage of a “concerningly inexpensive” approach to delivering our services.

Minor leaguers paid a subsidized, but not negligible monthly fee every month from that moment forward. 

Our pricing strategy tells a story about our business, and we need to be careful about delivering a story that can be well-intentioned, but ultimately misinterpreted.


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