It’s about that time where we start getting tons of invitations to weddings, birthday parties, and family reunions. Over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed my friends mentioning how expensive these are. For example, one of my friends will end up paying about $1,000 to attend her friend’s wedding, with airfare, hotel, and gift. And we spent an average of $859 on Christmas gifts last year (that means you spend an average of $71 each month on Christmas gifts…did you factor that in when you guessed how much you spend in an average week?).
So last week, it occurred to me that there’s a way to cut down on the out-of-pocket expenses for some of these events. I was in New York meeting my publisher and had a GREAT time.
In fact, if I had to put a monetary number on it, I’d say my experience was worth the equivalent of $5,000 in my book advance. Why?
1. When my editor saw me looking at the books on the bookshelf, she said, “Take whatever books you want! In fact, just let us know and we’ll ship them to you.” This isn’t the case at all publishers: My friend, who published a book at another publisher, told me that his publisher offered 30% off their books. The fact that they were so willing to give me free books was such a remarkable attitude. So remarkable that I’m telling thousands of people about it today.
2. I got my photo taken, and I accidentally left a pair of jeans at the publisher. When I sent an email to one of my editors, she sent this back:
You did indeed leave your jeans here and I just got them from downstairs. If you want to swing by, I can leave them at our reception desk for you. Or, if someone (either someone in the apt. or a doorman) is around [where you’re staying], I can messenger them there. Or, if you prefer not to drag them home with you, I can just FedEx them back to you in SF.
This is top-notch service from a publisher, or anyone for that matter. She didn’t have to go above and beyond, but she did. It might cost $100 to ship those jeans and a few books, but it’s worth many times more to the recipient.
There are ways to apply this to your own life. If you’re trying to build a business relationship with someone, send them a book. It costs $15 (even cheaper than lunch! Which you should do, too) and is one of the easiest ways to show that you’re thinking about someone else.
If you can’t afford a $100 gift for your friend’s wedding, send something home-made or dig up old photos from high school.
At PBwiki, beyond some of the other perks we offer, we recently rolled out a new perk: If you want to have lunch with someone at the company, we’ll pay for it. It might cost $20 or $30, but the value of letting us all meet others in the company is much, much higher than that.
I’m curious if you’ve found ways of saving money but offering something of higher value. Do you have any examples? Share them in the forums.
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