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Expert Feature: The Hidden Truth That Allows Some Businesses To Charge More Than You Do

tea leaves

I heard of a Chinese legend that a man named Morris Mandel once shared.

It first reveals an obvious lesson about the fact that many good things in life are ordinary.

But it reveals a hidden lesson that I think you’ll want to see.

Why? It will show you how to take your products or services from ordinary to extraordinary.

Here is the legend I call…

“The Legend Of The Extraordinarily Ordinary Tea”

There once was a group of elderly, cultured gentlemen who met often to exchange wisdom and drink tea.

Each host did their best to find the finest and most costly varieties of tea that they could.

Each host worked hard to create exotic blends that would arouse the admiration of their guests.

When the most honored and respected member of the group had them all over, he served his tea with unprecedented ceremony.

He measured the leaves from a golden box.

The elderly group of cultured gentlemen praised this exquisite tea.

They couldn’t stop talking about how amazing the tea was.

But what the host revealed next surprised his guests.

He smiled and said, “The tea you have found so delightful is the same tea our peasants drink. I hope it will be a reminder to all that the good things in life are not necessarily the rarest or the most costly.”

First of all, it is a true and very important for us all to remember that many of the ordinary things in life are pretty amazing in and of themselves.

I don’t want you to miss that lesson.

The Hidden Lesson


But I want you to notice the important hidden lesson in this legend.

What is the hidden lesson?

The lesson is that presentation and packaging really matter.


  • Do you think the elderly tea connoisseurs would have been raving if he served the ordinary tea in an ordinary way?
  • Do you think that his friends would have been in awe of his tea if he measured out of an ordinary container?

The answer to both of these questions is: No!

But you see he didn’t present his tea in an ordinary way. He presented it with unprecedented ceremony.

He didn’t measure it out of an ordinary container. He measured the leaves from a golden box.

That is what influenced the opinion of his guests.

That is what created the feeling that they were drinking something extraordinary.

Never Forget This Fact

Never forget the fact that ordinary really is great, but people want to experience extraordinary. They want to feel special.

And they are willing to pay to experience extraordinary and feel special.

It is why people will pay more to go to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse than they will to go to Sizzler.

Are the steaks at Ruth’s Chris better than the ones at Sizzler?

I’m sure they are – at least on some level.

But it’s more than that.

It’s the restaurant decor of Ruth’s Chris compared to Sizzler’s decor.

It’s the way that Ruth’s Chris presents its USDA Prime served sizzling on a 500° plate compared to the regular plates Sizzler serves its steaks on.

It’s these details and numerous other ways that Ruth’s Chris focuses on their image, their ceremony and the presentation of their restaurant and their food that sets them apart.

They understand the hidden lesson in the above legend.

Do you?

The businesses who understand this difference are the ones who can charge more.

The ones who don’t understand this hidden truth might serve ordinary products and services that are great, but they are presented in an ordinary way.

For that reason they will never enjoy the higher margins that businesses like Ruth’s Chris do.

Comment Below

If you understand and are using this hidden lesson in your business, then please share some tips on how you do this with our other readers.


  • How do you personally focus on presenting an image of your business that helps people to naturally expect it to be “top notch”?
  • How do you personally focus on creating “ceremony” in your business, so you can make your product or service feel more extraordinary?
  • How do you personally focus on “presentation” in your business, so your customers feel more special when they purchase from you?

Let us know in the comments.


Photo bgrongar

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About Scott Aughtmon (1872 Articles)
I’m author of the book 51 Content Marketing Hacks. I am also a regular contributor to and I am the person behind the popular infographic 21 Types of Content We Crave. I’m a business strategist, consultant, content creation specialist, and speaker. I’ve been studying effective marketing and business methods (both online and offline) since 1999. ===> If you would like to see ways that we could work together, then please click here to learn more.

4 Comments on Expert Feature: The Hidden Truth That Allows Some Businesses To Charge More Than You Do

  1. Scott, this is super insightful. What great story and lesson! It really is about creating special moments – Steve Jobs was a master at this on stage during product launches. The world would watch his every move when introducing the newest piece of metal and glass Apple was releasing at that time.

    • Scott Aughtmon // July 24, 2013 at 4:37 pm //

      Hi Bryan,

      Thanks. Glad you liked it. And you’re right Steve Jobs was a pro at implementing this lesson in all of the “i” products. He’s a great example.

  2. Hello Scott,

    Love, love, love this story! Marketing is so important and even these guys knew how to use it.

    There’s also the story about a pizza joint that couldn’t sell their last pizza, so they tripled the price and called it gourmet – and sold it in minutes. Luxury sells well.

    Our “gold box” and “ceremony” revolve around excellent customer service and making sure our clients understand our process and the results of the work we do for them. We find that the more transparent we become, the more our clients value us.

    Thank you for these words of wisdom!


  3. Scott Aughtmon // July 25, 2013 at 4:34 pm //

    Hi Melanie,

    Glad you like the post. Thanks for sharing your business’ “gold box” and “ceremony”. Those are great things.

    Anyone else want to share what your business does to apply this lesson?

Comments are closed.