Congratulations, you’ve started a company! You’ve got all this energy, rearing to go, you’ve sorted out your products and your services, your website looks perfect but there’s one problem. How much do you charge? You seek advice from your trainers and mentors. One person tells you that you should set your price high as it demonstrates your value and your worth – ‘Charge what you are worth! People will pay for you!’, whilst another person says ‘Start low, even give some products for free, once they see the quality of your work they will be willing to pay for your services!’. All this advice contradicts each other and leaves you feeling confused and overwhelmed.
I certainly felt it when I started my business, when my mentor heard that I was doing work for free, to say she was outraged would be an understatement – ‘WHAT IS THE ONE THING I TOLD YOU NOT TO DO? Do you want to be constantly working for free? Once you start offering that, people will start expecting that’. You see, for me, like many others, I didn’t feel comfortable with charging people the amount that was valued for my therapy sessions. I had just started out and felt like I had to earn my price and felt like most people wouldn’t pay the amount I was charging. On top of that, I had grown up with the standard advice of being told that it was not polite to discuss money, politics or religion. Although this might be good advice, it causes a problem when you leave your full-time job, and thus your permanent income. Your income, and hence your survival depends on you being able to discuss that ghastly topic.
After learning the hard way, I discovered the real problem with my pricing. It isn’t always about what you charge, but more about how confident you are when stating the price. Don’t get me wrong, it is important to do your market research and see the average charge for your services and ensure that you are making profit that outweighs your cost, but once your price is decided, your confidence is what sells it!
Let me explain, the rate I was charging was acceptable of anyone in my profession but I was essentially lowering the cost because of my perception of my experience as opposed to charging for my skills and abilities. Yes, with experience comes a rise in prices but the skills are worth a decent amount too! The real issue was when I pitched it, I never stated the price with certainty and I always begun to feel awkward anytime the mention of price came up. So awkward that I would quickly back track and offer a free session – talk about the price of confidence!
When I had begun to realise that these free sessions weren’t just making me break even, but actually making me lose money after renting the room and getting the materials printed for each client, I realised I had to change. I started presenting my pitch with poise and elegance, the confidence I had in every other area of my life. There is always going to be a pause in the conversation when you mention the price, everyone needs time to consider it and you will meet very few individuals who won’t pause before forking over their hard-earnt savings. Become comfortable in that pause! A pause is not a no, it is a normal human reaction when considering an expense and if they say no, that is also acceptable.
By no means, do you then offer a discount – that does undercut the value of your services! What is your lack of confidence costing you? What price would you be charging at, if you were fully competent in your skills and abilities?