How To Charge More and Keep Your Clients

By , Text Only Admin

Solo-E Certified Solo Entrepreneur Expert

TextOnly'Admin - Text Only Admin

It’s really very simple.

There are 3 ways to grow your business: you can raise your prices, work with more customers or sell more products to your current customers. The second and third options here are very important but we’re going to tackle the hardest one of all today: raising your prices.

First, let’s get this out in the open: if you are reading this, then there is a high likelihood (I mean, like 99.99% chance) that you are under charging. Under charging is nice and all, but it’s not a good a practice when you are running a business. And, as you nod your head in agreement, I want you to know that I have a simple solution for you today.

Ask yourself this question: What if it’s possible that as I increase my rates…I also increase the amount of value that my clients get when they work with me?

Yes, you read that correctly. Your clients WILL benefit when you raise your rates.

What I want you to consider (please ignore that voice in your head that is saying, “THIS WON’T WORK FOR ME”) is that what your customers are really looking for is a transformation. And accountability. They aren’t looking for the program with the most doo-dads or freebies in it. They want lasting, sustainable change.

And lucky for them, they found you. When your prices go up, you are asking them to step up their game, too. You are asking them to say “yes, I am worth this” and that’s a really big deal. I mean, a REALLY big deal.

Think about the clients that you’ve worked with that benefited the most from your services. Did they get the lowest rate? I bet not.

The clients who take their investment in working with you (because it’s an investment, not a price or cost or expense) seriously come to you prepared. They do their homework. They follow instructions. They are READY to achieve what has seemed impossible to them in the past.

When I work with my clients one on one, one of my biggest obstacles is often getting past the dollars for hours mentality. If you are nodding your head again, indicating that you think about your services that way, then you are underserving your clients. (Ouch.)

When you start to look at the results that your clients get and the transformations that they go through over 3, 6, or 12 months, it starts to become more clear.

Your clients aren’t buying the hours that you are spending with them.

They are investing in themselves and living at a higher level.

And that’s not a $50/hour or $200/hour program.

While you are letting this perspective sink in a bit, I want you to also know that when you raise the investment that clients make to work with you, you naturally elevate yourself. You start to think of how and when and where you can be a better resource, coach, mentor, or supporter to them. You start to think about them at the end of working with you – when they achieve what they really want most in their business or in their life. And then things start to get a bit more clear.

And the investment level to work with you starts to rise.

Will some of your current clients say, “no thank you”? Of course.

Will some of your clients agree that your support is worth investing at a higher level? Absolutely.

I don’t want you to be so attached to the results of raising your rates. I do want you to be so attached to the transformation that your clients go through when they work with you that you are OK with people saying, “I can’t afford that right now”, because that may just mean that they aren’t ready.

And, by the way, people do have enough money to work with you.

Have you seen the size of TV’s and fancy cars and designer handbags that are being carried around? People pay for what they value and what is important to them. So, if a client cannot afford to work with you (or so they say), then I suggest that you get curious with them about not if – but how – they could make it happen. What needs to shift so that they can live at the highest version of themself?

You are probably thinking, “but Krista! I have several clients that are on fixed incomes and absolutely cannot afford to work with me at a higher rate because then they can’t pay for their food.” And yes, those cases may arise and I’m not saying that it’s bad to have one or two scholarships to work with you. I’m just saying that in most cases if someone says that they don’t have the money, it’s pretty likely that either they aren’t ready to step up and make the changes that are necessary (which can be scary!) just yet or they aren’t seeing the link with you and achieving those results (that’s a marketing and positioning conversation for another day).

So, how do you go about raising your rates?

Well, first, as with everything, it begins with making a decision.

Look at the calendar right now (go ahead, I’ll wait….) and choose the date that the new rates will go into affect. Now put a smiley face on that day on your calendar.

Next, choose your new rate. Here’s a really technical way that I suggest to my clients when they are getting started: look at your current rates and compare them to people that have been in the business for a few years longer than you or that you cyber stalk to see what she/he is doing and you view him or her as being really “successful”.

Look at your rates and then look at their rates. Look at your rates and then look at their rates. Then move your rate either up to the same level as theirs or significantly close the gap between yours and theirs.

Here’s an example: You are currently charging your clients $1000 to work with you for 3 months of health coaching. Your “competition” is charging $3000 for a similar package. So, I recommend you charge $2,500 or even $3,000.

It’s time that you stop being a commodity.

Ahh…ok, so what would rates look like if you raised them in a similar fashion?

You probably notice a feeling that you would step up your game and show up differently for your clients. And that’s perfect because last time I checked, you are ready to serve your clients in a bigger way and also serve your bank account in a bigger way, too.

Ok, now breathe.

Say it out loud.

“The investment for working with me one-on-one for 3 months is $2,500.”

How do you feel? This is your new rate for all of your clients moving forward.

What do you say to your current clients about your new rates?

There are several options at this point.

Schedule a time to connect with each of your current clients on the phone or in person and approach the conversation from an open, expansive place. Take a deep breath and think about how exciting this conversation will be because you are not only celebrating all of the results that they’ve achieved thus far but you are also offering them a chance to work with you further.

You aren’t firing them.

You are growing.

And you are giving them an opportunity to grow with you.

You can say something like, “Over the time we’ve been working together, we’ve accomplished X, Y and Z. I have really enjoyed working with you so far and supporting you to accomplish your goals.

Recently I’ve decided to make an adjustment to how I work with clients so that I can provide even more value to you and all of my clients. This is really awesome because [DISCUSS BENEFITS TO THEM OF THE NEW PROGRAM]. And, as of [DATE], the new investment will be [NEW RATE].”

Then – and this is the most important part – PAUSE.

It’s so important that you remember that your increased fee isn’t just you deciding to “charge more”. The increased investment to work with you is a reflection of your growth and your evolution. Your increased fee will make up for any income lost from clients who aren’t ready to renew (they are likely not your ideal peeps, anyway). Focus on this conversation not being about you and know that by stepping up your investment level you are also stepping up the commitment on the part of the client and you will be working with more ideal clients (and that’s why you started your biz, anyway, isn’t it?).

Take a deep breath and let them speak next. Then, you can choose to do one of several things:

(1) Increase their investment level some…but not all of the way to the new rate.

(2) Offer an opportunity to pre-purchase your services at a lower rate than your new rate.

(3) Bring them up to parity with your new rate.

As the conversation closes naturally, you may consider writing a thank you note or sending a small gift as a celebration of their choice to step forward and claim the future that they really want to have.

Because, as my mentor frequently reminds me, it’s not about you. This is all about them.

What has been your biggest challenge when it comes to raising your rates?

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