The fear that most entrepreneurs face isn’t – “How do I make this full-time?” or “Will this business still be around in ten or twenty years?”
No, it’s much more tangible than that and it happens every time we come up with a new idea. It’s: “Will my clients pay for this?”
Money is the scariest and most exciting part of running your own business. That’s why we get so hung up on the dollars and cents. Whenever we’re venturing into something new – whether it’s offering a new service or raising our prices for existing clients – we start to ask ourselves:
- Is my offer worth that much?
- How much do others charge for it?
- Can my clients afford it?
These seemingly harmless questions, asked out of pure curiosity (okay and a little fear) can get us so off track. We up asking friends if they think we’re pricing correctly. Or we adjust our price to be in line with what others charge and where we see ourselves in relation to their experience and reach – whether higher or lower.
As we enter this familiar cycle we lose sight of why we truly believe our service is of value to our clients. You aren’t creating this thing just to create it. You created it because you know it will massively benefit the people you work with.
The questions impact our confidence too. We get on consults with prospects and when we embark on the money topic we apologize for our rates or discount too quickly. This may feel like we’re being of service to the client, but it’s actually the opposite. When we do this we’re sending the message that our service actually isn’t worth what we’ve priced it as. If it were, we’d be steadfast in explaining the true value behind the investment.
IT'S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS
Asking questions that circulate the exchange of money makes us all feel a little uncomfortable, no matter how long you’ve been in the business. I used to have a terrible relationship with money. I hated talking about it, always felt like I had less than others, and assumed everyone else felt the same way.
I had to shift my focus from asking people to hand over their hard earned money to offering them the opportunity to purchase something that they had been looking for.
Can you imagine if you walked into your favorite store and saw a dress that you instantly fell in love with? It wasn’t on sale and was more than you thought you would spend, but you knew this dress would make you feel incredible and you could wear it for multiple occasions. So you bring it up to the register and the clerk tells you, “Oh I’m sorry, this is more than you can afford. There are sales dresses in the back.”
I would be so offended that someone else thought they knew would I could or couldn’t buy. My spending is my own business and I (okay and maybe my husband) should be the only one deciding how I want to do it.
That’s what we’re doing when we ask if clients can afford our services.
A BETTER QUESTION TO ASK
There’s a better way to assess whether your new idea is something that your audience is interested in. Simply ask the question:
How will this service/product/offer change the life of my ideal client’s life or business?
Say you paint your ideal client as someone who is struggling with confidence and self-worth. Working with you would change that. Okay, great! But what I want to know is, specifically, what will be different in this person’s life after working with you? Maybe it’s one or all of the following:
- Without feeling awkward or self-promotional, she can raise her hand at work to acknowledge her role in the latest project.
- She feels more comfortable setting boundaries in her schedule so that she can fit in gym time.
- After years of thinking about a career change, she has a plan for pivoting and can explain all of the ways she’s insanely qualified for the new position.
Whether your program is $500 or $5,000, what I’m really buying is the change in my life that I haven’t been able to get on my own. I’m not buying coaching calls or worksheets. Those things are part of the process, and honestly as the client I could care less if it takes me 2 coaching calls or 7 to get me to where I want to be. I just want to be there!
USUALLY IT'S NOT ABOUT THE MONEY
I just read Jen Sincero’s, You Are a Badass at Making Money, and in it she talks about hiring a coach for $70,000. To many that’s more than our annual income. It was definitely more money than she had. But she was at the point where she knew she had to go big. She needed to be held accountable and truly believed that working with this coach would change her life. And it did.
I highly doubt you’re thinking about pricing your offer for $70,000. But maybe it still feels like a stretch from how you’ve priced before. That’s totally normal.
A colleague once shared with me that the best clients are those who have to stretch just a little bit to afford you. And from a personal angle, isn’t that true? I was much more attentive and invested in a group program I paid $3,500 for versus a writing course that I paid $500 for. There was roughly the same amount of content in both – perhaps even more in the e-course – but my business catapulted after the group program while I didn’t finish all of the modules in the e-course.
There’s just something about prioritizing our time and energy and those often line up with how we prioritize our money.
So the next time you’re asking yourself – "Will my clients pay for this?” – I want you to self-correct and instead ask what they will get out of investing. Practicing this will help you get useful feedback from your audience, write stronger sales pages, and have more productive consult calls with prospects.
It’s not about the money. It’s about getting to places your clients haven’t been able to get to on their own. And who’s to say what that is worth?