In the last month or so I’ve talked a lot about fear and resistance (and how they can rear their ugly heads A LOT when you run a business). I think that one of the common fears that many small business owners have is that people will question their prices … and when you fear that question, you will do whatever you can to avoid being asked it! Unfortunately, the consequence of this is that many people end up under-charging, because they want to avoid an uncomfortable discussion about rates.
Sometimes this fear is so stinkin’ great that people end up losing some serious cash! We can call this money that they are “leaving on the table.”
So how can you avoid an awkward money discussion whilst ALSO charging the rates that you truly want to charge?
Answer: YOU CAN’T AVOID IT!
Here’s the deal. No matter how low your rates are, there are ALWAYS going to be people who think that you should be charging less. “You charge $20 for an hour-long massage? Well why can’t you do $15?”
I call these people “cheap bastards” (AKA CBs). I know – it sounds rude, right?
Well, it may be quite rude. But I don’t mean it that way. Actually, some of my family members and friends are CBs, and I don’t dislike them for it (though they are often quite embarrassing to go shopping with).
CBs are going to come in and out of your sphere whether you run a business or not … and whether you charge a LOT or you charge a little. CBs exist, and it isn’t actually up to you to try to change them.
For instance, this past week I set up a table at a local college fair. It was a wellness happy hour event, and we were asked to come chat with people about my other business (The Portland Girl). We did sugaring demos, talked about our mission, and invited interested persons to sign up for a session with us in the next month (at a special discounted rate).
You see, I’m ALL about using strategic discounts to get people in the door with my beauty studio, and the fact that we are hitting regular multi-5 figure months within a year of opening attests to our success!
However, I’ve tabled at a lot of events – street fairs and similar functions – and without fail, I meet one (if not more) CBs.
These are the people who stroll up to your table, ask you 100 questions (50 of them about your prices) and then make sure to let you know that THEY think you charge too much. Same goes for coaching. I have people who go to my site, see my prices, set up a free call and then tell me that they don’t have the money to work with me (even though I rarely offer free calls that are for anything other than those who are seriously interested in working with me).
Generally, these people are the same ones that will no-show to appointments (disregarding your cancellation policy) and not hold up their end of the bargain – even if you are expected to hold up yours.
To put it nicely, these ARE NOT the people that you want as your clients or your customers. They are boundary pushers, and you don’t have the time or energy to help them correct these issues (so don’t even try).
But how do you deal with them?
Ok, so we’ve identified who these people are (I bet at least 2 people came to mind when I described them), and now you need to know how to deal with them, since you may not be able to totally avoid them.
These are my tips:
- Never charge the lowest rates. If you run a business and you charge the lowest rates in town or in your industry, you are going to attract these peeps without even lifting a finger (and then your poor fingers will have to work extra hard to make them happy!).
- If they enter into your sphere, do as little as possible to engage them. It can be tempting to “convince” this crowd that YOU are worth your rates, but it isn’t worth your breath. Instead, say your spiel and do not engage further. I’m not telling you to be rude … but DO NOT put effort in to convince them of your worthiness.
- If they ask you why you charge what you charge, let them know that your rates are perfectly aligned with the results that you provide. You could point them to your testimonials page on your website if you have one, and if this communication is happening via email.
- If they ask you for a discount above and beyond what you are offering to everyone, decline. No need to explain, just tell them that “that won’t be possible.”
- And lastly, shake off the CB energy! There are very few CBs for all the great potential clients out there who are more than willing to pay your rates and value your worth!
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