Posted June 12, 2018 in Marketing
At some point throughout your career you may have had clients state that your prices are too expensive. A wise man once shared with me a saying that has stuck with me to this day.
“Good, Fast, or Cheap, pick any two.” If you chose Good and Fast, then it won’t be Cheap. If you chose Fast and Cheap, then it won’t always be Good. If you chose Good and Cheap, it isn’t always Fast. We always strive to provide our clients all three, however, we can’t always offer fast, quality service for the low price they are looking for. No matter what your price point, you will be too expensive for some people.
In an article by Dr. Kate Byrne, she mentions some great ways to respond to a client that says you’re too expensive. Some of them are highlighted below…
In this post, I’m going to share some of the main reasons why I reckon potential clients may let you know you’re too expensive, and share my favorite ways to respond in each scenario.
To begin, here’s what you must NEVER to do when a potential client says you’re too expensive:
- Immediately and dramatically drop your prices
- Desperately beg them to reconsider
- Get defensive
- Offer to do the work for free
- Assume they are saying, ‘You’re an imposter’
- Assume it’s the end of the conversation
Instead, know that when a client says you’re too expensive it can mean a couple of different things. Context is king. And keeping the context in mind can help you decide on the best response to run with. Do your best to focus on facts rather than projecting self-doubt. Feedback from your potential client on the reason behind their comments can be a gold mine. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, go deep and take note.
If You are legitimately too expensive
CHECK: Ask yourself, ‘Do I believe in my prices?’
ACTION: Thank them for the feedback and, if needed, do your own research to satisfy yourself that your pricing is solid.
While your prices being objectively way too high can be THE reason, I reckon that’s not what’s usually going on when a potential client tells you you’re too expensive.
There’s space for every price point in every market. For example, I bet you could find web designers charging $400 for a complete website refresh, and other designers charging $40,000 for essentially the same thing. Without too much effort, you could probably also find great business coaches charging $50 an hour, and others charging $100,000 for their packaged services.
Whatever your personal opinions/triggers on those prices, neither price is objectively too expensive. Unless you’re working in a heavily regulated industry (and most coaches and creative entrepreneurs/freelancers AREN’T), there is no ultimate authority saying what is and isn’t too expensive. Instead, pricing is just one part of your positioning in the market, and the most important thing to focus on is alignment.
With that in mind, it’s more likely that:
Your potential client is not actually your ideal client
CHECK: Ask yourself, ‘Are they actually my ideal client?’
IF NO: Let them know you may not be the best fit and offer to recommend someone else better suited.
IF YES: Help them to see the value of your services.
ACTION: Refine your marketing copy, marketing activities and qualification process to better reflect, connect with, identify and engage your ideal clients. I like to be as pro-active as possible about this upfront. I’m not for everyone. That’s why I take time on my services/sales pages to paint a picture of what it’s like working with me and the kinds of people I do my best work with.
Your potential client is price shopping
CHECK: Ask them: ‘Are you looking for the cheapest price?’ and/or ‘ Are we talking because you’re comparing my pricing with someone else?’
ACTION: Proudly own your prices (after all, you do great work!).
Price shoppers are not my clients, and I have a feeling they probably aren’t yours either. I’m not the cheapest option and that’s intentional. So, if pricing is someone’s top decision-making variable, we will never be a fit. And as a rule, I don’t spend time trying to convince people who are never going to work with me that they should.
By the way, I don’t believe in EVER trying to push or convince people to spend more than they want. I bet you and I both know someone (maybe even ourselves? *sigh*) who decided to go with the cheaper option first and then learned the hard way that cheaper upfront can often end up way more expensive (or time-consuming or ineffective or frustrating or…) down the track. My experience is that – when we’re in a price-shopping state of mind – we usually have to learn this for ourselves the hard way.
I’ve learned that clients that try to squeeze me at the outset don’t improve when we start working together. Trust your instincts here.
Your potential client cannot see the value
CHECK: Say, ‘I absolutely get that price is important to you and you want the best value. When you’re thinking about your personal ‘value’ equation, what else is important to you?’
ACTION: Explore what motivates them and their top decision-making factors beyond just price.
Practice makes progress, so keep asking your ideal clients questions and hold the space to explore what comes up.
When a great potential client can’t clearly see the exceptional value of working with us, the responsibility lies squarely with us. We owe it to ourselves and our ideal clients to understand what’s most important to them and to communicate how we can help.