When you’re exceptional at what you do, it can be difficult to convince people to pay a rate that actually reflects your worth. There is a disparity between the perception of value and value itself.
What does this mean?
You know that your experience, skills, expertise, and unique gifts are worth a certain amount.
You’ve agonised over your pricing and arrived at what you believe to be a fair amount.
You probably lowball it, feeling slightly uncomfortable with the original number you come up with.
Despite this, when you present the price to your prospects there are some (possibly even many) who flinch, saying “It’s too expensive” or “I can’t afford it”.
This issue leads a lot of entrepreneurs to undercharge for their products and services. They may have a problem with confidence and self-worth, and lack the belief they are genuinely worth what their peers are charging, but often as not it’s due to the belief that people will only pay a certain amount.
And even if you know you’re worth it, your prospects don’t seem to agree.
That’s a problem.
But the truth is, whether you charge what you’re truly worth, or undercut yourself in a bid to gain clients, running a business is often an endless slog to get people to pay what you’re asking.
Why Service-Based Businesses Struggle To Prove Their Value
Service-based businesses in particular struggle with this issue, because services are often intangible. They regularly require more time than people assume, the practicalities differ to the perception of what is entailed, and they often involve underpinning concepts and strategies that are far more complex than people realise.
Even if they’re happy to pay the hourly rate you’ve set, they won’t pay for more hours than they have decided it will take you to do something.
You know it will take several hours to complete the service, but your prospect is convinced it shouldn’t take more than one.
It’s also difficult to grasp the time, effort, and energy you had to expend reaching a point where you were skilled and knowledgeable enough to complete the task at hand.
And how do you quantify creativity and innovation?
People are naturally disinclined to part with cash, so demonstrating the value of your services is essential.
If you can’t convince people your services are valuable enough to justify the price you are charging, your business is never going to flourish.
How To Show The Value Of Your Services To Prospects
Demonstrating the value of your services is essential for a successful business for two reasons:
- It keeps your sales funnel well stocked with prospects, and convinces some of those prospects to try your services.
- It creates greater client retention, and ensures your customers have a higher lifetime value by convincing them to consistently come back for more.
You don’t just want to peddle your wares; you want to create Rock Star Services.
The kind of services people are compelled to buy. Services that fulfil a need that is utterly essential to your ideal client, yet simultaneously makes them feel special.
Like a superstar.
Your service needs first to create the anticipation of the pampered privilege that comes with a rock star’s lifestyle, then deliver that promise in spades.
Make It Easy For Them
One thing people value more than anything is their own time. People will happily pay money for things that save them time, so ensuring you don’t waste their time is the first vital step.
Make it as easy as possible for prospective clients to:
- Discover your service exists.
- Learn exactly what it is.
- Determine exactly how much it will cost them.
- Ask you questions about it directly.
- Hand over their cash.
Every aspect of this journey should be seriously simple.
Tell people what you have on offer – loud and clear.
Walk them through every inch of it – paint a truly vivid picture of that Rock Star feeling it will create.
Make it very, very clear exactly how much it will cost.
Ensure they can speak to you with questions – provide direct links that enable them to email you, fill in a contact form, talk on chat via your website, or book a discovery call.
Have a user-friendly payment system that allows people to pay immediately and securely.
Don’t Sell, Teach
The aim shouldn’t be to pitch your service, but to educate your audience on a few key things:
- Why they need your service. What pain points does it solve?
- Why they want your service. How is it going to make them feel like a Rock Star?
- Why you’re the best person to do this for them. What do you bring to the table that’s unique? Why is your way better than every other way?
- Why this service will save them time, money, stress, worry, sanity, or any combination. Can they earn more than they will pay you, in the time it would take them to do it themselves? Do they find it very stressful, annoying, or frustrating to do this? Are they even capable of doing it, or is it something that is simply beyond them? Are you capable of doing it to a higher standard than they are, ensuring the job is not only done, but done as well as humanly possible?
Forget about begging them to buy your service. You will never convince them until you’ve educated them.
Use Analogies, Stories And Case Studies
Frame the value and benefits of your service in the form of analogies that your audience can easily understand.
Then tell them a story.
Make the analogy a vivid reality, grounded in your own life or business: an entertaining, motivating, inspirational or touching story that gets (and keeps) their attention. Drive the point home, but don’t dwell on it. The story should take up the bulk of your message. The point when you relate it back to your services should be succinct, but pack a real punch.
If you can, work case studies into your analogies and stories:
- Document the successes of your existing clients.
- Quantify that success.
- Share those successes and quantities with your audience.
Has your service earned a client a significant amount of money? How does that number compare to their investment? What’s their ROI?
Is there a particular goal all your clients share?
Perhaps reaching a milestone in their own business, securing funding or publicity, creating or learning something new, or achieving a health or fitness goal?
Whatever the objective of your service is, whenever one of your clients hits it, shout it for all your prospects to hear!
How To Follow Through And Add Real Value To Your Services
The constant push to bring in new business, and the exhilarating buzz that comes with landing a new client, leads a lot of business owners to neglect a fundamental truth: it’s as important to retain customers as it is to land new ones.
Some industries naturally have a high turnover in clients. The service you provide may be a one-time requirement. But even if you know they will never need the same service again, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to retain them.
You may have a new service in future that is perfect for them.
And they likely know a lot of people who need the same problem they had solving.
If you don’t retain your clients, all the new ones do is replace the ones you’ve lost. That will severely stunt your growth, and result in an exhausting and endless battle to ensure you generate enough leads to produce the income you need.
Wouldn’t it be better if you retained enough clients that landing new ones resulted in steady business growth?
When you prioritise the chase for new clients and neglect existing ones, you fall into the cowboy trap…
We’ve all heard the nightmare tales of cowboy builders who promise the earth and do nothing but disappoint.
Don’t be a cowboy (or girl!); deliver your promises. Then overdeliver a little extra value.
The Lifetime Value Of Your Clients
Landing new customers takes a massive amount of effort, energy, and resources. Don’t waste it! Your clients have a Lifetime Value (LTV). If you nurture a relationship with your customers they will be worth a great deal more to you over the ‘lifetime’ of that relationship than the amount they initially paid you.
The sooner that relationship ends, the lower their LTV will be.
Failing to retain clients will not only result in stunted growth and the loss of a lot of potential profits. It can also damage your reputation. At best, your clients will fail to recommend you after they end their service. At worst, they will be disappointed enough to bad mouth you and put a dent in your reputation.
The success of your business turns on your reputation. Few things are more devastating to an entrepreneur than a ruined reputation (just ask Taylor Swift).
Clients can either provide you with new prospects, through positive word of mouth and testimonials, which help you land new leads, or they actively hinder your efforts at finding new business, by discouraging prospects through negative word of mouth.
Failing to follow through on your value promises is about as smart as running a nice hot bath, leaving the plug out, and wondering why the water’s run cold but the tub still isn’t full.
Listen And Learn
Value doesn’t begin and end with the things you determine are going to matter most to your clients when you first design your service.
The world changes alarming quickly. So do people. Check in with your customers regularly and find out what elements of your service they value most, what aspects they feel are providing little or no value, and what you can do to innovate your service to provide even more value.
Listen to their feedback, learn from it, implement it.
Extend this questioning to your prospects – what value are they seeking that your service is currently lacking? How can you incorporate and demonstrate that value?
Overdeliver And Be Responsive
The other thing you need to do regularly is provide your clients with extra value. Don’t wait until you want them to buy something else to get in touch with them, ensure you’re sending unique, precious content their way on a regular basis.
The easiest way to do this is in a weekly newsletter containing new content that is genuinely beneficial to them.
Your content marketing isn’t just demonstrating the value of your services to potential new clients; it’s reminding existing customers that you know your stuff, and have a lot more to offer than whatever they’re already getting.
If your clients get in touch with you, make sure you reply promptly, politely, and in the most helpful manner possible. This can be tricky if you’re swamped with work, especially if their request isn’t urgent, or falls outside the scope of the work they are paying your for, but it’s really important.
Hire A Great Team
If you’re not the only one working in your business, you need to make certain you have the right people doing the right jobs. Nobody said you had to be a one (wo)man band, so if you need to outsource, or hire part- or full-time staff, go for it.
But hire the right staff.
You need people who are reliable, professional, and hold themselves to your exacting standards. There’s nothing worse than knowing you’ve let a client down, and realising it wasn’t even your fault.
Your staff need to follow through on your promises as much as you do. This applies in particular if they directly interact with clients, but is just as true if they don’t.
Your business needs to be a slickly oiled machine, every piece working in smooth harmony.
Stay Ahead Of The Curve
Don’t rest on your proverbial laurels. Keep learning, incorporate new technology, methods, and ideas into your existing services to keep them at the cutting edge.
That doesn’t mean you should stop doing things that work for the sake of trying something new, but it does mean you should constantly be searching for better ways of doing what you’re already doing.
Even if what you’re doing right now is working just fine.