How do I justify my higher fee?
I am often asked this questions during a coaching session. Do you make one (or all) of these common mistakes when determining your fee:
- Not knowing how much you're worth, you charge what your competition charges.
- You charge below what you're worth.
- You are embarrassed or hesitant when discussing your fees with potential clients.
The first thing to do is, don't talk about your fees until you know whether your service meets their needs.
However, you may (and will most likely) be asked to justify your fee if your benefits are not clear to your listener. How do you ‘defend' the fact that you charge a higher fee than your competition? Here are some suggestions:
- Highlight your skills: Do you have business, technical, communication, etc… skills? Be specific and flaunt 'em!
- Get recognition (aka visibility): Get published, quoted or interviewed. Become the guru of your field. Get the press to notice you. Any form of free publicity that gets you in front of your target clients is a GOOD thing. If you are recognized in some way, again, flaunt it!! Send it to your past and present clients, post it on your website, add it to your marketing kit, get the word out that you are a recognized expert in your field!
- Credentials: This may not be applicable to entrepreneurs in all fields, and you don't want to go overboard. Does your industry have standards that you must be kept up to date with? Is there additional training that is available to your industry but not mandatory? If it'll give you the edge, go for it.
- Get experience: If you are new to your field, this is a MUST. Volunteer if you have to. Offer a free session, complimentary hour, test-try, a sample… anything. But do this with moderation. Have your ‘one-time offer' and do so in exchange for a testimonial.
- Look busy: Someone once said “The harder you are to hire, the harder they'll try to hire you.” That's why (in my own opinion) I think cold-calling doesn't work. While cold-calling has it's place and it works for some, I think it screams “I'm SO not busy that I have to call complete strangers to see if they'll hire me.” The trick, don't act desperate, even if you are.
Personally, if someone says my fees are too high, either they are not a serious prospect and they clearly haven't done their homework OR they don't really know what they want OR they are price shoppers and I don't want them for clients anyways. So, I don't spend too much time defending myself.
So, what's your strategy?