Quit Apologizing for Your Rate

A big part of my work with clients deals with eliminating self-limiting beliefs, those obstacles and roadblocks in-between our ears that keep us from accomplishing our goals (or sometimes even setting them). As I prepare to head to FocalPoint's annual conference next week, I am reflecting on a wonderful lesson I learned on the importance of getting past my own roadblocks and believing in my own talent and ability at last year’s conference that proved to be a turning-point in my practice.

At a social event on night two of the conference, I was getting anxious about a phone conversation I had scheduled with a client the next day to discuss a potential training engagement. My concern was not with executing the event, but rather with how to price it. I asked a fellow coach and friend for two minutes of his time to help me establish some value and a price. Over an hour later, he and I had scratched out a full plan on four bar napkins that would blow right past the client's expectations and drive ROI well beyond the event. The result the next day? The client accepted the full proposal— at nearly 4x the original scope and price of the engagement—while commenting on how excited he was to get going.

Lessons learned:

  1. I am good at this, and my attitude, skills, knowledge, and experience will deliver tremendous value to my clients.
  2. I am worth the rate I charge, and I need to stop apologizing for it and proudly ask for it.
  3. I am my own harshest critic, and it's time to quit focusing on myself and focus my energy on my clients.
  4. All the best deals really are done on bar napkins.

Asking for money is hard, and it is easy for self-doubt and self-limiting beliefs about price and value to creep in. Too often, salespeople talk themselves out of a sale, or do not even give a client the chance to say yes (or no) by not presenting an option they themselves have deemed “too expensive”— without even consulting the client. They make excuses for why a client won’t buy something and why they shouldn’t even present the option, because it is the easy way out. Not even attempting to sell something is easier than dealing with a possible “no.” This lack of self-confidence prevents organizations and salespeople from being fairly compensated for a product or service, and prevents clients from receiving something that would solve the problems with which they are dealing.

If you are presenting a product or service to a client that will truly solve a problem, there is no reason not to ask for a fair price. Be proud of your offering and ask for a price that compensates your organization and delivers strong ROI for your client. If, however, you are still hesitant, take a look at what you are offering and ask yourself if it really is the right solution. If it isn’t, don’t present it; a discounted price for a product that doesn’t solve a problem does the client no good.

Remember, your job is to find and present options to your client so he or she can make an informed decision. Find the right solution, present your case, and offer it at a rate that is fair for both of you. The client's role is to make the decision whether value has been presented. If you make the decision for them beforehand by giving in to your own self-doubt, you've done them a disservice. Don’t let your own biases, baggage and beliefs cheat your client out of a solution, and yourself out of a sale.


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