The costly problem of blending in

value pricingYou only have 2 seconds to grab someone’s attention. So when you blend in with all the others in your industry, nothing grabs her attention. If your website, your profile or your message doesn’t stand out, then potential clients end up comparing you to everyone else.

The products, services or systems you offer matter more to you than to your clients. That’s because you devoted time, money and effort to gain knowledge and develop your skill set. Your best clients; however, seek more than someone who possesses a specific skill set.

Ever meet with someone who dominates the conversation, primarily talking about what they do? After awhile you’re bored, or hope she asks about what interests you. Well, this applies to your website and messaging. Don’t make it all about you.

Although it appears counter-intuitive, don’t over-emphasize your product or services. It actually lowers your value and leaves money on the table. Lower value means lower fees. Remember, that’s what everyone else is doing. So, how do you stand out?

Step into your clients shoes

Challenge yourself to break free from the status quo. Start by stepping into your clients shoes. Here’s what I mean – consider the problem from your client’s perspective. Reach out to your best clients to discover what matters most to them.

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Find out the answers to these questions:

  • What does she ideally want?
  • Why does this matter?
  • Why is this important?

The answers to these questions will expand your point of view. Your best clients invest in an outcome, not the task list. What your clients share with you ought to influence your website and your messaging. New insights often emerge once I my clients go through this exercise.

value pricingThe value of your expertise

What if your fees reflect the level of your expertise rather than the time to perform a task? How would you adapt your approach?

Like many of my clients, you grasp the concept of value pricing. However, this raises questions you don’t know how to answer. Rather than continuing to think about it, I work closely with you to separate your fees from time.

It’s similar to the story about Picasso taking 5 minutes to sketch a woman’s portrait on a napkin then charging her $10,000 for the sketch.

Why? Because he devoted his entire life to art. As a master, he’s capable of drawing fine art in 5 minutes. The average artist will never achieve the same high level of mastery in an entire lifetime.

Value pricing accounts for your lifetime of experience, directly and indirectly, related to your profession. Over the years, you fine tuned your skills. You know exactly how to get your client unstuck.  Your clients appreciate the fact that you eagerly share insights and ideas with them.

Don’t discount your lifetime of experience, hard work and insight. Recognize where you possess mastery. Like Picasso, your 5 minute solution may be worth $10,000 to your client.

Your expertise benefits your client. What’s possible when you expertly remove a barrier for your clients?

Emphasize the transformation

Value pricing emphasizes the transformation. Transformation defined is a thorough or dramatic change. Start to connect the dots for potential clients. Educate her about what’s possible once she hires you.

Because of the time, energy and money you devoted to honing your skill, you expertly solve specific problems. You’re aware of the specific order of steps, how to avoid costly mistakes and how to guide clients through the process. When you emphasize those things, clients happily pay you for the result. It’s really not about your time.

Without your expertise and guidance, your clients remain stuck. They know what they want, but don’t know how to resolve the problem. Lacking the solution raises their frustration, wastes time and costs money. Opportunities pass her by which she’s unable to take advantage of.

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The value of your guidance:

  • Your clients get results. She experiences progress because she’s no longer stuck.
  • Improved efficiency. What was once difficult is now easy and requires less time.
  • Money. Your service either helps her make money, save money or both.

Sarah does bookkeeping for attorneys. Like most bookkeepers her services emphasized transactions, reports, invoicing and reconciliation. Although Sarah only works with law firms, nothing separated her from the long list of other bookkeepers with a similar specialty.  Because of that, she resisted raising her rates.

So, how did she shift? Sarah did some homework. She gained insight into the cost of attorneys lacking accurate information. Without proper bookkeeping, cash flow issues occurred. Even the tension rose within firms when the bookkeeping was a mess, leading to morale issues.

Sarah realized how reliable bookkeeping raises a law firm’s profitability.  Now she connects her services to a law firms desires. You see, a law firm with happy attorneys is more profitable than one with internal tension.

value pricingAs a result of connecting her service to a high value result:

  • She’s clear about her client’s specific needs.
  • Her clients enjoy improved cash flow and management.
  • She prices her services for value, not time and functions.
  • Since she highlights her expertise, she no longer blends in with bookkeepers who emphasize reports.

Sarah’s move in this direction required time and effort. Her prices now reflect the solution. If value pricing was easy, more entrepreneurs would move in that direction.

Where do you start? Answer these questions:

  • Perspective. Consider the client’s perspective. Why does this matter to her?
  • Support services. Get paid for support services you previously gave away for free.
  • Packages. Design packages which emphasize the outcome.
  • Review. Adjust your packages as you gain insight. Determine which steps or actions are most effective.
  • Measure. Track your results. Consistently seek to improve your process, leading to even greater results.

Awareness about your highest value influences your entire business. When you connect your service to a specific transformation, or outcome, your value rises. Clients no longer hire you for a task.

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As a result, you attract clients who value your expertise. They want you to solve a specific problem.  It’s like turning a bed of weeds into an award-winning garden. Value pricing starts with you. Your highest value lies beyond the tasks.

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