One of the common challenges I hear from service-based business owners is the challenge of pricing their own time or service. This is particularly the case if you are your product. In other words, people are buying something that’s non-tangible – your smarts, your ideas, your creativity.
Here are some steps to help you value and better price your time. After all, your pricing is a significant key to your success. The truth is – the more you value what you do, the more your customers will too.
Value your innate talents:
We are all born with certain skills and strengths, and these are what set you apart from your competition. You probably already know what you are naturally good at. Make a list of these strengths and ascertain ways in which you can leverage those in your work. There are plenty of great resources available for finding out what your strengths are, for example, Clifton Strengths Finder (www.strengthsfinder.com) or Martin Seligman’s Values In Action (VIA) Strengths Test (www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu).
People buy you because they value the ways in which you stand out from your competition. No doubt you have thousands of competitors in your market. It is what’s so special about you that makes your customers value you. The better you understand these strengths, you more consistently you can incorporate them into the customer experience.
Understand what your customers value
Ask your customers for testimonials. These will give you great insights into what people value about your services. Read and re-read them. I believe testimonials are of as much value to you as they are to your prospects.
They are an opportunity for you to clearly identify what your customers truly value about working with you. It’s also a chance for you to see yourself the way the world does. I am sure if I asked you to write a list of all your great qualities and I also asked your friends and family to write a list of what they see as your great qualities, I know who would write the longer list – your friends and family. So, see (and sell) yourself as those around you see you.
If you genuinely believe there is a misalignment between how the world perceives you and your actual abilities, then what actions can you take to skill up?
Know who is charging what in the market.
There will always be competitors who are cheaper than you (I hope!) and those who are more expensive. Ultimately, you need to pick a price point and position yourself accordingly. That means every part of your customers’ experience needs to be congruent with your pricing. For example, if you are the Mercedes Benz of your industry, never offer a Hyundai Getz level of service or experience. Set your price outside of your comfort zone. I would recommend picking a price based on your understanding of the where you fit in the market … then add at least 25%.
Silence your inner critic
Don’t let the voices in your head (the “itty bitty shitty committee”) get in the way. The best way to silence your inner critic is to amplify your inner coach.
If your inner critic rears its head, take the opportunity for your inner coach to see it as an indication of areas requiring improvement or development. For example, if your inner critic says “there is now way my time is worth $x per hour”, then coach yourself around what would be worth $x per hour? What skills or systems would I need to have in order to comfortably deliver $x per hour?