“I have visited your website and am interested in coaching and would like to know your rates?” Every week I receive emails asking this question and some that ask the question “Why are your rates not shown on your website?”
Since the Internet became an everyday work tool most of us have become comfortable using comparison websites that let us quickly see and compare prices for similar products. When two or more suppliers offer exactly the same product we make our buying decisions based upon two criteria:
§ Price and
§ Quality of service.
Nowadays quality of service is often defined by efficiency such as ease of purchase, speed and accuracy of delivery; we want the buying process to be simple and we want our bananas delivered the next day and not to be replaced by potatoes if bananas aren’t available.
In all business its important to be very clear on what it is you have to offer your customers, this is called a Value Enquiry. Take some time to think from the customer perspective and get clarity on:
1. What does your product/service do for the customer?
2. What does your product/service give the customer
3. What does the customer get by using your product/service?
In business it is mission critical to define what you do and the difference it makes to the customer; to define what its worth to them, and to ensure the value you assign to it leaves you with a healthy profit.
If you can’t clearly value your product or service and all of the benefits a customer will get from using you compared to using others, then how can you discuss and overcome any objections a customer may have and present to them the additional benefits you offer?
Failing to really value what you have to offer and being able to present this, often leads to discounting in order to be competitive.
In business we all offer either a solution to a need or we add value. The more difference what you do makes to a customer or client (or employer) and the more unique (or rare) what you offer is (compared to others) then more value can be assigned to it and the more people are willing to pay for it.
Difference + Uniqueness = Price
Many years ago I spent a day doing a detailed Value Enquiry; where I thoroughly explored what my coaching did for, gave clients and what they got from my coaching programmes. I ended up with a long list of benefits and as a result can clearly see and explain these benefits to anyone. This exercise made it very clear that the difference coaching made to clients was immense, and that the price to the right client would be their least important consideration once they understood the real value and benefits.
After doing the Values Enquiry I removed my rates from my website because comparing a coach based upon price alone is a flawed buying strategy you are not comparing like for like. Initial enquiries dropped off slightly but the number of people that I got to speak to who then booked onto a coaching programme increased and price is rarely an issue.
I value the service I offer. From experience, testimonials, client feedback and metrics I know the positive impact it makes on clients, some of the impact is measurable and quantifiable e.g.:
§ Increased sales after sales coaching (30% - 300%)
§ Reduced absenteeism after stress management coaching (50 – 100% reduction)
Other changes aren’t easily quantifiable e.g. job satisfaction, reduction in worrying, increased levels of commitment etc. However from client feedback, and subjective experience coaching makes a difference.
So before I ever have a conversation about rates with a client, I want to know more about them to ensure I can add value and be of service or coach to provide a solution. It has to be a win-win arrangement.
Then we can discuss rates, and as I say to all potential clients, I may not be the cheapest, if what they want is cheap there are directories of coaches who offer that, if what they want is to make a difference then their return on investment by signing up for a coaching programme will be worth it.
Value what you do and your customers will value it also.
PS - I now have rates on my site so that those who aren't willing to invest in themselves and don't see the value self disqualify themselves - saves us all a lot of time.
For more information on:
Valuing and growing your business read “Business Coaching & Mentoring for Dummies” - Amazon
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Steve Crabb is an Author, International Coach and Trainer and specialises in business growth and stress management you can contact Steve via e-mail email@example.com