Episode #003 - Pricing: How to Sell Your Service Without Lowering Your Prices

Apr 02, 2021

Traffic, copywriting, sales scripts, mindset. Let's tackle these first, so you aren't tempted to undervalue your work. 

Katy Prince, Business and Sales Coach, chats all about the temptation that's often felt by online business owners to lower their prices whilst sales are slow...then explains exactly why we shouldn't. The episode identifies other reasons why your offer may not be selling quite like you'd hoped, and provides actionable tips to implement instead of slashing fees, including how to increase traffic and improve copywriting. Katy also shares scripts to use during tricky sales conversations, so that you can secure the sales you deserve!

Remember to tag us @squirmfreeschoolofbusiness as you're listening so we can give you a virtual high five 🎉

Click here to apply for Squirm-Free Sales Masters.


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Episode Transcript: 

Katy Prince:
Don't you dare lower your price. I know it's tempting, but hear me out. Today, I'm talking about why it is so tempting to lower your prices, especially if sales are a little bit slow, why you shouldn't and what you can do instead. So, give this episode or listen at first and see how you feel.

Welcome to the Study Note podcast, the podcast for all things sales, service, skills, and strategy for ethical entrepreneurs, brought to you by the Squirm-Free School of Business. I'm your host, Katy Prince, and I am obsessed with helping creators, business owners, and freelancers make money and reach their goals without the outdated business tactics that make us squirm. On this show, we are all about inclusion, confidence building, honesty, and fun. So if you want to level up your business, but maybe you don't quite see yourself fitting within the traditional entrepreneurial mold, then pull up a seat, you are in the right place.

All right. Oh my life, lowering your prices, hey? I remember the very first time someone asked me that question that we dread as service providers, "Is that your best price? Can you do it cheaper?" I'm having flashbacks to when I was first doing freelance copywriting. I remember, I remember I was sat at the top of the stairs in my basement apartment at the time, and I was on the phone to this potential client. I told them the price, and looking back, it was, it was a very fair price for what I was offering, it was under priced to begin with, to be honest, and she said, "Oh, I was thinking more like... " She basically gave me half the number back.

I remember feeling this just sick feeling just drop into my stomach. It felt affronting. I thought, "Oh, I've got something wrong here. What is she going to think of me? How do I move forward?" And all of those thoughts and decisions are happening in a moment there. And that is before we even get into the fact that as a service provider, you can't help but feel that the price that someone is willing to pay is a reflection on your value as a person. I remember my first time that someone asked me to lower my prices and how I felt. I wonder if you have a memory like that too. We're going to kick off today's episode with asking ourselves some hard-hitting questions. We're going to jump right in the deep end. If you have a pen and paper to hand, great time to pick it up. You might want to write these down. These can either be points for you to consider as you're out on your walk today, or if you're at home and you have a journal to hand, then definitely scroll these down to consider.

So, why are you really feeling the urge to lower your price? Is it because someone asked you to? Is it because you saw someone else with lower prices? If it is, definitely scoot back to our episode all about comparison. Do you feel like on some level that your work isn't good "enough" to command that price? Is there perhaps a fear of rejection or even causing offense by asking for a certain number? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then your feelings of hesitation are completely understandable, and I do get it. But here's the problem, it's only a teeny tiny fraction of the time that any of these beliefs are actually based on reality or feedback. Dropping your price based on reoccurring and grounded feedback, market research, or truly understanding your services and revenue needs is one thing, but just feeling an obligation that your price may be too high for people or wanting to spontaneously deciding to drop it on a call in order to perhaps make it easier to bag the sale, that is not a good enough reason, my friend. It's not.

Has a past client ever reached out to you and actually said, "I was completely happy to purchase your product, but then I realized it was not worth the price at all." It's very rare that we get feedback this direct. When we do get questions from people, it's normally from a place of curiosity rather than, "I did not think that that was worth it." So here is why it's really important that you don't lower your price. Reason number one, it is a symptom of being reactive to your own fears or insecurities that are popping up without real evidence. And the last thing we want to do is feed those beasts. They don't need any more encouragement, do they? The last thing we want to do is feed that inner troll that says, "That's too much. You're not good enough." Let's not give them more evidence to go on and, instead, stand up to that inner troll.

Secondly, from a sales and marketing point of view, I'm a huge believer in transparency. People need to know what it is that you're charging and that you have good reason behind that. If you keep changing your price willy nilly, based on whatever whims or insecurities or mine trash might be coming up on any given day, it can add confusion to the sales process, right? It can add confusion. If it says one thing on your website and you're giving a different number on your sales call, and then after a couple of emails you're offering to drop it by an extra a hundred bucks, that adds confusion. It adds confusion, and confusion is the last thing we want in a sales process, right? Confused people tend to say one thing, and that is no. Also, if you have lots of different prices in different places, you have a lot to keep track of. You have a lot to keep track of, and that can feel super stressful.

Thirdly, if you do drop your price on request, on demand, on the spot when someone asks you for a discount, then people will tend to question why was it ever the original price, and may subsequently doubt the value of the service. Let's say you're having a sales conversation, maybe you're meeting up for a distance coffee with someone or you are getting together over Zoom, and the moment that someone says, "Oh gosh, that's a bit more than I was expecting," you immediately drop and go, "Oh, okay, well, if 700 is too much, how about 500?" What does that say to them about how much you really value your service? Let me paint you a picture, let's say you see something, perhaps a necklace in the clearance section of a shop. It's selling for like 50p or 50 cents, and you're like, "Huh? How?" It immediately makes you think that the original price must have been extremely inflated if it was originally selling for £20 or $20 and now it's on sale for 50 cents or 50 cents. You look at that original price and you're like, "God, that was so inflated and overpriced. The quality of that necklace must be way poorer than I originally thought."

My fourth and perhaps the most important reason, definitely the most important reason, when you lower your prices, you may end up resenting the work. Take it from someone who's been there and done that, this is especially true for done for you services. If someone has pressured you to lower the price, then do you think that you are going to be skipping merrily over to your desk to deliver a super high standard to them? If your preferred project fee would have been 5,000, and they whittled you down to 3000, so you're now getting paid just over half of what you wanted, the motivation to deliver at the 5,000 level is not going to be there, right? So in the long run, yeah, it's not fair to you, but it's also not fair to the customer, to the client. On the surface, it may appear that we're helping out by slashing prices for people who are hesitant or who are saying, "I don't quite have the budget," but the reality is you are going to be much less motivated to do the work for them compared to your full paying customers.

If you have an hour at the end of the day to tidy up work, which are you going to choose? To touch up the work and do a few extra bits for that client who is paying you in full or go and get cracking on the really important changes to the one who is paying you peanuts? Hmm. So it's definitely worth noting that the matter of accessible pricing is a very different one to what I'm talking about here. It's definitely an important topic and worthy of discussion. And actually, in the next episode, we are doing an interview with an amazing business owner who has some really great nuggets about how to navigate accessible pricing and how to prioritize community while still turning profits. So definitely make sure to keep your eyes and ears peeled for that.

So whether you are selling a $37 mini course or a 5K website build or coaching package, if no one is buying, this is what I need you to hear, you are not the problem, your price is not the problem. I'm actually going to repeat that, your price is not the problem. To be honest, this goes for literally any offer at any price point. Knock in an extra $5 off that mini course or 500 off that coaching or done for you services package, it will not sway the sale. However, it will significantly sway your profit margin. There are going to be people who are and are not willing to buy, whatever your price point. So I am willing to bet there are typically one of two main reasons that your offer might not be selling at the rate that you want it to be. Reason number one, and this is most common, is that you're not getting enough eyes on it. There's not enough eyes on the prize, not enough traffic. How many people actually know about your offer? Yeah. How many people actually know about your offer?

But really though, one Facebook post doesn't mean that suddenly every single one of your connections on that platform, you're suddenly top of mind for them. In fact, I recently read the only 6%, 6% of your audience on Facebook or Instagram we'll see your posts organically. Talk about disheartening, right? So, you need to invest resources if you want to ensure that you're getting in front of the people you want to reach, in front of the people that you're connected with. On average, sales will typically convert at 1-3%, meaning that you want 100 people to land on your page for your mini course if you want to make one to three sales. The first thing to always check is, how many eyes am I actually getting on my stuff? If people can't see, see you, they can't pay you. Yeah, so traffic, eyes, action, that is our first reason.

The second reason is that your audience just don't understand what's in it for them. So there's some kind of disconnect in your messaging. So if right now you have plenty of traffic but still no sales, then it is absolutely time to look at your messaging. So feel free to jot these questions down or come back to them later and see if you can use them as prompts when you're next writing copy. We want to be clear who exactly is your offer for. That is going to be reflected in your copy typically using statements that begin with, "This is for you if... This is for you if you've already tried A, B, C and you're sick of D, E, F." How will working with you have a positive impact on your buyer's life? How does your product or service or program or course, how does yours differ from similar items on the market? And how is it better for your buyer? What specifically made you decide to create or compile this for your audience? Or how else will their lives, will their businesses, will their relationships or their health, whatever it is that you're helping them with, how else will it be better, easier, different, or more fun after your customer starts implementing what it is that you're selling? Some prompts for you to dig in and review your messaging.

Now let's run through a few extra bits about how we can actually tackle getting more traffic happening and better messaging. To get more eyes on your stuff, to get more traffic happening, you can either invest your time. So you can invest your time in being prolific, so posting, going live, sending emails, sending DMS, going to markets, going to events when it's safe to do so, going to online events, participating in networking, investing your time, right? Or, you can invest your money. You can invest your money. You can invest your money in paid traffic. You can invest your money in affiliates. You can, yeah, go the advertising route with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google Ads. You can invest your money in hiring a VA to go and be prolific on your behalf. But this is the crucial piece, whether you're investing your time or your money to get eyes on you, once they are on you, don't let them look away, yeah? Being engaging, warm folks up, use content that helps those folks who have found you to self identify as someone who is ready to consider buying from you. Typically, in your audience, there's around 3% of people would be ready to buy now if you ask them.. And another 7% would be open to a conversation or would be open to the idea of it.

And so, we want to make sure that regularly you are putting messaging out there that supports those 10%, so the three and the seven, to reveal themselves, whether they're hanging out on your email list or they're following you on a social media platform. We learn all about this inside of my pay programs but to give you a little bit of an insight scoop, we use what I like to call hand-raising content or interest-inviting content to encourage those people to say, "Hey, I'm one of those interested parties." Because you can't just DM all of your followers all the time, you'll get blocked. We do this in a number of ways. You can use things like the survey feature on your stories, so, "Have you ever felt like... " how your ideal client feels, or, "I'm looking for five people who are ready to get this result in the next number of days. Does this sound like you?" "Yes, it is. Oh my God, that's me."

Then once these people have revealed themselves either by hitting reply or tapping the poll or sliding with Slido, whatever you've asked them to do, you can then follow up, right? Follow up with a message, follow up with a Loom video, follow up with a personal email if they're hitting reply to an email campaign and just ask like, "Oh, are you interested in getting a bit of help with this?" Not rushing in with a sale but just asking if they're interested. This doesn't have to be icky. It would be kind of rude not to once they've tapped a poll or hit Reply or dropped a comment showing interest not to bother asking like, "Oh, hey, I know you tapped this poll, are you interested in getting a bit of support with... " Whatever it is you support them with. A crucial way to remove the squirminess of following up is to never, ever just jump in to sell. But we have a whole episode on squirm-free following up and consent coming later in the season. So definitely sit tight and stick around for that.

Here are some other ways that you can tweak your messaging if it's not quite resonating or not quite landing with your ideal client right now, or you have a feeling that there is some room for improvement. Number one, one of my favorite words, and it's a really fun word to say, is specificity. Don't be afraid to get specific. Ask yourself this, will your sales page or your whatever it is you're writing, whether it's an email, whether it's a sales page, whether it's a caption, would it pass the three tap test? Meaning that if your ideal client was comparing you to two other potential providers and had them open in different tabs, is there something about your page that screams, "Oh, this is different to those other two."? It doesn't always need to be, oh, the best, the most polished, the most professional, lalala, but is there something that makes you stand out when looking at those three tabs?

Secondly, inside A Squirm-Free Sales Masters, we do a big in-depth training on this. We talk about states versus moments. Typically, what most people are doing is they talk about general states in their messaging. They say things like, "Are you overwhelmed?" That can lend itself to sounding pretty vanilla. And so instead, what we want to talk about is the specific moment when your ideal client is feeling that state. If we're using overwhelmed as the example, it might be, are you feeling overwhelmed? What about this as a moment, "Are you sat in your home office right now, looking up at all the certificates and qualifications on your wall. But as you stare at them, you're feeling lost because even though you have all this expertise you still don't know your next step?"

See the difference between the moment and the state? When we identify that moment, it means that we can observe the time where it's becoming really unbearable without having to go that icky route of picking away at pain points, which is what's traditionally taught in copywriting and messaging. When we point out that moment where the overwhelm becomes... it gets to a peak, people can't help but be inspired to take action at that point, right?

Okay, third tip for you is to be vulnerable. I'm not talking about that faux vulnerability that has become quite the trend, but I mean showing that you were once in a difficult position yourself or maybe that you don't have it all together all the time, and therefore you can truly empathize with the people you serve. Articulate in your personal experience and explaining how you progressed out of that experience and what it's taught you about helping others do the same too. This helps us move away from being in a position of, "Oh, I've got it all figured out, and here's what you should do," or, "Here's what I wish I should have done when I was in that position," which can come off kind of judgy and preachy, and instead by telling a story of, "Hey, I was exactly where you were, and at that time I felt like I didn't have a clear path of my next step. In the end, what I ended up doing was A, B, C." Instead, when you tell through storytelling rather than that sort of preachy place of judgment, we can sell with more compassion and more understanding.

My last tip for you is to be approachable. Be approachable. When people have questions, don't hide. Anticipate that questions and objections are completely normal. Actually, the more you can preemptively validate and answer them in your copy, the more approachable you become and making it clear that you welcome any questions, big or small. So in your messaging this might sound like you saying like, "Oh, whether your question is a big one like, 'Oh my goodness, I've no idea how I'm going to afford this,' or it's a tiny one like, 'Oh, could you tell me a bit more about what your onboarding process is like,' then my DMs are wide open, and I'm here to help you."

All right, so I talked about how we can put some structures in place so that we're less tempted to lower our prices by making sure that we are getting enough eyes on our stuff so that we're not relying or putting too much pressure on just one or two leads. And, we've talked about really working on our messaging so that we feel solid in the value of our business as a whole. But you might be thinking, "What if someone directly asked me for a discount? What if someone directly asked me for a discount?" All right, here's what I want you to do. This is what I said to my prospect that I was on the phone to the top of the stairs in my basement apartment when they asked me for a warping discount, I want you to hit him with this juicy line and keep this in your back pocket, "I love that you want to get best value from me. I love that you want to get best value from me on this project, that's really inspiring. And, in order for me to bring my full self, my full energy, put all of my effort into this project in the way it deserves, I need to be paid in full. Full price means better result."

And then you got to pause and wait it out. Most of the time this will be followed by complete understanding and acceptance from the client, and sometimes even an apology, in which case I reassure them like, "I get it, I'm a business owner too. We all want best value when we're doing any kind of business, right? And so this is how you get best value from me." Sure, a small number of people might be hideously offended. Okay then, now you know you're not a great fit. And thank goodness that you found out now instead of starting what might have turned out to be a toxic working relationship with this person that wouldn't have served anyone.

You might also be thinking, "What if someone in my niche is cheaper than me?" Oh, okay, great, they can go get it cheaper from them then. Well, I think we all need to get a bit more appreciation for is that, yes, some people may go to your competitors, and it's not personal. It is not personal. Just because someone chooses to go and get it from so-and-so for a few hundred dollars less, that's not a personal attack on you. There is always someone out there who is ready to buy from you, who is ready to work with you, who is ready to choose you. And there is a person for every price point. It is just about finding them, engaging with them, showing up for them. And if the service that you're delivering needs to be valued at X, then leave it at X, and let it be that. If you take one thing from this episode, just make sure that whatever price point you choose you fully believe in it and are motivated by it.

Because, trust me, prospects will pick up on both a sheepish delivery of a price that you consider to be too high or resentful delivery of a price you feel undervalued by. The number you give is one that you need to be excited to tell them, so that they are excited to buy from you.

Alrighty, that is all we've got time for in today's episode of Study Notes. Thank you so much for listening. If you are maybe feeling a little bit flimsy on your prices and you're not fully confident yet on how to communicate your pricing to prospects, or maybe you just don't even know where to start yet in terms of setting your numbers, then I would love to invite you to apply to join our Squirm-Free Sales Masters program. Squirm-Free Sales Masters is my signature sales experience that over six months helps entrepreneurs get the sales they deserve in an ethical way. Plus, we will work with you to set a price that you believe in. We provide scripts and training to help you sell with confidence, and we will work with you to crunch those important numbers behind the scenes too. So if that sounds like a party you want to join, swing by squirmfreesales.com/apply to find out more, submit your application, and get involved. The link will be in the show notes.

Before we bid farewell, definitely remember to tag us on Instagram, @squirmfreeschoolofbusiness, with your biggest takeaway from this episode. Or, just let us know your biggest win this week so that we can celebrate with you. If you are enjoying this podcast, why not share it with an ethical entrepreneurial pal who is also wanting to reach a place of clarity with sales, service, strategy. Do leave us a review and let us know your thoughts on the show. All right, have a fab rest of your day, and I will see you in the next one.


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