Pricing is a bit of an emotive issue isn’t it? Well, I’ve had a couple of weeks where I’ve been saying no a lot - but not in a negative way (hang in there). I’ve been saying no to offers of projects where the money was frankly, rubbish. How is this positive? It’s positive because I decided that enough was enough, and that my time, experience and knowledge were worth more.
I was like Oliver Twist - “…please Sir, can I have some more?”
In the past few months I’ve started to notice a squeeze on prices and I reached a point where someone offered me a fee for something that was insultingly low. I chatted it over with a couple of good sensible friends, then I took a deep breath and said…
“Thank you for thinking of me but on this occasion I’m going to pass. The amount of work involved for the fee being offered falls too far below my pricing policy I’m afraid. I hope you understand.”
What do you think happened?
Well, the client sent me a note asking what I would be prepared accept - and then just for a change the negotiations started to spiral upwards instead of downwards and I got the a rate that I was happy with and the client was happy with.
Since then, I’ve said no to three other projects because the rate wasn’t to my liking and the world has not come to an end. In fact my bank balance is in a better state and I’ve not been running around like a blue-arsed wotsit. If we don’t value our own worth how can we realistically expect anyone else to?
Focus on value not price
In the Oscar Wilde play, Lady Windermere’s Fan, one the characters, Lord Darlington quips that a cynic was 'a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing’. It’s easy to get caught up in prices, and to obsess over how your price compares to someone else’s price. When in fact what we should be doing is comparing the value of our respective offerings. I know there are people out there who price themselves at less than half the rate I ask for. But they are not me, they don’t have my background, they won’t have the business and life experience I’ve had, so the value I deliver will be markedly different to what someone else can bring to the party.
What do mean by value?
Let's say a photographer charges £100 a day more than one of his competitors. He or she could produce the winning advertising shot that allows their client to yield an additional £10,000 in sales. So while the price was £100 more, that photographer’s fee created a £10,000 value.
So instead of focusing on the price, let’s all make a pact to focus on the value that our product or service can bring to someone else. The value doesn't have to be money - it could be pleasure or peace of mind, or hope or exclusivity or something else.
Things to ponder over the coming week:
- Don’t be afraid to say no if the fee/price on offer is not to your liking.
- Be prepared to walk away - instead use that time to focus on the kind of clients you really want.
- Think about the value you offer and make sure all your marketing materials reflect that message clearly.
- Believe in yourself…