Price to Entice...but Sell your Value
Posted on August 22, 2011 by Anne Kjellgren, One of Thousands of Executive Coaches on Noomii.
Getting those first clients shouldn't be based on price alone!
In working with one of my clients, I was reminded of an important lesson that everyone should take a look at in their own business – or even their own lives: Price to Entice, but Sell Your Value!!
My client, Faye, is a student in massage school. As part of her curriculum, my client is required to complete 60 clinic hours. This means that in addition to her busy class schedule during the week, she is also required to work in the school’s retail side delivering massages to paying customers. In order to motivate walk-in business and create a pool of customers for the students, the school runs special pricing two days a week. On these days, massages are offered at $22 for an hour-long massage. Great deal, right?
My client is an excellent massage therapist with great technique. I know this because I was one of Faye’s early “guinea pigs” as she called me. At the Clinic, my client has many requests for her massages. Not surprisingly, many of the customers request her on the discounted days. My client’s dilemma was that as much as she wanted to help all these people, she working until very late into the evening every night of the week to work all these people into her schedule. Already with a busy class schedule, homework, exams – not to mention a young family at home to care for – Faye was quickly headed toward burn-out.
Now, some might advise that this is a limited timeframe of a couple of months while she’s in school and that she should simply “just push through it.” However, there was more to this story.
I knew that my client has had a dream of helping people through bodywork for over ten years. She recently made the decision that her time was now. But her dream only starts with massage. Massage is the vehicle for her to help heal people. Faye is very talented at understanding what people need. She has also been a devotee of naturopathic and herbal medicine for most of her life. In fact, as part of her business plan, she has already arranged to partner with a noted acupuncturist in her area. Why does all of this matter?
It is important to understand – and important for Faye to understand – that by giving up her evenings, she was not going to get what she ultimately wanted. Sure, staying late and working herself to the bone would allow her to finish her clinical hours early. But, it would also cause her to miss out on her young children’s accomplishments and their nightly bedtime rituals. This doesn’t even take into account the time that Faye really needed for herself to power down and reenergize after mentally and physically exhausting days.
I admit, when starting a business, it is often important to take whatever business you can get to pay the light bill – but here we made a bit of an exception. In all fairness, the type of customer who only wanted to book on discount days would likely not be loyal to my client. Once Faye completes her licensure she will charge market rates and will likely serve a specific type of client – one who appreciates new age or eastern philosophies. The type of person who will only book on discount days is likely someone who is not seeking high quality, but rather low-cost services.
I explained the cost-benefit situation to my client. By limiting the number of evenings she was willing to stay late, she could maintain a close relationship with her family and maintain her own sanity.
The cost? It would take her an additional week beyond class dates to complete her clinical hours.
It’s always good to set your price at a level to attract new business as you get started. Price to Entice. However, if your customer is choosing you or your product based on price alone, this may not be a long-term relationship in the making. This is where you must Sell your Value! Use the opportunity of the low-cost sale to prove yourself. Go the extra mile and deliver more than your client expects. Make your clients so loyal to you based on your results that the price almost becomes irrelevant. However, you must qualify your customers – if some of your customers aren’t in alignment with the value you offer then you may want to reassess who you are attracting into your business.
In the end, Faye’s customer schedule remains booked. In fact, the “frenzy” of her limited availability actually created more demand for her services. Most importantly, she stayed true to who she was and did not have to sacrifice one part of her dream (her family) for the other (her career).