Yesterday, I was talking with a client who hired me to help book more clients at higher rates.
This is the number one reason people reach out to me for coaching, so I thought I’d share a bit of the story with you this week.
First, I’m going to talk about how to increase your prices.
But more importantly, I’m going to show you how this solution doesn’t always address the real, underlying problem to solve.
Raised rates, but not booking now
Let’s say my client is a photographer living on the East coast. She’s been in business for about five years and has seen steady growth – but not fast enough.
Several months before she hired me, she’d increased her prices significantly. But the conversion rate dropped even faster than she’d raised her rates.
Now she’s wondering if she should lower her rates back to where they were before she stopped booking dates.
I can’t tell you how many I run into this problem with wedding pros.
When you’re in this situation, you can take two actions:
1. Lower prices
2. Get better at selling your services
Of course, you can always take no action and see if things improve. But hope is not a strategy for long-term success. If you’re not seeing bookings (or really low conversion rates) after 10+ inquiries, it’s time to address the issues.
The easy route is to lower your rates. But it won’t make you more money. And it requires you to work more. Neither of these sound like good outcomes.
I recommend getting better at selling your services. Duh.
Tangible v. intangible value
What you can charge couples is equal to the value they expect to receive from your services.
Value is created through tangible and intangible items.
My photographer client delivered photographs (tangible items). However, the quality of the images did not change much after she increased her prices.
The extra she wanted to charge for her services was all about the intangible. The things her clients couldn’t see in her portfolio.
When you hear about “buying with your emotions” this is what we’re really talking about. It’s not the features that matter most. It’s the way you feel about what you’re buying that matters most.
How well you communicate those unseen but deeply felt services is a big key to raising your rates successfully.
What successful brands do
Successful brands do three things during the purchase process:
1. Build value
2. Create desire
3. Provide reassurance
And that’s what I focused on with my photography client.
Before she called me in to help, her approach was what most wedding pros do. Rebrand. Offer more tangible services. Share more information. Sound more sophisticated on correspondence and copywriting.
Some of these help, but only a little. Others backfire.
The issue with focusing on these areas is that they focus on a “more good” approach. As in, more good things the buyer will like.
· Better visual packaging
· Better list of features
· More information about the features and themselves
· More eloquent language
But the real obstacles to building value, creating desire, and providing reassurance almost always begins with a “less bad” strategy.
As in, eliminate parts of the buying experience that are blowing up your chances of converting at higher prices.
You can do 10 great things for a couple who inquires, but if you mess up one time when it really matters, well, you’ll lose the sale.
And that’s what was happening to my client. She was doing all the right things, but a few were out of order and some were delivered poorly. Especially with the discovery call and proposal, which is where I see most pros struggle.
So, before you get carried away doing more more more, try getting a second set of expert eyes on what you might be doing that’s silently sabotaging your conversion rates – and keeping you from raising your prices.
Get an expert to offer insights
Want me to take a look?
I offer a comprehensive service that dives deep into the entire sales process, from contact form to inquiry response to correspondence to proposal to pricing and packages. Then we’ll talk for 90 minutes to go over what I find. At the end, you get a thorough report with action items to implement – and help raise your prices.
The real problem to solve
At the top of this post, I told you raising prices was a solution to a problem – but not the biggest one.
In fact, most business owners focus too much of their time on the wrong areas.
My photographer client wanted to increase her conversion rates at higher prices. That was the surface-level need.
But early in the call, I asked her why she wanted to do this:
“Because I want to work fewer events.”
And why do you want to do that?
“Because I want to spend more time doing things I love outside of work.
And I knew with this answer, we were getting somewhere.
Why do you do what you do?
Now, you may read that answer she gave about wanting to work less and think, “Well, duh! Who doesn’t want that as their end goal?”
The truth is, lots of people.
Everyone has their own reason for wanting to work. For some, it’s about developing a skill and learning to master it. For others, it’s about setting a goal and achieving it. Many want recognition from their friend and colleagues. Most of us want the freedom and independence that comes with not working in the corporate world.
My client saw increasing prices as a way to help her spend more time doing the things she loved outside work. And that might help. But the route she was taking to drive up prices meant she was actually spending more time in other areas of her business to get there.
And so the route she was taking meant she was getting further from her ultimate goal.
That is what our future calls will be about. Because fixing the sales process and raising rates is relatively simple compared to designing a business that supports your goals outside of work.
What motivates you?
What drives you to own your business
That’s exactly what I get into on this week’s episode of Own Your Business, my podcast about how to grow your business in a way that supports the life you want to live.?
We all start our companies for different reasons. Even more important to know – very, very clearly – is why you’re still driven to keep it going today. It’s easy to get distracted by what motivates others in their business. Or keep running in place on the hamster wheel that you’ve created for yourself. But the sooner you connect with what drives you the faster you can build a strategy for your company that’s viable in the long run.
In this episode of Own Your Business, I’ll share
Nine psychological motivations that influence human decisions
How to identify what drives you as a business owner
Why it’s important to keep it at the forefront of your long-term strategy