Once you’ve acknowledged that you need to increase your fees, having the confidence to do so is a whole other ball game.
In that moment where you’ve ran through your proposal and you’re about to head into the meeting with your client knowing you need to increase their fees by 300%, you know it’s going to be a difficult conversation.
That’s the moment when you need to remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Know your why
Your ‘why’ isn’t about the client. It’s how business with that client is going to impact you positively as a business owner. How it’s going to impact you as a member of the team. And how it’s going to impact you personally.
Nobody likes rejection, and it’s the fear of rejection that can make you lose confidence in the fees you’re proposing. Remind yourself of what you’re saying yes to by saying no to that client; that you’re no longer going to deliver this level of work for the fee that they’re paying you.
You have to remind yourself of the bigger yes, before you go in to say no to that client.
The thing to know is, if they leave, they’re not all going to leave. You might lose a couple of clients along the way, there might be a couple of causalities. But I promise you, the ones who leave will be the ones who’ve been zapping your time and zapping your energy anyway and they’re losing you money.
It will not matter.
You can use that energy and reinvest it into your other clients.
One of our GoProposal members did just that…
He realised he was massively undercharging all of his clients. He’d had an illness himself, which had changed his perspective on life. All of a sudden, what was now important was his family, (his why) so the prospect of having conversations about increasing fees with all of his clients became an easy thing to do.
He decided to reprice his entire client base, around 120 clients within three months. His team were empowered, they all got behind this and they went and had that conversation with their client base.
He lost 17% of his clients, by going through that process, including his cousin. But by the end of the process, it increased his revenue by 30% with his smaller client base.
Losing 17% of clients, who were the troubling clients, taking his time and energy, not paying enough, and not valuing him gave him the energy to focus on his clients who were profitable.
Stand by your guns, even if you have to have those difficult conversations, even conversations with people that are close to you. It will work out good in the end.
If you’re wondering what happened with the accountant and his cousin, the full story’s in the video below.
Reframe your thinking
On a webinar with Paul Barnes, founder of MAP, I asked if he was afraid of going back to clients he knew he hadn’t charged enough and telling them to pay more.
He said this:
“Absolutely”, but I was more afraid of ending up with a business I didn’t like, that was giving me a life that I didn’t want. I was aware of the biggest fear that was going on, and that way overshadowed any conversation I was going to have with a client, that’s what gave me the motivation.”
Instead of fearing losing the client, bring your thinking back to the bigger picture of what you want your life to look like and, like it did for Paul, this will overshadow any fears about your client’s reaction.
Here’s a great line Paul uses with clients :
“You can either continue having what you’re having. Or you can continue paying what you’re paying. But you can’t have both. What do you want?”
You don’t have to tell your client you’re going to increase their fees, you’re making it clear that they can’t keep getting what they’ve been getting for that fee. If they want to stay on that fee, you can still work with them on a reduced service package.
You need to make sure the way you price your services encourages interaction.
Because when your clients feel able to ring you and talk, it’s in those conversations that you’ll discover new opportunities to serve them at higher levels and strengthen the relationship.
This means the way you price your services needs to factor in so many conversations.
Make sure is that there’s a caveat for this in your service schedule, for example: “You can call or email us whenever you want. What we mean by that, is up to an hour of phone calls a month, in 15-minute blocks.”
If you notice a client needs more of your time, offer an SOS package when they can call anytime for a higher fee. What you don’t want to do, is to shut the conversation down.
Anticipating changes in their service level needs from the start of the relationship will give you confidence if the time does come that they need a higher service for a higher fee, because you’ve preempted it, so you know it won’t come as a shock to them.
This lesson is part of The GoProposal Academy course ‘The Art of Pricing and Selling to Serve’ which active GoProposal members gain exclusive access to, alongside many more training courses for you and your team.
If you want to learn more while putting these skills into practice, start your 30-day free trial today.
Since becoming a GoProposal member, Sharon Gillespie faced her fears and started repricing her clients. Her results were phenomenal! Hear what she had to say when I caught up with her: