Lately, I run into many people who constantly have the same refrain: “I’m so busy!” or “It's crazy here!” or “I never have the time.” I hate to be critical - but it tells me a lot about you, your personality, and your work habits.
In my last post, You’re Not Charging Enough For Your Services, I gave an actual example how other companies have the chutzpah to charge 50 times the price for a service because they can (and do it). They were charging almost $400K to build a website that could easily be built for $8-10K. So you can say this is 'Part Two'. I received a huge response for the post (and a lot of texts/emails/calls from readers - thank you!) who requested a number of techniques to help them raise their pricing. Here's the best part — increasing your price can positively affect people’s perceived value of your product/service.
1. Increase your fees for every new client — I recommend this strategy frequently to my clients. It's the easiest of the bunch — no pressure, no hassle for your existing clients. You don't have to go crazy, but you can jump your pricing by 10-25% and the new client will never know. This works with service-oriented practices where one client will never know your fees for another. Of course, will not work with established or advertised prices.
2. Increase your fees based upon their apparent wealth — This is an oldie, but goodie. If you find out their income, their home/location, their car, or their company/position, you can modify your fees accordingly by upwards of 25%-50%-100%. Trust me, it's done all the time. I know it might be a bit unfair, but if a service-person is standing in front of a 10,000 square foot mansion with three Bentleys in the driveway, they will certainly charge more than the person with a used car in a duplex.
3. Increase your fees by a small percent at a key time in the year — This one is a little harder than the rest, but it is equitable across your entire client list. Bump up your pricing at a certain time of the year and most people either won't notice, acknowledge the increase, question the rise and acquiesce, or defect. If it's a small increase 5-10% and it's done in a personal or professional manner, clients most often never defect. The ones that do leave don't value your services and are looking for the biggest bang for their buck. You probably don't want them as clients.
4. Extend: Provide an extra service — Your prices should be commensurate with the value you are providing. But there might be an additional service or product you can provide where your client will acknowledge the price change but won't care because of the extra service. The product or service might not cost you a lot, but over the long run, the up-charge on services will bring in mucho dollars.
5. Streamline: Reduce your service. Review the entire client/customer interaction from beginning to end. List out every step and deliverable — be very specific and granular. Stack rank each one from most important to least important to the client. Take the bottom step/deliverable and eliminate it. Or if you're a bit queasy about doing that, ask a few clients if they really need or want that deliverable. Most of the time, they don't even know it exists. If you cut out specific steps or deliverables and your clients see no diminution in their service, you are streamlining your product AND saving time and money.
6. Position differently. Add tiers. This is a bit harder than the rest, but the benefit is powerful. Take your offerings/products and re-package them. Add services, combine services, reduce services, move pricing around to sound advantageous and more specialized to the customer, while you save money (or increase fees). This strategy is frequently performed by many service industries in food and merchandise.
7. Change the packaging. A mainstay by manufacturers who dabble with size, weight, quantity, box, etc. Like positioning, you are altering the deliverable in some way to seem bigger, but in reality, it's less (or streamlined). Take a look at your product(s) and investigate how you can alter the packaging to give the appearance of delivering more to the customer.
Some of these suggestions are just suggestions — I'm not here advocating one over the other. Some are 'morally' better than others, but in the end, they're all viable alternatives to going out of business. In my 20+ years in marketing and advertising, these seven strategies are the most employed in the marketplace. Pick the one best for your business and charge more!
Can you think of any other one? I'd love to hear from YOU.
"If the the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, it’s time to water your own grass." Stop trying to compare yourself to others if you always make yourself feel inferior. Stop trying to yearn for a better job, if you don’t first try to make your current job better. Stop making the same mistake again and again because you focus on others and not on yourself.
Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses in your career. Here are some simple tips to help:
How would you rate how effective you are at your current job?
Not how hard you work, how smart? Remember high school . . . do you get straight A’s? Do you do extra credit to ensure that your GPA is at the top? If not, you won’t do any better at your next job. Take night classes, read books, surf the web for knowledge . . . Start watering this lawn.
How many important people do you know in your company?
Outside of your company? Every lawn needs it’s fertilizer – in addition to watering, you need to add a healthy sprinkling of important connections to make your career grow strong.
Are you adding ‘pizazz’ to the current responsibilities you have?
Take a concerted interest in growing your own lawn first. Take work home and see how you can grow your own plot of land first – who can you influence, who can add fertilizer?
Maybe you need to trim your lawn.
Where can you cut? What activities or tasks can be dropped to focus on the more important responsibilities? Who can you delegate to? Hand off some responsibilities that others might want to do?
Are there old cars or rusting play-sets on your lawn?
Time to brush those errant tasks and hangers-on that tend to waste your time and affect the growth of your lawn. Clear out and retire the obsolete activities and the non-essential meetings that take your eye off your lawn.
Are there idiots at night driving on your lawn, making deep ruts with their truck?
Investigate, isolate, and take care of errant peers, bosses, and subordinates who are sabotaging your efforts to grow a strong and healthy lawn. Shut them out of meetings, don’t talk to them and if need be, escalate to the appropriate areas. Also, put up an electric fence around your property — if they decide to go driving again, they will get a real shock!
Try and take care of your own lawn first . . . you might have the best piece of property on the street and not know it until you take action.
Been there, done that. Because of the economy and marketplace, many seemingly normal environments are slowly turning into ‘high-performance’ workplaces (HPW). In addition, if you are working at a startup or within a certain industry (PR, Advertising, Tech, etc.), you might encounter this situation all the time. Here are some tips to help you understand, cope, and succeed in your career:
I really didn't mean that. To be honest, to be successful, one needs certain things to happen:
- You have to hustle. Move faster than your competition and get things done. Take action.
- You have to be smart. Not only intelligence, but knowledge and street smarts.
- You have to be lucky. Sometimes it comes from nowhere, but most of the time it presents itself from opportunities you developed.
But there are times when you need to be nimble, agile, and frankly, work smarter. How? Here goes:
Think of all the things you do during the day. The email, the meetings, the people, the stop-bys, the phone calls, the traveling, the commute . . . everything.
Now I want you to take each element and figure out how you can STREAMLINE it. Make it take less time but deliver the same (or increased) result. Let's try each one:
- Email - do you have to read EVERY email? Develop a system to read the important messages and toss the rest.
- Meetings - do you have to go to EVERY meeting? Eliminate one meeting per week - you don't really need to be there.
- People - who are the most important people to your career? Who wastes your time? Start spending more time with the important people.
- Stop-bys - it's nice to have an open-door policy but you have to have time for yourself. Close your door at certain times to get working.
- Phone calls - all calls should be five minutes or less. If it is more complex, you need to meet.
- Traveling - do you really need to go there? Can you video conference in? A conference call?
- Commute - sitting in the car for an hour a day is tiring. Can you listen to motivational CD's? Can you telecommute?
Think outside of the box — you want to work smarter — get the work done in less time without killing yourself.
Over the next few weeks, I will be focusing in on each of these areas - STAY TUNED!
It's Monday! Time to hit work after a wonderful weekend . . . check your email . . . get ready for all those wonderful meetings . . . and make sure you schedule for all the work coming down the pike this week. Whoops! Forgot to tell you something . . . Most executives tend to forget that their job isn't supposed to crank out work (okay - that's part of your job - but just follow my thinking for a bit).