If I asked you if you know your worth, both as a person and as a business owner, you’d say “yes, of course!” Right?
I hope you would.
But why is it that we can be caught out selling ourselves short?
Have you ever let a potential client barter you down on price?
Have you ever felt as if you can’t charge a certain fee for your services?
Have you ever felt not good enough – or not as good as someone else?
Have you ever felt that your values in business have been diminished by a client?
Do you take criticism to heart?
Today, I spoke with a client of mine who is in talks with a prospective client for themself. This prospect has quite quickly re-defined the boundaries of their working relationship to be, and is demanding more for the initial price quoted.
Understandably, my client is feeling uneasy. Does she chase the money, or does she honour her own and her business values and the price she puts on her service? She’s currently feeling that if this prospect becomes a client, she’ll be doing them a favour. She should be feeling empowered that this prospect wants to work with her for her guidance and expertise in the service she offers.
I think this is something that happens a lot in business.
Sometimes, it’s hard to say “no thank you” and walk away. Especially if our business is in its early stages.
So, what can you do?
Define your values and live and work by them
Have you ever written down your personal and company values? If not, then take a look here for some inspiration. When you know what they are, make yourself familiar with them. They may be intrinsic to you – if not, write them out and post them on your wall so that you’re always reminded of them.
If these are the values with which you will live your life and run your business, then it’s important that your clients share them too. How will you know? Well, apart from actually asking them, you can get a feel in the conversations you’ll have for them before they become a client. My gut instinct tells me quite a lot about people and I always advise others to listen to their gut too.
Be clear about your offer
It sounds simple to be clear about your offer – this is why you’re in business after all. But it’s easy to waive and for edges to become blurred when we’re offering our services. This is why it’s so important to have a niche and an ideal client rather than be offering everything you possibly can to anyone who comes along.
So, if you feel your service offer is wishy washy, get clear by looking at it in its entirety, looking at the services your clients love to buy and what gives you the most joy to deliver.
Be clear about your pricing
Pricing can always be a sticky point. Lots of mindset issues come up here about worthiness and imposter syndrome. It’s also really easy to try to undercut the market to get the business.
But you need to really think about the service you offer and its financial worth. You also need to think about the time and effort you’ve taken in the past to craft your skill. It’s not about saying my hourly rate is £X amount because my time is worth that – it’s about saying the rate for this job is £X amount because my skill and the time I’ve taken to craft my skill is worth that.
Your expertise is what you should be selling to your potential clients. And this is what will differentiate you from the market – this gives you your USP.
Define your business boundaries
This comes down to how you want to work. It’s your business, so your rules – simple. Yes, if a prospective client can’t fit into your business working model but everything else is a fit and you really want to work with this client, then you might want to make an allowance. But if your working hours are specific and a client is consistently pushing you out of these hours, then you do have a right to re-affirm your working boundaries.
A great place to do this is within your working terms and conditions. They’re then implicit from the start and you can make reference back to them if need be.
So how did things end up for my client?
Well, together we came up with some words that showed understanding for what the prospect was asking for but redefined my client’s business value, price and boundaries. The likelihood is that this prospect will probably not turn into a client - we're well aware of that. But we both are of the opinion that if you don't honour your own value - how can you expect anyone else to?
I’d love to know your thoughts on this topic or if you’ve had to stand by your values and price before? Please do let me know in the comments section of the blog.