"You're too expensive!"
"I can't possibly afford that right now."
"Can you do something about the price?"
"I know people who charge less!"
(By the way, my inner response to that is: "I know clients who pay more.")
These are words that can be difficult for service-based business owners to respond to. Most of us are not too comfortable with selling in the first place. And when someone questions how much you're charging for your services, it can dent your confidence and make you doubt yourself.
Let's start with how you shouldn't respond...
Don't immediately lower your pricing out of panic when someone says you're too expensive, otherwise they'll likely assume that you were over-charging to begin with. That's not what you want. And you'll miss a chance to open a dialogue that can lead to better understanding of your client's requirements and concerns.
Don't defend yourself
At the end of the day, it's your business. You don't have to defend yourself or your prices, unless you want to. Just as your client has the right to object to your prices, you have the right to stand by them. This is especially the case if you are happy with your current workload.
Don't take it personally
Objections around price are just part and parcel of the everyday business negotiation, so don't take it personally. It's not about you. In fact, think of it this way... if you've never been told you're too expensive, you're probably not charging enough.
Tips on how you can respond
1. Start a conversation
The good news is that when someone says you're too expensive, it needn't always be the end of the conversation. Often, when a potential client mentions your pricing, it's a signal that they want to buy from you, but may need some convincing in order to overcome their reasons for hesitating.
These objections may have nothing to do with your price and everything to do with where they're at. Sometimes they're either not 100% committed to a particular course of action, e.g. they may just be price shopping, or they may simply be using price as an easy way out for not wanting to buy.
Whatever the case, by asking your client a few simple questions in non-aggressive way and listening to their concerns, you can find out if they really want to work with you, or are using price as an excuse.
2. Agree that you're expensive
Communicate to your clients the real value of your work, the processes and time involved to help them get results. Explain to them that it's taken years of dedication for you to build your expertise and knowledge in your field. So yes, you are expensive. But if you can convey the true value of what you do, then your clients will realise that your services are worth the price tag.
3. Focus on the return on investment (ROI)
In a previous blog post 5 Reasons Why Nobody Is Buying From You, I share why clients may not be ready to invest in you, and it's rarely about price!
One of the common reasons is that they don't understand the values/benefits of your offerings. Focusing on the ROI and the results you'll help them achieve is key.
Say to your client:
- "You reached out to me because you need help with [XYZ]. I'm confident that I can help you."
- "What would it mean to you if I can help you solve the [XYZ] problem immediately?"
- "How much time/money/stress will you save if I can help you with [XYZ]?"
You can also share the results and testimonials from past clients you've helped to achieve similar results, to demonstrate the value of what you're charging.
4. Ask yourself: "Is this my ideal client?"
If not, let them know you might not be the best fit for them and recommend someone else that would be a better match.
If the person is your ideal client, you'll have to explain and show them the quality and value of your work with a bit more dialogue and a closer look at their actual requirements and what you can do to help them.
5. Ask what their budget is
If a client genuinely can't afford you (yet!), ask them what budget they have in mind. You can then offer a reduced solution to match their lower budget, if you want to. If their budget is too low, then politely tell them you're not a good fit right now. Be firm but nice and keep in touch with them - the situation may change further down the line.
Do you have a good response when someone says you're too expensive? I'd love to hear it!