A reader asked:
“We often hear that we only commit to things we pay a dear price for. Today a coach tried to sell me a £20k program to work with him 1-o-1, weekly sessions for a year. And he justifies the price with the need to commit: if you pay for a cheap service you won't be so likely to commit to change.
As a healer, I wonder if selling high price packages might actually help my clients stick with my healing programs instead of being distracted by the next thing they find online.
I remember you talked about self worth and money, but not sure about the relation between money we pay and commitment.”
This is a great question, and as you study business, you will encounter this kind of advice: charging higher rates so that clients take it seriously.
Let me share my own experience, and what I recommend instead....
10 years ago when I started my business, I blindly followed the advice of business experts, so I sold $2,000 group programs. Yes, these were not 1-1, but large group programs that were completely online, for $2,000 per ticket!
Of course, it was very profitable for me, and I justified it by saying: The buyers will take it seriously.
What really happened? Many of the buyers still didn’t take the work seriously, or gave up too quickly and moved onto other shiny programs.
As a result, a guilty conscience formed within in: "I’m taking all this money from people, without seeing them really receive the value."
I would have much more preferred that they thoroughly used my program, and received more value than they paid.
What I’ve learned is that people will put in the right effort when they are the right clients, not because you charged more money. An interesting example: some of my most dedicated clients even carefully study and implement my $5 books!
When it comes to setting fees, I recommend keeping it simple: charge your fees based on enoughness and compassion.
Of course, higher rates will make people think twice, and take more time to weigh the buying decision. But I’ve also found that higher fees decrease inquiries. Try it out for yourself: raise your fees and see whether you get more or fewer clients?
Also, higher fees will make clients feel continuously bad, if they are not matching their efforts with how much they are paying. Is that really how we wish to motivate our clients? By making them feel bad so that they’ll take action?
Being thoughtful, we will instead look for positive ways to get clients to take action. Here are some top motivational methods. Consider how you can adapt those to working with your own clients.
The high-priced coaches need to justify (to themselves and to you) their own ridiculously high rates. They say that it’s really for your good that you pay them so much. C’mon now. You don’t need to emulate their ways.
If you’re not finding enough motivated clients, the issue is not pricing, but marketing. If you do enough authentic marketing, you’ll find enough of the right people.
You might also think about whether or not it's really your job to motivate your clients, or should it be another coach's job? Maybe your client should be working with you for your expertise, while also having a life coach to keep them accountable for the changes they need to make. Such partnerships can be wonderful.
1. Use more honest motivational methods with your clients, or refer them to a life coach for that part of the work.
2. Set your fees based on enoughness and compassion.
3. Do enough marketing! See your marketing as part of your personal development and contribution to the world… not just for getting clients.
I welcome your questions.
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
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