“Charge what you’re worth.”
I’ve been hearing this mantra more and more and I’m sure you have as well.
It sounds like a good idea, in theory, and I’m certainly a proponent of people confidently charging based on skills, expertise and results they help their clients obtain.
However, I’m not a fan of the idea of “charging what you’re worth.”
I would argue that the entire idea is inherently flawed. In fact, are there are three specific problems with the mantra:
1. It’s not about you.
Determining what to charge is not about you, it’s about your customers. In fact, if no one was interested in investing in your services, they would have no real value.
Think about it, if there was absolutely no one willing to pay for a service, is it worth anything? If there was no one willing to purchase a house at its listed price, is it really worth that value?
Charging what you’re worth is flawed because it implies that your prices are dependent upon your own self-worth when the truth is that you, as a human, are priceless.
But the real bottom line is that clients aren’t concerned about your self-worth. They are focused on what’s in it for them and your self-worth isn’t one of their problems!
2. Your self-worth is constantly fluctuating.
Self-worth is psychological and should not be confused with a grounded pricing strategy for your services.
You may notice that your self-worth is at times fragile and constantly fluctuating depending on your mood, how rested you are, the time of day, your stress levels, the quantity and quality of clients you’re serving, and the balance on your bank account. The list goes on and on.
Women are particularly prone to undervaluing themselves and second-guessing the value they provide in business which means that their self-worth can be all over the place on a day-by-day (and even hourly!) basis, especially in the early years in their businesses.
If you base your pricing upon your own self-worth your prices will be constantly up and down (and probably more down than up!). I actually know this to be the case for many service providers. Their pricing structures are all over the place and it’s nearly impossible for them to achieve their income goals. If you find yourself constantly changing your fees, the chances are you’re linking them to your own self-worth rather than the true value of your services.
3. You cannot put a price tag on your value.
You possess a unique combination of experience, skills, training, insights and capabilities that no one else has. How could you possibly break that down and put a dollar amount to it?
The reality is that value is perceived by the customer and what she is willing to pay for the results you can help her achieve. You have no idea how many years she has been struggling to find this solution and what emotional, psychological or spiritual factors could be in play. You have no idea how far reaching the problem is in her life and her business.
Only she can decide what your services are worth and what she would be willing to pay to overcome the obstacles she’s facing and find a resolution.
So how do you decide what to charge?
Establishing the real value of your services and your pricing structure involves a process of asking the potential client key questions in order to understand their goals, the impact of them not solving their problems and the value of working with you to solve these problems. The answers to these questions will not only help you determine what to charge, but it will also help the prospect understand the true value of working with you and allow you to address all objections.
While you may know your ideal customer well and understand his or her pain points, it’s this exploratory session that will allow you position the value of your services in the prospect’s mind and long before you ever start the conversation about how much you charge.
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