Marketing Smarter to Earn More
by Charlie Cook
An accountant once told me that he never met anyone who
didn't want to make 30% more money. Whether you want
a better lifestyle or to take more vacations, buy a fancy
car, spend more time with your family, send your children
to college or to give it all away, you could always use
If you sell services, your primary limitations on earnings
are your costs and the number of hours in a week. Most
independent professionals are already working well over
40 hours a week and can't work longer hours to increase
earnings. Your goal should be to find ways to work less
and increase your earnings. How can you market smarter
and make more money?
DON'T DISCOUNT YOUR SERVICES
Have you ever heard of a lawyer or carpenter offering a
20% discount on their hourly or daily rate? Every time you
offer a discount or reduce your regular rates, you are
sending a message to prospects that your services really
aren't worth what you're asking.
Once your clients know that your prices are discounted or
negotiable, you will always be fighting a battle to be the
paid full price for your work. Never offer discounts; your
clients will assume that they are expected to pay the asking
price for your services.
OVERCOME OBJECTIONS TO PRICE
Prospects invariably want to know your pricing before they
understand the benefits your products and services provide.
Quoting prices is meaningless until prospects can put the
cost into the context of the results they can expect.
When prospects show concern about your pricing, it's a good
sign. It indicates their interest in buying your services
and a need to understand the value you provide. You could
list all the benefits of your services but if you really
want to make the sale, it's far more effective to let
prospects sell themselves.
A client's perception of value isn't based on how much they
pay, but on whether their expectations will be met and the
benefit they will receive. Don't get stuck on the dollars
you charge per hour. Instead help prospects define the
dollar benefit of your services.
When prospects query you on price, respond by asking
questions to help them identify for themselves the
problem they want solved, the cost of the problem,
the solution they need, and how you can help them.
Prospects buy when they think their expectations will
be met. Let them define their expectations and they'll
be far more likely to sell themselves when you finally
explain your pricing at the end of the conversation.
POSITION YOURSELF AS AN EXPERT
Differentiate yourself from your competition by using your
articles to regularly provide insight and ideas to your
prospects and clients so they come to view you as an
expert in your field. Use expert positioning and consider
raising your prices.
When Arnold Schwarzenegger first arrived in the U.S. he
had trouble getting work as a stonemason with his funny
accent, despite charging less than his competitors. A friend
suggested he set his prices above the competition and bill
himself and his partner as exclusive European masons. His
business took off and look where he is now!
AVOID HOURLY FEES
Unless you sell hour-long massages, charging by the hour is
the best way to limit your earning potential. When you charge
by the hour you lose money if you work efficiently or if you
get a great idea right away. Prospects can always negotiate
with you on the number of hours they want, undermining
your ability to put in the time needed to meet their
Prospects want results. Help them clarify the results they
want and then set a project fee for accomplishing those
results. Make sure your contract or letter of agreement
allows you to adjust your price if the project changes
USE VALUE BASED PRICING
You can pay $30 or over $5,000 a night for a motel or hotel
room. Both provide a roof over your head, a bed and your
own bathroom, so why do some people pay over 150 times
more for one than the other?
People buy based on their perception of the value provided.
If they understand the value that your service or product
provides, they may be willing to pay much, much more than
you are currently charging. Look at the results you provide
for clients and reassess your pricing.
LEVERAGE YOUR TIME AND MONEY
Like most service professionals you have limited time and
money to spend on marketing. Much of your time is spent
delivering services. Is your marketing helping you earn
more? Do prospects understand the unique value you provide?
If not, take a look at the way you are positioning your firm
and adjust it to clarify your value to clients.
Are you making what you could be? If you apply even one or
two of the above strategies, you'll be making more money
than you are now without working any harder. You'll probably
still wish you had 30% more.
2003 © In Mind Communications, LLC. All rights reserved.
The author, Marketing Coach, Charlie Cook, helps independent
professionals and small business owners attract more clients
and increase their earnings with the 5 Principles of Highly
Effective Marketing. Sign up for the Free Marketing Guide and
the 'More Business' newsletter, full of practical marketing
tips at http://www.charliecook.net
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