Charging what you’re worth doesn’t always make sense? How can that be? Sandra Martini’s article on this really fails across the board because it doesn’t come from the right angle. In fact, it’s so wrong that it’s scary. Her message tells you to adjust your rate when a client complains, when it should be the service adjusted.
This article is not to attack anyone, but to address this problem from the correct angle.
Charge What You’re Worth And Deliver An Excellent Experience
If you are charging someone what your rate is, and they are complaining, are you paying attention to what your client is disgruntled about? It could be more along the lines that you failed to deliver a satisfactory service to your client.
If you deliver on what you said you would, then people will pay the price in order to get great service. Charge what you’re worth and deliver an excellent experience. If the client complains, address the situation and make it better, or refund them for what hasn’t been done.
The author begins the post stating that you have the skills and are billing at the rate you’re worth.
Then she goes on to say that you leave your client underwhelmed because the experience you delivered didn’t match the billing rate.
Guess what? If the experience you deliver doesn’t match the billing rate… YOU’RE NOT WORTH the billing rate UNTIL YOU IMPROVE the experience.
In this article, there isn’t anything wrong with the billing rate… but there’s obviously something wrong with the experience the individual is delivering.
Rather than coaching the business owner to improve the experience (which is what they SHOULD be doing), the author takes the angle that the billing rate is the problem.
And this is why so many business owners will stay broke.
Beware of bad advice.
The following is a simple example. It hasn’t happened to me, but it does illustrate the issue.
It’s like McDonalds having created a new hamburger meal that had some awesome secret sauce and a few more tasty ingredients, and was priced two dollars more than other combination meals. I go and buy it at the price they charge, but my meal was missing essential ingredients that had been originally advertised. Then, when I asked for a manager to make a complaint, the manager did not correct the problem.
Let’s also add in the fact that I’m also a loyal customer who usually buys other combination meals, and never had a problem. Of course, the other meals I’ve bought were cheaper, but I got what I paid for, and I was satisfied.
So, not only did I pay more for the meal, but I didn’t get what I paid for, and I got poor service.
Normally, McDonalds and other restaurants strive to correct the problem if the product is not as advertised or the service is poor. While McDonalds is a restaurant, and a big business, the same principles should be practiced on a small business basis too. It falls within the bounds of integrity.
When You’re New to Offering Services
If you’re new and just building your client portfolio, it’s understandable that your rates may be lower, and eventually you will increase with your experience. However, in order to increase that, you must be keeping your client experience more than satisfactory to justify such a change. It’s not necessary to offer more services. It’s necessary to office a solid and excellent experience, and then the client has nothing to complain about.
As a note, it’s probably ideal for you to follow-up with clients on occasion to ask for testimonials or ask them to do a survey on your services.
The Client’s Budget
Now, it’s different when there are people saying that you’re too expensive for them. It’s most likely because they don’t have the budget to afford you. It’s not because of your services, because really… they haven’t tried them yet. There will always be people looking to get a discount in any manner. If you lower your rate to meet their demand, someone is going to complain that “so- and- so got a discount, so why can’t I?” Also, you will get in the habit of continually lowering your rate.
It’s not your fault if they can’t afford you, and they will find someone who will meet their budgeting needs. You might feel bad when their project ends up looking like a badly done tattoo, but eventually they will get to a place in their own business to be able to afford better service, and consider you once again.
Side Note: I know, I’ve had this happen many times with clients over the years that couldn’t afford me in the beginning, but could later on.
As said earlier, charge what you’re worth and deliver an excellent experience. Don’t feel guilty about what you are charging. Just make sure you’re keeping the line of communication open with your client and keeping them happy.