Many service professionals are truly passionate about what they do and know that what they offer is valuable. So they are surprised and frustrated when others just don’t seem to “get it.” They have to low-ball their prices to get the business, and even then, they lose out.
That can really shake their confidence and self-esteem, and lead to a vicious cycle of sounding more and more desperate in their networking and sales conversations, and dropping their prices even further on bids and proposals.
What I’ve found works best for my business is something that I teach all of my clients: Pick the price you want to charge and then work on building up the value of your service to match it.But remember that value is in the eye of the beholder. You have to know what’s important to them and show that you can deliver it. If you’re having trouble getting prospects and potential networking partners to see the value of your service, ask yourself these 4 questions:
1) Are you filling a REAL NEED? One of the key reasons prospects don’t buy is they believe they’re just fine without you. The fact that you think otherwise is totally irrelevant. Your service must be positioned as a “need to have” not a “nice to have” for your target audience in their eyes. Consider their alternatives — especially doing nothing or doing it themselves — and talk about not just the benefits of working with you, but also the COSTS of NOT working with you.
2) Are you getting in front of the RIGHT PEOPLE? Let’s face it, you have to get out there and be visible in order to be seen by the right people. But random networking events and unstructured social media interactions are just a waste of time. You need to think strategically about who you want to interact with, go where they are and talk about what they’re interested in.
3) Are you there at the RIGHT TIME? Even when you meet exactly the right people, it might not be the right time for them to buy. For example, you might be an awesome event photographer, but if I’m not planning an event right now, you won’t get my attention. You need ways to keep in touch with your target audience so you can spot potential buying opportunities and also stay top of mind for referrals and recommendations.
4) Are you a TRUE EXPERT? At the end of the day, the perfect prospect who needs your service and is ready to buy still won’t buy from you because they don’t perceive you as the expert. They may see you as capable and credentialed, but unless they’re looking for the cheapest solution, they’re going to want the best. You need to lower their risk and uncertainty, especially if you’re selling a big ticket service. Sharing your knowledge through writing and speaking, so they can see that you understand their problems and know the solutions, is a way to get started. A more advanced strategy is to associate yourself with trusted brands through partnerships and collaborations.
The best time to make your case against these arguments is BEFORE you are in front of your ideal prospects. You want to build your value as a LEADER in your field so you stand out among everyone else who does what you do, and you want to be VISIBLE so you can be seen by as large an audience as possible.
© 2012, Liz Lynch International LLCWANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR NEWSLETTER, BLOG OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: “Liz Lynch, author of Smart Networking: Attract a Following In Person and Online, shows accomplished business professionals how to connect to the right people and attract the opportunities they deserve. To become a more visible leader in your organization or industry, visit www.LizLynchOnline.com.”