By Denise M. Michaels
Other people charge a lot more for what you do, but for some reason you can’t bring yourself to up your fees. You’ve seen their fee breakdowns on their websites and ruefully thought, “How can they get away with charging $XXXX when I charge only $XXX?”
Many years ago a client who was a Management Consultant talked bitterly to me about, “…Those men aren’t as good as I am, but they charge double!”
She thought she’d find a soul sister in me. Someone who’d lament and empathize right along with her. I’ll give you and hug, we’ll have a glass of wine together and moan about how awful it is. She was stunned when I replied, “You’re the one with the problem – not them.”
“Because you charge half as much you’re perceived in your market niche as being half as good. Who wants to throw away money on a Consultant perceived as only half as good?”
She bolted up straight, clearly annoyed. “But I do it because I want to be nice. I’m building up my reputation.”
“How long have you been doing this?”
“Fifteen years,” she replied sheepishly. She quickly added she had an MBA and a Ph.D. in Organizational Development, too.
“Oh puh-leeeez!” I said with a sigh. “When will you grow up and get a pair?”
I giggled. No one will offer her more money until she claims it first. “Your fees won’t increase until you take a deep breath and do it yourself. Queen Elizabeth won’t tap you on both shoulders with a big sword and say, ‘I now dub thee worthy of $XXXX and not $XXX anymore.'”
I explained to her there’s a market price anything will go for and that’s what the market will bear. It’s basic economics. Doesn’t matter if it’s a house, a car a consultant or a piece of jewelry.
Charge less and you’re perceived as worth less. If you charge more and bring all the goods and professionalism you’ll be perceived as being worth more. After all, if God forbid you got arrested for something would you want to hire the cheapest attorney in town? Would you entrust the cheapest tax person to handle your taxes?
Yes, there’s validity to the idea if you’re new at what you do, you need to build up your reputation. However, some people go for decades without raising their fees because they’re afraid.
Here’s how it works: once you reach a point where you have a full roster of clients its time to start raising your fees on new ones. You’re in demand. You deserve to charge more. Then, once you have enough clients at your new rates, it makes sense to tell your old clients it’s time to up the ante. Everyone else is paying $XXX rather than $XX.
The shocking fact is when I’ve given this advice and clients follow it, their clients usually reply with, “Well, I’ve known it was coming. You’re worth it. You deserve more.” Net result? No loss of clients but a nice increase in income for no additional work.
What’s another great way to become in demand? Author a book.
Yes, with all the sweeping changes of the last decade it still makes sense to become a book author which makes you perceived as a top, influential, recognized expert. Remember, the person who brings the goods and the professionalism is the one who’s perceived to charge the most – and also be seen as 100 percent worth it.
When you notice others charge much more than you, instead of feeling jealous, resentful or have a pity party, say, “That’s great. Clearly the market will bear that fee because others are getting it, right? That’s my new goal. How can I position myself and bring the goods to be worth it?”
A huge step in that direction is to author a book – and I can help you.
Denise M. Michaels is a ghostwriter and book coach. She helps CEOs, entrepreneurs, therapists, speakers and aspiring authors become more recognizable and influential. Using the leverage a book provides you can become the go-to expert in your niche. Contact her by clicking here now