I heard a story recently about a guy who was walking past a hair salon that was promoting a hair restoration service. The guy was balding and interested in the service, so he walked in. When he inquired about the service, the receptionist’s initial response was “Oh, it’s really expensive.” Not that it was a great service, not that he would love it, not that it was revolutionary. It was expensive. He promptly left, and the salon lost a customer.
See, the price tag was important to the receptionist. She believed the service was expensive and assumed the customer was going to balk at the price. She didn’t give him the benefit of the doubt and lost the sale before the customer could say anything. She shut it down for her own reasons, not the customer’s.
When you’re in the business of sales, which anyone who has a business is, you cannot make assumptions on what a potential client will or will not pay. When your product solves a problem, people will pay. Your job is to find out how much.
I find people are often uncomfortable talking about or asking for money, even in sales situations. Remember that you are running a business, not a charity. Offering free or discounted services to potential clients only guarantees that an expectation is set to continue to work for free or discounted rates — not that a client is going to come back because you did outstanding work for them.
There is always going to be a delicate balance between charging what you’re worth and charging what a client will pay. BUT the secret is to have that discussion internally and with the client before you make a decision on what to charge. Get an idea of what their budget and expectations are before you offer discounts. Don’t leave money on the table because you assume a client won’t want to pay your rates.
The post originally appeared on Imagine Communications’ blog.