We all love client referrals, most would argue they’re the best way to gain new clients. The thing with client referrals is that they’re most likely talking to their friend about what they’re paying you and what services you provide for them.
In the last blog post, we discussed how to raise your rates. If you have one client who has been with you from the start and are only charging her $30/hour with the new rate increase and she tells her friend that’s what you’re charging her when your new rate is really $40/hour there are several ways to handle this situation.
Keep your prices as standard and fair as possible across the board.
When you decide your new hourly rate is $40/hour be sure to be pitching that number to all the new clients that come on board so that no one feels they’re being cheated.
If you get a referral who asks about your price increase, explain why.
It’s natural to increase your prices as you grow in your business. With higher demand and more knowledge, you can charge more. You also always want to charge a rate that feels good to you. If you have a potential client who is questioning your rate because her friend (your client) has a lower rate, simply explain why you had your increase. It could be that you’ve been working with her friend for X months/years and since then you’ve increased your rates. Or maybe it’s because you now have a new certification or hired a an expert onto your team that they can benefit from. Whatever the reason is, be honest with your potential client. The right client will understand.
Use your best judgment with the potential client if they’re not onboard (yet) with your current rates.
Some clients are worth lowering or adjusting your pricing slightly. If there’s a client who you’d LOVE to work with or maybe you know their business is growing really fast or they’re adding to their contract that you’ll do a 90 or 120-day review to increase your rate. There are scenarios where it’s okay to take a little decrease because of the potential it can bring.
What to do if your client says they talked to another one of your clients and they want the same pricing.
There are two ways I recommend handling this situation. One is that you explain why they are different. No two clients are ever the same so you can explain the difference in workload, length of time working together, agreements -- only if you feel comfortable with a tangible reason. The second way to handle this is to let them know you don’t discuss another client or their projects/rates with other clients. It’s absolutely okay to shut that conversation down. Don't let anyone tell you how to run your business, that's why you started being an entrepreneur right??
The main thing to keep in mind with the above scenarios is that it is your business and you can run your business how you wish. Your ideal client won’t make you feel bad about your pricing structure and they’ll be happy to pay you what you’re worth.
Rotting for you,