You can agree “women in business” is no longer an oxymoron. Thanks to the advancement of technology coupled with economic and societal changes more women are becoming creators of their own companies.
I’ve had the privilege to communicate with extraordinary women in the financial industry to technology to small business owners. Their success is not based on preset sales scripts to achieve their professional goals. Their driving force behind their success boils down to adaptation.
I would like to bring your attention to a specific question. When it’s about your business, why would you offer lower fees for your services? I’m sure you’ve noticed women who are successful in business don’t set their fees below market value. Even if it’s a new client you are looking to gain, your price should be set based on what buyers are willing to pay for your type of services if they were to go elsewhere (your competition) and the value and return you will bring to your client.
I asked a simple question on a LinkedIn group of professional women to get some of their feedback. The question was “Do you think lowering your business fees for a client is worth it?” Many of them didn’t think you should lower your fees. The consensus of the group including myself was you’ll end up with more of a headache with clients who will pay below market value and expect you to do more for them.
Don’t make a practice out of it.
A repeated piece of advice that stood out to me was don’t make a practice out of it. Basically, if you have to lower your fees, know “why” you are lowering them. Are you looking to gain a foot in the door with your client? What are the boundaries you’ll set to make sure you will not be taken advantage of in the future?
Starting a business is an obstacle in itself. It’s important to research your industry. Some business owners may be leaving money on the table. For example, if you have a consulting business where you charge $100 per hour and your competition is charging $200 per hour, then why are you charging $100 per hour? Maybe you are concerned with losing clients? Have you evaluated those clients? How much of your time are they taking from you? You may lose the clients that demanded too much of your time and gain new clients that are willing and prepared to pay $200 per hour.
Learn to bring value to the cost of your business services.
Many clients can see the value in your services. The clients who are ready to take on your services will pay to do business with you. Understanding and recognising your client’s needs are imperative.
Clients will have an expectation from you just as you would have an expectation if you were the client. Many of you are clients and business owners. Some of you hire other companies to handle other components of your business, thus, you are client. Check out what the competition is willing to offer. You may be able to offer one or two more services to include in your price. If you do decide to discount your services, then understand your client’s needs, first. You could possibly offer fewer services for the price you offer based on what your client would need to have accomplished. This way you won’t devalue your services, rather you’re adapting to changes within your business parameters.
Set the expectation. You are in control.
If you are not in control by setting up the expectation and boundaries, you will be on the losing end of the deal. You don’t need to obsess over the pricing of your services, but you do need to know how to gauge a conversation with a client with probing questions. These are open-ended questions that lead to the client expressing their thoughts, opinions, or concerns. It’s a good idea to find out what’s been their previous experience like with a competitor, why they are seeking out your services, what they are looking to accomplish, and what they can expect from you.
The tendency seems to be that women more than men fall into the “empathy trap.” It’s a trap where women understand what their clients are going through but giveaway there services for less than the market will pay. It’s great to empathize with people but it’s not a reason to lower fees, even if you are just starting out.
Do you think lowering your business fees for a client is worth it?