There’s one question that every business owner, no matter how seasoned, has to grapple with:
If you’re like most of the one-on-one service providers I work with, your goal is to charge premium prices for your offers.
Which makes sense.
Because when people pay a premium to work with you, it brings with it so many of things you want…
… Validation that you’re an expert in your field.
… High-caliber clients who are ready and willing to invest in themselves.
… The ability to replace (and surpass) your previous job income.
This is exactly what I want for you, too. But… (You knew that was coming, right?)
It’s NOT as straightforward as you think. In fact, jacking up your rates could totally backfire on you—and not for the reasons you might believe.
Many people jump to premium pricing too fast, and it dramatically slows down their business—or worse, brings it to a screeching halt.
Suddenly, nothing is selling. Or only their smaller, less expensive packages garner interest.
They want to know, “What gives?”
To them, it feels like a big mystery, but I see exactly what’s going on.
If you don’t raise your rates the right way, clients will balk at your prices, your offers won’t gain momentum, and you’ll be left worrying about your dwindling bank account.
So if you’ve been told to charge premium prices but it’s not working for you, OR if you want to charge more without having it immediately backfire, keep reading.
I’ll tell you what needs to happen so you make the leap successfully.
You must know this: It’s not about mindset
Before I tell you the reasons charging premium prices isn’t working for you and how to fix it, I have to address the biggest myth about premium pricing I see out there:
Too many women get sucked into the idea that “it’s all about the money mindset.”
Don’t get me wrong; I’m a HUGE believer in the importance of getting your head right.
But the truth is, charging premium prices isn’t about having the right mindset, per se.
Instead, seeing the real reasons things aren’t working—and knowing how to turn them around—can often unstick the issue of pricing altogether.
Your head is automatically in line.
Then, BAM! Just by doing the practical work, you’ve got your mindset right.
(I love when it’s “that easy.” ← That’s what my clients say once I walk them through the process for raising their rates the right way.)
The problem with premium prices
Charging premium prices is a great goal to work toward.
With most of my clients, there comes a time when I gently nudge them (or overtly push them!) to take their offers to the next level and charge appropriately.
But successfully making the leap to premium pricing requires the right combination of timing, experience, and skills—all implemented in just the right way.
Do it the wrong way at the wrong time and it hurts your business.
That’s why I’m sharing the most popular reasons charging premium rates could backfire on you AND how to work your way to a place where you can confidently charge more for your offers.Click to TweetMany 1-1 service providers charge premium prices too soon and it completely backfires. Jenny Shih shows you how to raise your rates the right way.
Reason #1: You don’t have enough experience working with clients or haven’t delivered strong enough results (yet)
Premium prices are appropriate when you can provide premium results. If you’ve only worked with a handful of paying clients or a few people for free, you’re not ready to charge premium prices.Click to TweetPremium prices are appropriate when you can provide premium results.
Fix-It Tip #1: Keep honing your skills and gaining more experience working with clients. The math is pretty simple: The more people you work with, the better you’ll be at what you do, the better results your clients will get, and the more you’ll easily be able to charge higher rates.
Reason #2: You don’t write strong enough copy
If you’re stuck in the Jargon Trap and people don’t understand what you do, they won’t hire you!
And if you’re not able to communicate your value or the results you help clients achieve, prospects won’t connect the dots between what you offer and what you charge.
You must know how to articulate who and how you help, no exceptions.
Fix-It Tip #2: Use your clients’ language to prove your value. Ask yourself, “Would my clients use those exact words?” If the answer is no, rewrite your copy so that it reflects what your clients would actually say.
Also, remember to focus on the benefits of what you sell, rather than the process itself. Your clients are paying for results, so be sure you spell those out clearly, in a way your prospects would understand.
Reason #3: You’re still comparing yourself to everyone else and not setting the vision and following the course for YOU and YOUR biz
Adjusting your packages or raising your prices to match your peers or competitors isn’t a smart business move. Instead of charting your own course, you’re trying to fit yourself into a business model that doesn’t reflect your skills.
Fix-It Tip #3: Stop snooping around your competitors’ websites! Stay on your side of the fence, and continue to refine your skills and offers.
Once you’ve proven that you deliver great results and you can confidently communicate those results, you’ll be able to raise your rates without batting an eye.
Reason #4: You aren’t stepping into an expert or leadership role with your clients
This is a mistake that many business owners—new and experienced—make all the time. Simply put, their offers are freeform and lack a clear structure.
This happens when you and the client haven’t established a clear goal or objective for your work together, and you, as the expert, haven’t set a solid course to achieve that goal.
Instead, you’re showing up to talk about whatever the client needs that day, which is like letting them lead instead of you stepping up as the leader in the relationship.
It’s your job as a premium service provider to chart the course and keep your client on track to reaching her goals. This is how you ensure they reach their goals and get stellar results.
Fix-It Tip #4: Make sure your work with your clients has a defined structure, so you and your client clearly understand the goal in working together and how you’re going to achieve that goal.
You should be able to say, “In X months, you’ll have accomplished [this result], and here’s how I’m going to get you there…”
Reason #5: Your materials aren’t top-notch
Wanting to keep costs down in your business is understandable, but nothing screams amateur like poorly designed worksheets sprinkled with typos.
Put yourself in your clients’ shoes. Can you imagine paying premium prices for sub-par materials?
Fix-It Tip #5: Your first inclination might be to hire a professional editor or designer to make your materials stand out above the rest. That’s one option, but it’s not a requirement.
Simply taking extra time to make your materials clean, clear, professional-looking, and typo-free can go a long way to proving your worth. The materials you provide to clients are part of their overall experience with you. Set a high standard for your materials even if you do it yourself.
(FYI, I did my client docs myself for years in a simple word processor. It’s a totally legit way to go, as long as you keep them clean and pro.)
Reason #6: You don’t have sales skills
There’s nothing worse than being on the phone with a prospective client and feeling your heart sink when they say they can’t afford to work with you.
Fix-It Tip #6: Learn how to speak effectively about what you do and have a track record of converting consults into clients. Create a systemized consultation process, including a method for following up with warm leads.
Here’s the good news: My friend Kendrick Shope taught me that 90% of the time, it’s not that they can’t afford you; it’s that YOU haven’t proven that you’ll get them the results that are in line with what you’re charging.
So if you work on those consult skills, you can massively increase your chances of selling at higher prices.
Reason #7: You’re worrying about “what people will pay”
Back away from the calculator.
When you play the guessing game and try to figure out what people will pay, you’re doing yourself and your clients a HUGE disservice.
What your clients do with their money isn’t your business, and you’ll never be able to guess what they can or can’t afford.
Plus, look back at #4, and remember, it’s not usually about the price! Most people are using “I can’t afford it” as an easy out instead of saying “I don’t believe the value of your offer.”Click to TweetThinking about raising your rates? Most prospects will say “I can’t afford it” instead of saying “I don’t believe the value of your offer.”
Fix-It Tip #7: Your priority should be on the awesome results you can promise to your clients; then you can determine what those results are worth.
Combine that with great copywriting, killer sales skills, and everything else I’m sharing here because once you have the right combination dialed in, people will pay!
The right time to charge premium prices
This post isn’t meant to discourage you from charging premium pricing. Just the opposite!
Charging premium prices is a natural part of scaling your business, and more than anything, I want you to be successful when you make the jump.
If you can confidently say that you don’t make any of the mistakes listed above, please please please, raise your rates ASAP. (Here’s how to tell your clients you’re doing so. And here’s how to double your rates with integrity.)
However, if you’re just starting out, I hope it relieves you to know that you don’t have to charge premium prices right now, no matter what the other business coaches are telling you.
Plus, remember Kim’s story where she said that shooting too high was actually holding her back. Don’t let that be you.
So if you’re just starting out or don’t feel ready to charge high prices for big packages, begin by creating a bite-size offer at an entry-level price that allows people to get to know your services (and allows you to refine your skills).
It’s what I have most of my MIWO clients do, as it builds their confidence, gives them practice delivering stellar results to clients, and helps them strengthen their copywriting and sales skills without feeling any pressure to justify high prices.
Where do your prices stand?
I’d love to hear about your wins and challenges when it comes to pricing your offers.
How do you feel about your current rates?
Have you ever raised your prices? How did it go?
What questions do you have about your prices?
Leave a comment below and ask questions if you have them. I truly love nothing more than coaching you to take action and build a thriving business!