Click here to subscribe in iTunes; or, listen to the audio version below:
A coaching client recently asked me to help him increase his prices – ideally, without losing any of his current clients. During the past couple of weeks, I received about half a dozen requests from readers seeking similar advice. Obviously, this is a high-interest topic. Must be that time of year!
Raising your prices with prospective new clients is fairly easy. You just do it. In most cases, they won’t be aware that you used to charge less.
But increasing your prices with a current client is a bit more tricky. You want – and probably deserve – to earn more for your services. Yet, you don’t want the client to balk and start looking somewhere else.
So what’s the best way to go about it? Here are some ideas.
1. Don’t make a big deal out of it.
You don’t have to write a long email to clients explaining that you haven’t had a price increase in five years. (Poor you). You don’t have to justify it, apologize for it, or ask permission to do it.
Just let your clients know that your price will go up by x amount on such and such a date.
Your clients are used to occasional price increases by their suppliers and vendors. Chances are, they’re not going to be that surprised or perturbed by a reasonable bump in your rates – especially if you give them a few months notice.
And speaking of notice…
2. Give your clients lots of notice.
A price increase is easier to swallow if it’s a few months away. Besides, your clients may have integrated your fee into budgets that have already been approved. If you hit them with an increase tomorrow, that may cause problems for them.
So plan ahead.
I suggest you give clients at least three months notice.
In addition, consider giving some an extension. If you plan to raise your fee from $1,000 to $1,200 on September 1st, for example, tell your best clients that you’ll keep their rates as is until January 1st – just because they’re such a valued client.
You should treat your best clients like gold anyway. This is just another way to do that.
3. Add more value.
Take a close look at the service you provide. Are there some simple ways you can improve it, so that you’re delivering more value to clients? If so, then you’ll have few, if any, problems charging more.
Say, for example, you offer a case study development service. Case studies are typically formatted as a 700-1000 word feature article. But that’s not the only way companies use case studies. What if you also included with your “case study package” a one page summary for salespeople to use? Plus a press release version? Plus a transcript of the customer interview, with good testimonial material highlighted?
That would add up to a lot of extra value for the client. Yet, only a bit more work for you.
So those are just some ways to raise your price without losing clients. Let me know if they help.
Keep in mind, however, that whenever you raise your rates, there’s always a risk that some clients may no longer be able to afford you. But is that such a bad thing? Losing a client – even a low-paying one – may hurt in the short term. But it does leave room for you to find a better, higher-paying client to fill that space.