If you’re a consultant, expert or provide another type of service, you may be wondering if you should reduce your price to acquire new customers. Here's why it’s a bad strategy and what you should be doing instead.
1. Price is Only Part of the Customer Equation
Price isn’t a customer’s first thought. There’s a lot going on in their minds before they get to that question. Although it may seem like price is their first concern, these come before:
Imagining what your prospect is wondering about gives you the opportunity to make the case for your services before getting to the pricing question, “Can I afford it?” It will come up, but the question of price only becomes relevant when they’re considering making the purchase. People will pay if they believe you’re worth it, so use the right language to communicate that you are aware of their need, problem or pain. Then, make your pitch.
2. You’re Going After the Wrong Customers
If your fee is a prospect’s only worry, you may be targeting the wrong market. If the discount is the only reason they hired you, you’ve cheapened yourself and you’ll end up with cheap customers who will always battle for low prices.
3. You Shouldn’t Earn Less than You’re Worth
If you set your price at a certain amount, there should have been a reason for it. If you think you’re worth less, then you should be setting your price lower. Hopefully you’ve done your pricing research before this point — that is, looked into what competitors are charging or at least found out what’s typical for your industry. If you don’t think you’re worth that much, then you should be charging a lower price. If that’s not profitable, then you need to revisit your business model.
5. Price is Only One Aspect of Marketing
Starting with the right product for the right market is where success begins. One way to do that is to avoid selling naked services at an hourly rate. Instead, create a suite of bundled services, a package with a high perceived value so customers feel they’re getting a good deal. Design it to meet a specific customer need with clearly defined benefits, and offer it at a flat and profitable price.
6. Price is Not a Differentiator
When asked this question, “Why should I buy from you?,” your answer shouldn’t be “Because I’ve got the lowest price.” It should be, “I’m the only one that does X” or “I’m faster or better.” Carving out a differentiated space defends you against competition and may allow you to charge a higher price than the norm, rather than a discounted one.
7. Your Problem is Lack of Awareness, Not Price
Setting a low or discounted price is only something you do once people know what you can do for them. It’s not the way to let people know you exist. You can generate awareness and leads through a combination of search engine optimization (SEO) and search marketing, advertising, public relations, content marketing and social media to drive traffic to your website.
8. You’ll Lose the Price War
Trying to compete by offering discounts is a downward spiral, a game of how low can you go. You probably don’t have pockets deep enough to outbid your competition.
9. You Get What You Pay For
It’s difficult to make apples to apples comparisons between service providers, so people use price as one indicator of quality. Setting your price too low or discounted could raise eyebrows.
10. Before Closing the Deal with a Discount, Consider This
There are many ways to get closer to the deal, way before you need to sweeten it with a discount. Consider offering something that doesn’t cost you anything — like a free ebook. Or even a free first :30 phone call — something you may need to do anyway to vet out a prospect. This will give you another opportunity to convince them that you’re the best choice and worth the price.
When a Discount May Make Sense
With so many ways to market yourself, reducing your normal price should be the last on your list. However, there are times when you may want to use discounts:
Related article: Coupons for Marketing: Pros, Cons and Tips
Have you used discounts to acquire new customers? Did it work? Backfire? Share your experience with us.
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