I’d like to thank my clients for constantly giving me great material to blog about here. This week’s topic comes courtesy of a long-time client who is planning on announcing his price increase shortly to his beloved trusted customers. If you’ve never asked your clients for a raise, then it’s time to take a look at what’s stopping you. Here are some thoughts about all that and more:
What’s The Obstacle?
Fear. Plain, cold fear of losing the client. That’s what’s been stopping you and every other business owner since the start of time. There are a few ways to get over this fear. Mostly, it has to do with doing mind-set work around your worth, your confidence and your communication skills. Once you’ve made the decision to bite the bullet, here are some ways to ease you along.
Phone Before Email
I always find sticky subjects better left to in-person rather than the impersonal email, don’t you? So my big advice for my clients who need to broach this and every other uncomfortable subject is to do it on the phone or in person if possible. Then, incorporate all my following suggestions into your chat.
Instead, explain. You have every right to charge whatever you want. You don’t have to feel or say sorry about it. Not once. What you do have to do is to explain it. You can choose to explain it in general terms ‘to better serve you’ to more specific ones ‘to improve quality in x way, due to the purchase of this y new system or equipment etc.’
If you drone on, in person or on email, you will look apologetic and defensive. You are not asking for permission. You are simply letting them know what’s happening. What they do with that information is their business. Writing pages of copy or waxing poetic about it at length won’t make it any easier for either party.
Once you’ve let the cat out of the bag in person or on the phone, follow up with a brief email outlining the changes and related details. While doing that, remember to keep a casual tone and to be conversational. Just as if you were still talking to them in person. It will go a long way into allowing the client to feel better cared for.
Incorporate Into Other Positive News
If you start the conversation by updating the client on a new win you got them, it sets them up for a positive flow. Then, you can simply continue on to say that you’ll be getting them this type of result more often because of an upcoming change in your prices, which will enable you to do x (read back to the explanation part.). Positive always begets positive.
Give Them A Time-Limited Break
Telling your clients that they’ll be getting a month or so break from the new higher pricing while everyone else is subjected to the new one will set them up to feel special. Your preferential treatment speaks volumes about how much they mean to you and your business.
Give as much notice as you can because nobody likes change. And nobody likes to pay more. But when good clients who have gotten good work from you see a reasonably outlined need for an increase, they will gladly agree to it.
For myself, when I’m happy with a vendor’s work and they tell me that they’ll be increasing their prices, I don’t bat an eye. I just thank them for their work and congratulate them on upleveling their game. If I’m not happy with the vendor however, I will fully take this opportunity to review their work and start looking elsewhere.
That’s just the hard truth. So be prepared for unhappy clients to walk. Isn’t it better all around that way anyway?