One of the biggest challenges with service businesses is that we can be too nice and all too often that “too nice” behaviour severely impacts our bottom line.
Are you “too nice”?
Can you think of times when you’ve agreed to things that weren’t ideal but you did it because you convinced yourself it was the right thing to do to win the work?
The thing is there’s a good chance that whatever it was you agreed to didn’t have to result in you loosing out, but it happened because you didn’t feel you could stand your ground.
For example, when a client rings up with a last minute job. You agree to do it and work very late to get it done, but you charge your normal fee.
Have you done that?
Why? Why didn’t you feel you could charge a premium? In that example the client is in major pain so is highly likely to agree to an increase fee which is only fair as you need to work outside normal hours, or at a minimum you have to prioritise it over other work, to complete it.
Business owners make those kind of decision day in day out and it significantly dents their bottom line.
How do I change that behaviour?
This behaviour comes from a place of “I’m not worthy” or “I don’t feel I can charge more than X” or “it’s not normal to charge extra for quick turn around” and so on.
Those are all limiting beliefs which are robbing your business, and therefore you, of the revenue and profit you deserve to earn.
Here’s my 4 steps to changing that behaviour:
- Write down all the areas where you know this is happening to you/your business eg
- last minute requests being delivered at your usual rate
- agreeing to additional scope without changing the price or delivery timeframe
- charging less than you know you are worth
- convincing yourself that you can’t charge more than £Y
- Against each area you’ve written down in step 1 work out what you wish you could do instead, eg what additional fee should be applied to last minute requests.
- Decide whether you are brave enough to implement step 2 straight away or whether you need to phase it in a bit with an improvement towards the new fee structure to gain some confidence with it first.
- Do it!
Are you brave enough?
Numerous of my clients have decided to be braver with their client management in the last few months since I showed them the problems it was causing.
Here’s some of their examples which will show you it is entirely possible to be brave and earn what you deserve.
- Web development company: they had planned for some client work to be commenced on a set date which had been communicated and agreed with the client. The client then started slipping. Normally my client would have sucked up the slippage (so basically they would have lost revenue in that month and had idyll time) but this time they pointed out the issue to their client who sorted themselves out and got the info to my client on time for them to deliver as planned. Result: no lost revenue or profit.
- Copywriter delivering training: the copywriter delivered training as an associate for another company. Their fees had been at the same level for years but they were concerned they would lose the work if they put their fees up. Decided enough was enough so requested to increase the fees and it was agreed with no negotiation!
- Marketing agency: they have one particular long standing client on a monthly retainer. My client had a tendency to agree to extra scope without asking for more money. This time they stood their ground when a request for additional scope came in and their client agreed to pay for it without negotiation.
- Another web development company: My client had a last minute request for a rush job which would require them to work over the weekend to get it done. Normally my client would have priced it at their usual rate but this time they increased their fees and insisted on 50% payment before starting (normally they waive that on rush jobs). Their client agreed without negotiating.
What could you achieve if you were braver with how you manage your clients?
How much money are you throwing away because you aren’t valuing your time enough?
How much money are you leaving on the table because you simply aren’t asking for it?
Time to step it up. Be brave. Get the fees you deserve!