© by Jonathan Goldhill
We’ve all heard about the law of reciprocity in business where you give something away for free and “maybe” people will be more inclined to buy something from you. While you may not be giving your services away for free, you may be inclined to keep cutting your prices because you want to endure yourself to clients. You think that if the client “likes you more” they’ll be more inclined to keep doing business with you or refer you other clients.
We all want to be liked, but when it comes to business it’s just as important to be respected. You may be liked a great deal, but if you don’t earn the respect of your customers, you may end doing a lot of work that never pays for itself. In the end you’re likely to be working more and resenting the free services that you’re providing. You could become a business doormat where people think they can get something for very little.
If you want clients to like you more then you need to focus less on being the “good guy that gives it all away” and more on providing outstanding services that clients have no problem paying for. You need to remind yourself that it’s not a matter of cost, it’s a matter of the value that people place on the services they are receiving.
If you’re feeling like you need to cut costs just to keep some clients happy then you need to ask yourself these two questions: 1) Am I servicing the wrong clients-if they can’t afford what I’m providing? 2) Are the services that I’m providing, not equal to what I’m advertising them to be?
It’s very important to make sure that the quality of your services stays equal to the prices that you’ve set. First you have to do your market research early on and decide what your services are worth. You need to also figure out what your time is worth in providing those services. Set your prices and stick to your prices. Until you’re entirely clear with yourself on knowing what those numbers are, you may always be giving some things away for nothing.
You can’t operate a business hoping that the people you’re dealing with will “do the right thing” and give something back when you give something for below cost. You’d be amazed how many people will take what your provide, feel they are entitled to it with no intention of “giving back”. Why should they? You’ve set yourself up to be the expert in what you’re providing. People believe that if you say something is only worth X amount of dollars, then they figure that’s what it was worth. Besides, you can’t give your client the job of score keeping. They never asked for this task. People are way too busy to remember that because you gave them a discount they need to provide you with a referral and stick with you. They have too many other things to think about.
It’s great if you help someone out from time to time-or give a client a discount on occasion because maybe they’ve just hit hard times. I’m simply asking you not to make a habit of shortchanging yourself because you’ve yet to believe in the absolute value of your work. I want you to be kind, fair and ethical with your clients, but also with yourself as a business owner.
Jonathan Goldhill is an Executive Business Coach in Los Angeles. He has been consulting, coaching and training small business owners for more than 20 years. He has worked with companies large and small to increase revenues and profits. To learn more please visit http://www.thegrowthcoachla.com/.