“What is your rate?” they ask, and your response is …
There is no one-response-for-all. Products and services are totally different and different processes are involved. Although you can sell both, your response will be different with product selling than to professional services.
There is a difference between product selling or secretarial services, and rates for two-way continuous relationships. The latter is where you have clients who pay monthly for administrative support, in other words, retainer clients. The benefits should be for both parties, especially in long-term relationships. It is therefore unwise, and poor practices, to quote a rate without doing your homework.
There is basic information necessary to know about the client before you can understand what they require, what their goals are, their challenges, and what type of plan, solution, and administrative support you can offer to them.
“What’s your rate?”
If that is the first question a possible new client asks:
- They are possibly not good prospective clients, because they didn’t even look at your website; or
- Your website lacks the necessary information to properly inform and educate prospective clients. This is often more likely the reason than the first option.
If your website is lacking in providing the necessary information, prospective clients will resort to asking what your rates are. Lack of information places the prospect in a situation where they cannot evaluate your value.
Improve the information lack
If your website has the same information on it every other website has, then you can’t blame them for asking the pricing question first. You are running a business, and it’s your business. Stand out in the crowd by showing your uniqueness and the uniqueness of your business on your website. Make it your own, not another number to click on.
Give prospective clients and visitors to your website something to remember. Let them see you are a professional, you run a business, and you have the necessary expertise they need.
An administrative consultant works with clients in a supportive manner in a long-term relationship. Therefore, your goal is to find retainer clients.
Educate your prospective clients in what your business is about, how your skills will assist them, how you to will work together, and how this ongoing relationship will work. Your website should answer questions and give information your potential client would have asked you in an initial interview.
It works the other way around as well. The better your information is on your website, the greater are your chances to connect with the right clients. Possible clients, who do not need your expertise, will remove themselves from the equation by reading your website. Prospective clients, who become retainer clients, will be halfway sold on hiring you by simply reading your website
In other words your website should have more than enough relevant information on it. Pricing is the only item that you do not put on your website.
Reasons why pricing is bad on your website
As someone who provides professional services, it is disadvantageous to have your prices on your website. In fact, pricing on your website, can hurt your business.
Your services are not general goods that one finds on a shelf in any store. If so, the only difference between your services and the next one is, “What is your rate?” You are starting and taking part in a pricing competition, where the lowest bidder is hired. This is the opposite of your goal. You are aiming for long-term clients who benefits from your services. Clients who you can assist in achieving their dreams, growing their business, solving their problems and in solving their challenges. If you hold fast to your level of quality, the possible clients who are only interested in the rate, will disappear, leaving behind the ones you want to do business with. Working with clients who don’t want to pay for quality, or who are not interested in your procedures, brings instability, poor income and unhappiness to your business.
You harm yourself and your business. Placing the prices on your website is not the way to get rid of the time wasters and the ones that are only interested in quality and not quantity. When your prices are on your website, visitors zoom in on the rates instead of the rest of the valuable information supplied. The one thing you wanted to prevent, you have now accentuated.
You think with prices on your website you will get rid of the clients you do not want to work with. Perhaps that is so, but the opposite is also true. You are losing prospective clients. Instead of becoming excited about what you have to offer, and thereby contacting you, clients stay away. Why? They could have misunderstood your price layout and decide they cannot afford you, without consulting you. If there were no prices, this prospective client would have contacted you because they like what they see on your website. You then would have had the opportunity to discuss pricing with them and explain any possible misunderstanding.
The relationship that forms between you and your client, is not a once off, but an ongoing relationship with investments and commitment. For this, a conversation is necessary, not a single pricing sentence.
What is the correct response?
If your hourly rate is the first question a prospective client asks, tell them that is not a question to be answered before you have gathered more information. It is your goal to give the best assistance and support needed. Every business has its own unique set of goals, challenges and problems. It is therefore very important to have a meeting where the needs of the business and what you can offer can be discussed. With a plan of action, you will be able to work out the costs involved.
Prospective clients could feel more secure if they had an indication of the pricing. Therefore, you can give them the basic monthly amount necessary for your initial services. You can add additional costs according to the conversation and additional needs the clients want addressed.
Instead of putting prices on your website, you can inform prospective clients how the fee structure works, what the advantages are to this pricing structure, and what the basic monthly rate would be.
The purpose is not to talk to the website, but to talk to you. The prospective client must want to meet with you to discuss potential business and working together. The information of a minimum monthly fee allows the prospective client to understand they are receiving value, inspiring them to contact you for the next step.
When you charge by the hour, you are selling yourself short as well as your client. The worth of what you have to offer is not portrayed in an hourly rate. Once again the prospective client focuses on your hourly rate instead of the benefits he will receive from your skills and expertise.
What you receive in payment should correlate with the value of your services provided to the client. This should correlate with the reasons the client hired you and the end results he expects from you. Hourly rate can put you in a position where you try and save the client money by overextending yourself. You will not last long-term and neither will your business.
Value the Value
Inform the client of the value they get for the price paid.
Explain to why you do not charge by-the-hour rates. Hourly rates results in a conflict of interests. The administrative consultant realizes that the longer the project takes, the more money will be earned. The prospective client wants the opposite, less hours for more quality and quantity. Instead of a harmonious long-term relationship, you and your client are on opposite sides, facing each other, resulting in an unhealthy relationship.
When working with a fixed price, the goal of the two parties become the same goal. The focus is removed from the price and placed back on growing the business. Both parties work towards the same goal with the same plan of action as discussed during the meetings.
About Out of the Office Virtual Assistance:
At Out of the Office, we offer ideas and ways to increase your productivity, decrease your workload, and work more efficiently. We nurture a successful business relationship, while continuing to grow as your business partner. We are focused on streamlining your administration, social media planning and execution, and offering creative solutions for your business success.
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