What do you charge?

What’s your reaction to the question ‘What do you charge?’

Most transformational entrepreneurs dislike that question. It brings up thoughts like ‘How is she going to react when I name a fee?’ and ‘She’s going to think I’m greedy if I ask for too much’ or ‘I wish I didn’t have to talk about money at all.’ Some service providers immediately discount their prices just out of fear, before knowing whether there is any price resistance!

There are several problems here. The first is that the question ‘What do you charge?’ is only appropriate at a specific time.

Here’s when it’s not appropriate: Right after you’ve introduced yourself to someone. When they call you up and it’s the first question they ask. Before you determine what problems they have, and whether you can help.

Here’s what needs to happen first: You talk to a prospective client about what she needs. You ascertain that you have a service or product that meets her needs. You insure that she is committed to getting a transformation in that area.

Then, and only then, should you talk about fees.

If someone asks you the question at the wrong time, here’s what you say to them: “The first thing we need to discuss is what you need, and IF and HOW I could help you. If it looks like I can help, then we can discuss the options and the fees.”

When the question is asked at the appropriate time, it can still cause anxiety. This comes from fearing how the prospective client will react. Will she think the fees are reasonable? Ridiculously high? Ridiculously low? If you’re afraid of being seen as greedy or uncaring, quoting your fees can be one of the scariest parts of doing business.

Here are two things to remember that will help: Each person’s expectation about price is different. Whether they think your price is high or low is about them, not about you. If you’ve established the value of what you provide, and their commitment to transformation, the pricing should be a much less important issue.

Working on your comfort with price conversations is an important part of creating a successful business. Be professional with money, and you’ll get treated more professionally, and be well paid for what you do.