“There is often a direct relationship between your willingness to pay value-driven prices, and the objections you receive when you quote prices to your clients.
The solution to price-objections can be very simple: STOP doing it to your own providers and your prospects will stop doing it to you.”
~ Debra Hilton
The Danger of ‘Free’
Back in the early 2000s when I launched my first website on my own domain, many people
were using free services like blogger and WordPress (not the self-hosted WordPress) to host their business sites. Then, as now, people forgot the maxim that:
“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
– there are always strings attached.
I think Brian Clark from Copyblogger was the first authority that I heard using the term ‘share cropping’ and discussing it’s pitfalls. His warnings weren’t really heeded then and today people are more addicted to ‘free’ than ever before.
A few months ago, several Australian businesses were shut off Facebook because of the Government’s stand-off over news payments. They felt hard-done-by because they hadn’t done anything that they hadn’t been doing for ages and they didn’t think it was fair.
The truth is, it doesn’t have anything to do with being ‘fair’ it has to do with ownership rights and responsibilities.
Like any other ‘handout’ free comes with strings attached.
Addicted to ‘Free’
The past year has been quite extraordinary for most people. With travel restricted, borders closed, and businesses shuttered there has been a big increase in demand for handouts and payment extensions. I get that! However, there has also been increasing anger directed at providers of ‘free’ services and platforms who sell the data they have gathered.
You really can’t have it both ways. Google and Facebook are not charitable institutes, they’re businesses and, just like the 90s-style invitations to attend a sponsored lunch so that the sponsor can pitch their real estate / investment / or other opportunity these platforms are designed to help their owners cover costs and generate income.
Free +… Is a business model. If you don’t like paying the hidden costs associated with that model, then you have a choice: move to a paid alternative.
As an individual you do have the option to decide what you are going to do…
As a business?
I’m not so sure that you do.
After all… If you’re asking people to pay you for whatever products or services you deliver, shouldn’t you be setting an example and paying your own suppliers?
Is it Hypocrisy… or Something Else?
I was listening to someone talk about a prospective client the other day. This person provides one-to-one and group coaching programs ranging from $10,000 for one day to more than $30,000 per year and a woman came to talk to to him for free advice on how she could build and sell a high ticket group coaching program.
It turned out that she herself had never even considered investing in the type of program she wanted to sell… And yes, she even used the exact words, “such an insanely expensive rip-off” to describe her thought about it and yet…
She wanted other people to spend that kind of money on her program!
A prospective client started a conversation with me about marketing strategy for her SaaS platform a while ago. As we talked about her goals and intentions and I asked her questions to see if she was a good fit, I noticed a common theme underlying her response to every question about the platforms she used for her CRM, email automation, website, communications, design, etc. If she was using something, it was FREE. When we talked about the tools she would need to achieve her goals, her first question was always: “Is there a free version?”
The irony of it was that her own software was intended to sell at a premium and when I asked her about a ‘Free’ version of it she was quick to provide me with a laundry list of all the costs she incurred and why that was impossible.
Our conversation ended quickly. You can’t build a business on ‘free’ because the only way you leave yourself to make money is by selling data or taking advantage of people and you cannot ask people to pay for something that you consider has no value.
Look in the Mirror
The next time you get pushback about your prices, take a look in the mirror.
In the last year, one of my clients has moved his price for a service + coaching offer from $500 per month, to $950 per month, to $1500 per month and as of 1st July, it’s going up to $25,000 per year.
I asked him how he had been able to do that and his answer is worth sharing: “I have discovered that the more I focus on the value I receive from service providers, programs, etc, rather than the ‘cost’, the more I see the value in what I provide to others, and the readier other people are to pay my prices without question.”
I’m not suggesting that you throw discernment out the window and let your expenses spiral out of control, but I do think that most of the people who get price objections are either desperate to make sales because they need the money, OR unwilling to pay for value themselves.
When they change their own attitude to money, the objections vanish.