Coaches - When to Tell Someone Your Prices

04 Jan 2021

We've all experienced this as coaches, as consultants, as freelancers, a prospective client would drop into messenger chat or send us an email, and before we even had a chance to understand anything about them, very first question which they ask is, “How much does it cost to work with you?”

In this short video, I'll be explaining when the right time is to give somebody your prices and why.

There's something going on right now which I call the dirge of Facebook, which is where all of these online marketers and online coaches are trying to rush the sale.

They're trying to take people's money as quickly as possible. They're doing a lot of the right things in terms of how they're marketing themselves on Facebook, on Instagram, on LinkedIn or wherever it might be. However, as a result of trying to rush to the sale, they're inadvertently leaving money on the table, losing revenue.

They’re not even realising that what they're doing is harming their business.

What I'm referring to is that when you do a piece of marketing as a coach, whether it be on Instagram or Facebook, LinkedIn, it doesn't matter. At some point, people are going to lean in because they like what you say, they like you, and they want to know a little bit more.

However, the client doesn't always know what the right question or the right sequence of events is that they need to go through to work with you.

What if Someone Ask for Your Prices in Messenger?

What they do is ask silly questions, which are out of sequence. The most obvious one, and I get this all the time is people will slide into my messenger, and the first thing they ask is, “I really want to work with you, I really like what you're saying, how much does it cost to work with you?”

And the worst thing that you can possibly do is give them your fee out right there and then, and I'm about to explain why.

We had a client who was a coach, and the one challenge that they had within their business was that they needed more clients. They were constantly on this marketing flywheel of always promoting their business, and never really feeling like they were making much progress.

At the time, we were trying to coach them around their prices and to get more confident about increasing their prices, but I couldn't work out why they were dropping the ball.

They were seemingly very busy, but they weren't actually closing that many new clients.

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When I started to look at the “sequence” that they were taking prospective clients through, messenger kept on coming up time and again. Many of their prospective clients were sliding into messenger chat. And when I looked at some of the messages that they were receiving, the most common question which they got asked pretty much straight out of the bat was, “Your programme looks amazing, how much is it?”

The problem was that this particular coach was giving them their prices. Their rationale behind giving prices out straight away in messenger was to filter prospective clients out, thinking that if people were buying on price alone, the people that didn't have the money, they didn't really want to work with.

My gut instinct was that some of these prospective clients had been in their ecosystem for quite a few months, if not years. They were super warm, and I didn't understand why this coach was turning them down straight away based on price.

I challenged them on that.

They said they didn't want to be wasting all of their time doing consultations unnecessarily when people were just going to say "No, that's too expensive!"

Handling that as an objection during the sales consultation is a very different matter to filtering people out during messenger. I recommend we test out an theory I had.

Never Give Prices in Messenger

For one month we did it their way. They gave people a price, they ran their messenger chats exactly how they wanted to. We started tweaking how they were replying and responding to some of those messages and starting to work out how we could qualify some of their perspective clients better.

We then did it my way for a whole month.

What we did during that time was we never gave out the price in messenger. Instead, the single goal when somebody contacted my client, this coach through messenger, was to get them booked onto a consultation call. Just a short 20 to 30-minute qualification call to make sure it was a good fit.

When we went back and looked at the statistics from month one versus month two, we realised that their conversion rate increased by 40%.

When they moved a prospective client onto a consultation call, they were able to take them through a process, qualify them, ask questions, and make sure it was a good fit.

But most importantly they were able to see whether the coach and the client gel together.

The coach was able to educate that client about what was going to happen on the programme, what outcomes they could expect, what value they were going to get through a coaching process.

That's just something which you can't do in messenger, unfortunately, because you just don't have the time. You've got a limited number of characters when you're sending messages out, and it doesn't matter what platform you're using. You just don't have the opportunity to be able to educate somebody in the same way that you can do when you're conversing with them face-to-face.

Therefore, giving your prices up too early in the sequence of events is a dangerous game to be playing. It doesn't filter people out accurately because they're anchored to the wrong thing. They're anchored to price, and that's it.

Now that's absolutely fine if you're selling a commoditised item like a tin of baked beans or a hammer or a box of screws. But when you're selling a service, no matter how well it's productised, you do need to be able to explain the value of that product to a prospective client in order for them to start to anchor to the right thing.

There are three things that we'll be looking to anchor a prospective client to when you go through the consultation process.

I'm not going to go through the entire consultation process, I'll save that for another video. However, it's important that you understand the three basic things that you need to anchor a client to. Price is one of them, but you've got to do it in the right way.

In terms of those three anchors:

  • the first thing that we want to anchor a prospective client to is going to be the outcome or result which your coaching programme is going to deliver when that client goes through that sequence of events, that coaching process.
  • The second thing which you're going to anchor a client to is the length of time that it takes in order to deliver that result or outcome. Quite often, in this fast-moving world that we live in online people want results and they want them now. However, as we know as coaches, that's not always possible. It's just simply not the case. Quite often, you have to take clients through a series of coaching sessions in order to achieve a lasting positive result or outcome from the coaching process.
  • The final thing, once they understand what their commitments are going to be to the coaching process, and what you're going to be working with them on through that coaching process, and over what period of time the expected results and outcomes

Then finally you can have a conversation with them about price.

But at that point it's about value. It's not about how much it costs and whether they can afford it, it's about value. Do they see the value in going through that coaching process, and getting that desired outcome or result?

Hopefully you're now starting to understand with those three anchors in place why it's difficult to get to that outcome through messenger chat.

Qualifying a Prospective Coaching Client via Messenger?

Now I know exactly what you're all thinking, how do I handle that messenger conversation? Because if somebody asked me for my price and I don't give it to them, is that going to look like I'm avoiding it or I've got something to hide.

Well, the simple answer is maybe, but it's that your problem or is that their problem?

Because if they're just bashing you for a price and they want it now, that to me strikes as being a red flag.

Do we really want to be working with impatient clients who want everything right now? Perhaps not.

We want to just slow the process down enough so that we can start to understand our prospective client better, start to qualify them, and understand whether they are a good fit for our coaching programme or not.

That's much more important.

In terms of the messenger conversation, say something initially at the start which is along the lines of, "Well, hey, yes, absolutely, I'm happy to give a price for the coaching programme, but is it okay if I ask you a few questions first?"

Do a little bit of permission-based coaching with them through messenger chat to start to understand a little bit more about the client and the challenges which they're experiencing right now.

You then might want to start to ask them qualification questions:

  • What's the problem?
  • What is it that you need help with?
  • Why do you want coaching with me?
  • Why did you choose me as a prospective coach?
  • How long have you struggled with these challenges or problems for that you need help with?
  • How quickly do you want to get it fixed?
  • Do you have a budget in mind for coaching?

All of these qualification questions are starting to build up a rapport with your prospective client, and build a deeper understanding about what the needs are, because there is also a slim chance that you go through that process asking the questions, and you go, “Do you know what? My coaching programme isn't really a good fit for you, but I can make recommendations to this coach or this coach. This person might deliver better results for you or deliver a better outcome, or maybe they specialise in your area.”

Having that messenger conversation first, and qualifying them first, gives you the opportunity to give them the best possible piece of advice.

Can you see that price is irrelevant at this point?

Price doesn't come into this until we've ascertained whether it is a good fit. Once you've qualified them, you can say, “Well, hey, listen, I can give you the price, but I can go one better than that. Why don't we just hop onto a call, we'll get to know one another. I can walk you through all the ins and outs of our coaching programme so you can make an educated decision about whether my program's a good fit for you, whether you feel it's good value or not.” And “If you decide that it is too expensive when I give you the price, listen I'll help you find a coach that fits more within your budget, if that's appropriate for us to talk about that.”

Again, it's a qualification process. What I've noticed, a lot of coaches tend to get duped into is giving prospects the price, then if they give them the price and it's too expensive, they then feel like they've got to justify their existence for being.

They'll start coaching the prospect and offering a tonne of advice through messenger. That's not a bad thing to do, by the way. But if you overdo it, what you’re doing is we're eroding the value which you build up in your coaching programme if you start giving away all this advice for free.

The prospect is thinking, “Oh well this is expensive anyway, and this person's giving me loads of stuff for free!” Again, you're anchoring them to the wrong things. You've got to get the balance right in the sequence of events.

5 Stages of Market Sophistication

And by the way, when I say sequence, there's another video you might want to check out where I talk about the correct sequence of events to close a new prospect:

It’s called the five stages of market sophistication. You should be able to find it in my channel, where we talk about the five stages that buyers go through before they finally make their buying decision.

Well worth watching that video!

That's what I mean by the sequence. You want to make sure that you've taken prospective clients through the sequence before you get to that point of talking about price.

Should I Put My Prices on My Website?

The other question I get asked, which is very closely linked to this is should I have my prices on my websites?

In my humble opinion, the honest answer is absolutely not, for exactly the same reason as we described about giving out your prices in messenger, the same applies for your website.

You're gonna get a lot of time-wasters, tyre kickers, and people like that browsing around to see who's the cheapest, who's the most expensive etc.

But, again, they're lacking the knowledge required to make an educated decision. If they see your prices and make a decision solely based on the price, you might not be serving them to the best of your abilities.

They may desperately need your help. You may be able to deliver the best possible result or outcome for them, and to help them through whatever challenges they’re experiencing.

And yet you're allowing them just to come in and make a decision without knowing anything about you, without knowing how your programme works, or what the end results are, based solely on price.

You're allowing them to walk away when they may have this bleeding neck, this massive challenge or problem that you can definitely help them with.

And, no! You're just going to let them choose to make up their own mind based on price. As we know, they are not an expert like you are.

They need your help more than you need their money.

It's super important that you are conciergeing people into your coaching practice properly, and making sure that you're asking the right questions rather than letting them make up their own mind.

You are the expert!

Use that expertise to help people.

Many coaches that I work with go through several evolutions of increasing their prices from hourly rates up to fully packaged high-ticket coaching programmes.

What tends to happen is that they don't just jump from an hourly rate to a high-ticket price. There's a series of events which happens where gradually as their confidence grows they will look to increase their prices.

When to Increase Your Coaching Fees

What this means are your coaching fees are unlikely set at a fixed amount for an extended period of time.

You should be looking to increase your prices at least half a dozen or a dozen times over the next 12 months.

The other thing is when you're on a consultation call with a prospective client, and there's nothing unethical or immoral about this, but if you're feeling confident you can test different price points out to different prospective customers.

If your prices are on your website and the prospective client has already seen them advertised, they've been exposed to that price point.It's going to look more conspicuous if all of a sudden you've doubled your prices on the consultation call to what they've seen on the website.

Having your prices on the website restricts you. What would happen is it makes you feel nice and safe and secure knowing that your prices are on your website, and you can quote it, and they're there in black and white, but if you learn to handle objections properly and qualify your prospective clients properly, you can have a bit of fun experimenting with your prices on your sales calls.

The reality is that whatever price you agree with a prospective coaching client during a consultation, that's a fair exchange. If they can see the value for it at a specific price on the consultation call, then surely that's absolutely fine. That is ethical. That's the right way to do it.

I should probably say at this point that, yes the goal with any business is to help people, obviously, but also it's about making sure that your practise is thriving, it's prosperous, that it's profitable and making you money.

If you're not charging enough, you need to be able to give yourself the operating bandwidth to be able to experiment with pricing, and to be able to gradually increment your price.

The only way to do that; to get that data and that feedback is to do it live on consultation calls when you've had a chance to explain the value which you deliver to prospective clients, to handle any concerns or objections which they raised during that consultation call, and to do it there and then in the moment.

That's simply something that you can't do via SMS or messenger chats, WhatsApps, LinkedIn messages and emails get hugely misconstrued. You can't give all of the information there, which a prospective client needs to see, in order to make an educated buying decision.

I do hope you found this video helpful around the why's and wherefores of when you should give out your coaching fees.

Please do not give out your fees through messenger, through email or WhatsApp, or whatever it might be.

Do focus on getting your prospective coaching clients booked onto consultation so that you can have that conversation with them.

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