This article is part of the, “But WHY, Naomi?” series.
When it comes to the idea of publicly posting rates, the service provider industry is split into two firm camps.
Camp A says that any opportunity to communicate with a prospect should be seized. Therefore, not listing prices encourages a prospect to get in touch. (There’s also a fear that listing prices will scare off prospects, but that’s another issue for another day.)
Camp B says that prices should be transparent because, um, the stuff you buy is supposed to have a price tag. They tend to think that not listing your prices is disrespectful and opaque.
While I don’t agree with the moral component of Camp B, I do share their sentiments as it relates to the prospect’s experience. While you can go either way – there are a lot of people in both camps – here are my reasons for pricing transparency.
1. Shy people don’t get in touch.
The overwhelming majority of my audience is made up of introverts, HSPs, and other assorted softypants. The idea that “if you keep it a secret, they’ll get in touch to ask” presupposes that they will, in fact, get in touch to ask.
As an introverted HSP softypants, I speak with authority when I say:
No. No, they won’t.
If a service provider does not list their prices, I’m not getting in touch no matter how good they are. That would involve initiating conversation with a complete stranger and inviting myself into their sales funnel.
2. I’m less expensive than you’d think.
In my industry, a lot of prospects have been through a revolving door of coaches. Most coaches and consultants follow a price-to-value model. If they can make you a bunch of extra money this year, the general belief is that they should be compensated based on the result you received rather than the time they spent.
Since a business coach can make you very, very wealthy, most of them can command very high rates. When compared to that, people are consistently surprised by my coaching rates. I’m pretty middle-of-the-road, rate-wise.
Prospects knowing this is good for my bottom line. All those introverts we were just talking about? If I don’t tell them how much it costs, they won’t get in touch to find out. And if they don’t get in touch to find out, they won’t realize they can actually afford my rates.
There is usually truth in the maxim, “If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it.” Therefore, in most people’s minds, if they have to ask, they can’t afford it. Pro budgeting tip: When you know how much it costs, you know if you can afford it. When it comes to my coaching rates, you may have to ask Kris for a payment plan, but you don’t have to ask your bank for a loan.
3. It’s a lot more efficient.
I do not answer my own email.
This means I pay someone to answer my email.
I don’t want to pay someone to give a customized answer to 400 people asking the same question when I could just answer it once on my website.
Also, on that note, because prospects know how much coaching costs, they don’t get in touch until they’re at the stage of the buying cycle where money is no longer an issue. They have the resources, they’re content with the cost, and now we’re just hammering out a few details.
For most coaches, a huge component of the sales process is removing price objections, which I happen to find exhausting and repetitive. I list it once on the sales page, and I never have to talk about it again.
4. People have to know what they’re saving up for.
Imagine you are thinking that you’re not ready for a business coach yet, but you will be soon. You’re excited, and you’re making plans. You want to know how much to budget for when you’re ready.
Most people in this situation do not like getting in touch to receive a quote, because they don’t want to seem like tire kickers. They don’t want to feel like they’re wasting my time. That leaves them in a sort of limbo. They want to save up, but they don’t know what they’re saving up for, and they don’t want to ask because they feel that would be inconsiderate.
Personally, I am quite comforted by the knowledge that there are people in the world that I don’t even know who are getting ready to get in touch with me to become a client. I like that process to be pleasant and painless for them.
5. People are simply more relaxed when the money is a known factor.
Before I published my prices, when I would get on the phone with people for a Hopes and Dreams call (the free initial getting-to-know-you session), I always felt like there was a subtle undercurrent of tension since the money issue wasn’t explicitly out there. People had a general idea of my rate, and it was almost like they were holding back and not wanting to get their hopes up in case the final numbers might be bigger than they were emotionally prepared for.
At one point my page said that coaching engagements ran anywhere between $1,200 and $6,000, depending on how much coaching you wanted to receive. That’s a big range to wonder about.
Right now, my coaching page shows three options, and the specific price of each option. Now when someone gets on a Hopes and Dreams call, they know which one (or ones) they’re looking at, and they’re a lot more relaxed during that initial conversation. I think it’s more humane for everyone.
The transparency vs. opacity debate will outlive all of us.
There’s never going to be one clear-cut answer for everybody, since industry norms and individual preferences vary. There are simply too many wildcards to expect One Camp To Rule Them All.
Hopefully, knowing how I made my decision will make yours a little easier.
Click here to read more in the “But Why, Naomi?” series.
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