My Clients Can’t Afford Me!

One of the most common concerns I hear from my coaching clients is “my clients are too cost-conscious – they can’t afford my usual hourly rate.” My response, as uncomfortable as it may be to hear, is that it’s your job to find a client base that doesn’t think twice about how much you cost. Yes, I know it’s hard to find new clients… but is it really easier to try to get your existing clients to pay you what you want to get paid?

The problem isn’t that there aren’t any good clients — it’s just that the well-paying clients haven’t heard about you yet. If your prospective clients gasp on horror when they hear  that your project will cost $500, you have learned a useful lesson – you are not talking with people who understand your value. No harm; you simply need to pivot and determine another approach that enhances your profile and reputation with people who have the need for your high-value services, a recognition of your value, and the ability to pay what you are charging.

One of the first things I do when I am finding too much push-back to my prices is to conduct some reality-check interviews to learn what my clients really value today. What are their biggest concerns right now? What are they most challenged by? What do they wish they could accomplish that they can’t? I am always surprised by what I learn and, even after 20+ years in business, I am reminded to continually question my assumptions about what “I know” my clients value. Once I find out what their pain points are now, I can modify how I talk about my services and focus more on the current challenges my clients are experiencing.

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