One of the early challenges I faced in starting my own business was learning to get paid what I was worth. The first part of this was understanding market rates and how much a coach like me charges. That was the easy part. It took some conversations and checking benchmarks to establish a fee range. The much harder part was learning to get out of my own way.
Alan Weiss, author of best selling book ‘Million Dollar Consulting‘ talks a lot about self-esteem. Alan sees a lot of consultants and coaches who don’t believe they are worth the market rate. They can also have imposter syndrome, even if they do win the business, wondering how they can possibly live up to the fee they are charging. As you can see, it is very easy to get in your own way.
I bring this up because it is a challenge many of us face, and not only the self-employed. If you are not willing to ask for what you are worth, you will never receive it. So how do we get out of our own way? For me, I needed to identify what I was most afraid of. After some soul searching, my most uncomfortable feeling centered around not being able to deal with push back as I shared my fees. What would I say if the customer responded with something like ‘that’s the most outrageous amount I’ve ever heard’? The thought of not being able to respond scared me.
How to get out of your own way
Simply naming what I was most uncomfortable about helped a lot. But that wasn’t enough, I needed to know how I would deal with it. So I invested some time writing down the harshest things I could think of that people may say to me. Creating a response for each one gave me the confidence I wouldn’t get tongue tied and stumped for an answer. I knew what I was going to say. If you said my fees are outrageous, I would calmly ask you why, and help me understand why you think that. From there I can truly understand what is missing and help close the gap.
I also learned that sometimes, we won’t agree on a fee and that is ok. I would rather work with someone who recognizes the value in working with me. The key for me was finding this out as quickly as possible. If we don’t have a match I can invest my time finding someone who is a great fit.
Are you getting paid what you are worth? How are you getting in your own way and what can you do to overcome it?
For me it’s about enabling the customer to fully articulate their objective – what they are seeking to achieve and how valuable that would be to them. My fee as a coach is then set according to the value they attach to their success … what its worth to them, rather that what I think I am worth. As you know Andy this is classic Alan Weiss value pricing.
I agree with you Dave about value based pricing, it is a great way to establish value. The challenge I’m highlighting is even when value has been established, we can get in our own way and not ask for that amount. Sometimes people fear rejection so they ask for less and there are many reasons we do this. The key is recognizing what we need to be confident is asking for what we are worth.
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