The unexpected benefits to being transparent with your pricing

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Over my 30 years of offering creative services, not once did I consider revealing my prices to anyone but my clients. What changed my line of thinking was when I became a client myself.

Walking a mile in my clients’ shoes

I was looking specifically for a business coach. As one myself, I’m a big fan of coaching.

I’ve used it over the years to keep myself accountable and achieve the bigger goals of my life — some of which were personal in nature, but mostly for my business. I was looking for one who could provide some business strategy and consultation along with coaching.

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On my hunt through the Internet, I came to the realization that I was weeding out anyone who wasn’t upfront about their prices. Being somewhat introverted (as we artists can tend to be), I really didn’t want to have that conversation about price, nor did I want to haggle. I wanted to know how much it was going to cost without having to ask.

And I wanted to be able to make a decision quickly, based on that knowledge. If they had prices listed, those coaches stayed on the long list. If the price was reasonable to me, those coaches stayed on the short list.

But as for the ones who didn’t reveal their prices at all? They were left off the list altogether.  I didn’t even consider them — even though they might have been better and cheaper.

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Around the same time, in one of the many Facebook groups I belong to, there was a discussion about on-line prices, and I saw that many of my fellow entrepreneurs, no matter their business, were revealing via their websites what they charged for their services.

I took a further look on the Internet and saw that indeed, many people in the creative industry also had their pricing in plain sight.

So based on my own buying behavior and knowing that I wouldn’t be alone (and perhaps was even missing out on a current trend), I decided to say how much I charged as well.

Little did I realize what would happen next.

An unexpected outcome

Shortly after launching my revamped site with my new, out-in-the-open price list, I got a flood of interest.

Now, that was due to a lot of reasons: an active marketing campaign for the newly launched website, an incentive commission for referrals, and a business coach who was actively looking for clients on my behalf.

It’s possible that having my price list online kept me on the “short list” for these clients as it did when I was the client searching for a coach.

But something else happened, specifically due to the online price list: I was — quite unknowingly — pre-approving my clients.

The “pre-approved” client

As each new, potential client contacted me for an initial consultation, I asked, “Have you seen my prices on my website?” Each answered, “Yes,” and the discussion moved on.

Wow. What a joy it was to know, upfront, that my potential clients were fine with my price!

Then, the pendulum swung the other way. A woman, having heard how successful my SEO services were, messaged me via social media, wanting to set up a phone consultation about her own website. I didn’t even hesitate.

“I’m swamped with work right now and can’t talk,” I told her truthfully. “Please take the time to visit my website’s price page first, before we talk. If you still want to have that conversation after you see my prices, just let me know.”

A few days later, she mentioned online that she had selected someone else to help her with her website.

And I was very OK with that, because I didn’t have to have a time-consuming, dead-end conversation with a person who, in the long run, couldn’t afford to be my client after all.

Not unlike the mortgage broker or real estate agent who “pre-approves” customers to make sure they are creditworthy and actually able to afford their home purchases, my price list was helping to ensure that only those who could truly afford my services were approaching me as potential clients.

A time-saving technique

Price is often the deciding factor for a customer. Your level of skill, talent, and quality won’t matter if the client can’t pay your price. For most customers, cost comes first.

So why even have the discussion about how brilliant you and your work are, if your potential client can’t compensate you for that work? What an enormous waste of time — time that now is saved, because you were upfront and honest about your price.

Transparency equals trust

“Honest” is an important adjective. Just as I passed over those who didn’t reveal their prices, others might be asking themselves, “What’s the big secret? Is there something to hide?”

Not being upfront with pricing can taint your business with client mistrust from the get-go. Transparency, on the other hand, wins over customers, who want to feel safe doing business with you. “

Know, like, and trust” are the three attributes that consumers need to experience and feel. Revealing your prices freely helps to immediately create the trust factor with your clients.

One step closer to your “ideal” client

We all want to work with our perceived “ideal” client. First and foremost, that client can afford to pay what we charge.

Putting your prices out in the open takes a step in the right direction to weed out the clients that were never your clients in the first place and to make the experience of taking on a new client a little easier and more enjoyable for everyone involved.

How do you feel about revealing pricing? Let me know in the comments.

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About Patricia LaCroix

Patricia LaCroix has had a career in marketing and publishing for longer than she cares to admit. But, despite that it reveals her age, she’s willing to say that she’s been working a creative business from home in some way, shape, or form since 1986. Her creative skills run the gamut and include expertise in both visual and written forms of communication. Patricia’s entrepreneurial yet giving spirit drives her to help others learn how to work from home and create their own “lifestyle” careers.

 

More about Patricia’s business: LaCroix Creative is a full-service creative business in Chicago’s northwest suburbs. Patricia leads a talented team of associates who assist her in creating effective graphic design and written content — in print and online. Decades of experience — partnered with caring, personal attention — make LaCroix Creative especially well equipped to serve solopreneurs, start-ups, educators, coaches, healthcare professionals, and self-publishing authors.

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Comments

  1. Thank’s for the post! I had a similar revelation when redoing my own wesite. Thinking about my own purchasing behavior online really sealed the deal to listing pricing info on my site. And does anyone ever really like to have the awkward pricing convo?

  2. Hi Patricia, could you give a little more incite (perhaps in another post) about your marketing efforts for promotion and attaining more clients? You mention, “…an active marketing campaign for the newly launched website, an incentive commission for referrals, and a business coach who was actively looking for clients on my behalf.” It would be great to hear some of the initiatives you found to have worked best. I’m a small creative design and web development company looking for suggestions and proven tactics for finding clients. Thanks again.

    • Since I won’t be writing another post here soon (although feel free to check out the blog on my website for similar articles), I can touch on what worked well. I sent out an email to my subscribers, introducing the new website, and finishing with my incentive: 20% of the contracted price of the first project with a newly referred client. It landed me a very hot lead — a self-publishing author who signed an initial contract, with strong potential for thousands of dollars in future contracts. I could see repeating that offer again in the near future.

  3. Great article, helped me to make up my mind to put my pricing on my website when it launches.

  4. Hi Patricia I appreciate your perspective on sharing pricing. I’m working on my website and will consider adding more pricing info. Some freelancers say not to show prices because it “scares people off.” Your argument that it actually builds trust with clients make a lot of sense! Thanks!

  5. Great article! I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while – I guess it’s time to button up my packages and pull the trigger.

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