Do you hesitate to put your pricing on your website?

My good friend, Christine Dyer of Bridal Tweet, started a great discussion on LinkedIn recently, where she mentions two big reasons to post your fees. Pricing is a core topic for my business so I couldn't resist offering a thought or two.

My response about putting your price on your website:

If you hesitate to post your price range, ask yourself why? What are you avoiding?

As humans, our brains are programmed to avoid loss, even when there may be an eventual long term gain. That's why marketing messages that shout, 'buy now before the discount ends' attract so many consumers. Who wants to miss getting 30% off, right?

Same basic logic applies to entrepreneurs. You also want to avoid loss and regret. But instead of buying, you decide not to post your prices, sparing you from the anxiety of brides seeing the price and not calling. Funny thing is, they won't call you if they don't get any price indication. You know the old expression, if you have to ask, you can't afford it. That fear drives potential clients away from you.

Your Thinking May be Faulty

Of course, you think you'd doing the right thing.  After all, you need to talk to clients first.  Well, you might be fooling yourself.

Timothy Wilson, respected social psychologist and author, researched how emotions impact our decision-making. We decide things based on our emotions but then justify with logic. That's called a rationalization. My favorite juicy rationalization - If I walk around the lake, I deserve the cocktail at happy hour.

You've probably done some rationalizing, too, in your business.  Are they helping or hurting you?

Marketing gurus encourage us to push fear to motivate sales. Well, it works both ways. Fear also motivates you, but not in a good way.

Fear may get your client to buy your services, but it may also be preventing you from doing important things. Like putting those prices on your website. Or, charging the right price. If you haven't added a price range to your site so clients can qualify themselves, you gotta ask yourself: what am I afraid of?

My clients tell me they are afraid of these things:

  • clients having sticker shock
  • customers who say the price is too high
  • clients who say it isn't worth the price
  • scaring away customers
  • not making any sales

Money Matters

All reasonable fears that lead my folks, entrepreneurs just like you, to decide that money doesn't really matter. That helping others is what's most important. True, but here's another way to look at it.

On an unconscious level, you are removing the threat of loss and replacing it with an delusion. Now, I know this sounds woo woo. Stay with me.

When I hear someone say, 'I do this because I love helping people, not the money. This is my calling' it makes me wonder. Does she mean that or is she afraid? When you put yourself on a high pedestal like that it makes asking for money seem ugly. Mother Teresa didn't charge, right? So, in a way you relieve yourself of the responsibility for making money because you're doing good.

Nice thought, but faulty business thinking. Unless you can get clear about what your price is and why that's so, you won't get the amount or quality clients you deserve. Worse yet, you won't be able to help anyone because you'll be burned out or out of business.

The cost of feeling safe is that you undervalue your contribution. You call your value in question (why so little?). Not a good solution to fear, and part of the reason I think so many entrepreneurs throw in the towel.

After giving so much, they are disappointed at the results and heart-broken. Don't let that be you.

Don't Leave Clients in the Dark

Give yourself a fighting chance. Most of us do our preliminary shopping online. I know the first thing I do is look at the website. And, if there isn't one or it doesn't share pricing, well....There are tons of other providers besides you, and in the din of all that noise, buyers are looking for ways to shorten their list. No prices = move on. You need to put your prices on your website. Even if, you think....

your warmth & charm work best in a in-person consultation. You won't get the chance to "wow'em" if they don't come in because they're afraid of being embarrassed over their budget.  Your services are personal and difficult to price. Yeah, we're all special, buddy. If you can't quantify your benefits, you won't get many clients.

What's your experience? Prices or not prices?

PS: My pricing study needs just 25 more participants. I plan to publish the results, which so far are fascinating. Interested? Take the survey.

Views: 111

Comment by Jeanne Heflin on March 10, 2012 at 10:42am

Hi Dina! Great article there and very thought provoking. I have not finished building my website, but in all honesty, I had absolutely no intentions of putting pricing on there. I have a service-based business offering business consulting, bookkeeping, various QuickBooks services, start-up establishment, and basic website design. My concern here is that I cannot really set a one-size-fits-all price for my services as some may require more, less, or different services from the basic package I would offer. In your opinion, would you still include pricing on the website, and if so, is there a way for it to be done so that I am not committing myself to pricing that just will not work me? Thanks for your help, Dina! And once again, fantastic article! I look forward to hearing from you.

Comment by Chris Hess on March 12, 2012 at 3:11pm

My mastermind group has been discussing posting prices (particularly for premium services) and you hit on many of the points that we've been discussing. We quickly came to the conclusion that for products pricing is a must, but when you get to services I believe the line is more blurred. You want to have a product that is priced so not to scare away your customers but that you feel ok with the price that you get paid. I'm not sure I feel completely convinced one way of the other yet, but your ideas have me thinking again... I'll be sharing this article and we'll see where we end up. Right now I'm thinking that if you have the clients and portfolio to give your customers a reason to contact you (and because of your clients they may assume premium pricing) then you might be ok with not posting prices and saying something generic like contact us for a quote. Otherwise, it might be a good idea to say something like "Prices depend on the specifics of your project but usually range from $X - Y". It then gives you the ability to pre-qualify customers a bit, you can quote initially in the higher end and have room to negotiate if you need to, and you can then have them give up things from the contract that make it more costly if they need to bring the price down.

Comment by Dina Eisenberg on March 13, 2012 at 1:51am

Hey Jeanne,  you might try a few things.  Most of all b2b folks want predictability in pricing. So, the more you can provide that the better.  One way to do it is by giving a what I can profile pricing based on a fairly specific offering or service model.

For each client you'd like to have, probably not more than 3 or it makes you look scattered, you'll want to give an example of the specific kind of work you'd do for that type of client and a price range or a starting price. 

I favor a starting price.  That way your client can figure out if it's worth their time, and honestly risk, to look for more contact and information.  You'll be able to nail the pricing if you've done preliminary research on each client group to find THEIR money set point, pain points and what the benefits of achieving their goal will be.  Which might be different than what you're currently offering.

A word of caution- generic never wins the day.  It doesn't speak to the image people have of themselves.  NO ONE describes themselves as generic, not even you in your response.  Might as well shoot yourself in the foot.

Chris!  Good on you for having a mastermind!  I've been in several since my early days and only benefited from it.  I addressed you thoughts in this response,too.  Generic- bad.  Tailored and narrow-good. (doing my best Bill Shatner impression here)

Your site should be pre-qualifying for you, to save you the time.  And, personally, I don't negotiate price.  The price is the price.  Perhaps we do other things, but that doesn't change.  If clients want fabulous, well, that costs.

If I understand your last point about the negotiating, and that's a big if, yes, I agree.  If clients want to reduce reduce cost the way  to do that is my reducing the scope of the  project.  For those serious about cost savings it works.  For those just fishing for the best price, it helps them realize they won't get the results they seek at that price.

You guys rock.  You've moved the conversation to a whole new level.  Thanks.

Comment by Dina Eisenberg on March 13, 2012 at 1:54am

Ok, its late and I want to edit that last paragraph. My point is that if clients want to reduce cost, they must reduce scope.


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