Worry that clients will reject or leave them after hearing the price was the number one concern of service entrepreneurs in a recent study conducted by SpeakupPowerfully.com. There are a lot of scared business owners out there who’d rather not hear the answer when they say their price. You told me you worry about being seen as:
That bugs me. A lot. Because you can’t run a profitable business unless you know your value and ask for it. If you find yourself wondering, will asking for that much make me look greedy, let me add some food for thought about emotions, your perceptions and the human mind.
Business is personal- that’s why it’s scary!
Busting a longstanding myth
It's not personal- it's business. I heard countless executives use that lie. The heck it isn’t. Business is filled to the brim with highly charged EMOTION. And, I say that from 18 years of experience helping entrepreneurs and business owners deal with the fallout when you don’t take feelings into account.
You know already know it's emaotional because you’re experienced a range of emotions while working in your business- from the peaks of glee down to the deep valley of despair. I’m guessing at some time or another you’ve felt:
You can’t hide your feelings. Yeah, some folks do a great job of shielding but in the end feelings are like a lightbulb in a basket. They always shine through. We’re human. We get insecure. It’s in our DNA to want connect and belong so it’s not unusual that you’d want to avoid doing or saying things that jeopardizes your relationship with your clients, like charging too much.
But are you sure clients would see you as greedy if you raised your prices?
It’s not what you think
I’m a geek who loves brain science and social psychology. I should’ve been an anthropologist not a lawyer. Both careers deal with studying and modifying behavior, I guess. Anyhoo- Michael Beckwith has a this terrific quote in the Secret that I love: what you think about you bring about. I believe that so I try to be aware of my emotions and how they are influencing my thoughts.
It applies here because emotions drive your thoughts. If you feel anxious about being rejected by a client who says you’re too expensive, that’s gonna change your thoughts. Which changes your behavior so you avoid being thought of as greedy. Which means you ask for and earn less. How many times have you mentally reduced your price before telling your client because you want her to say yes (and like you)?
You don’t know you so well
Here’s where things get interesting. You are the best source of information about what you believe, but you may not be the best judge of what others think of you. According to an article in Psychology Today, we think others see our flaws and weakness clearly because of the ‘illusion of transparency’. (She sees right through me.)
We’re certain others see our anxiety over pricing because we know our own feelings and experience them intensely. (Sweaty palms, dry mouth when talking about how much) That’s called the spotlight effect, where it feels like all eyes are on you, just like a 6th grade talent show. Truth is, most people are busy paying attention to their own inner critic, not worrying about what yours is saying. No one is looking that hard, so relax a bit.
How to get better at saying your price without guilt
No, you look happy
To answer the question- no, a higher price doesn’t make you look greedy. It makes you profitable! This part of your climb to success is more like a marathon than a sprint, I’m sorry to say.
Each time you want to reach a new revenue level, this fear of being judged as greedy and rejected will return. So you’ll want to build up some resources for dealing with it. Grab a copy of my freemium mini-course, Let Yourself Charge What You Deserve, if you haven’t already. It’ll walk you through your money fears & get you motivated to earn what you’re worth. (hurry, it's about to come down)
Recognize your feelings. But no judging. You feel what you feel til it passes and you feel something else. You can help that process along. To calm yourself and shift your thoughts, try saying out loud: I am [insert feeling] right now. I like this because it’s simple and works.
Naming is a way to reclaim your power over that emotion (i.e. your ability to make it go away. Understanding that you feel it ‘right now’ acknowledges & reinforces that your feelings will change. Just for fun why not count how many feelings you experience in two hours. There are more than the Sesame Street’s happy, mad, and sad people. There’s confusion, disbelief, jealousy, envy, concern, panic to name a few. Have a look at this list; it’ll make the test easier.
Do the research. I just got a love letter from a wedding officiant who is taking my mini-course. She honestly thought her prices were the most expensive. Research proved her wrong. Her colleagues were charging more money and had more upgrades than she did.
Now, I personally don’t believe in competitors. Since no one can do that voodoo that you do so well, your goal is to beat your own best. Still it’s nice to know what others are doing. Knowing your market, and your place within it, will give you more confidence about your price.
Fake it! The Mary Kay organization, which brings entrepreneurship to many women- including me when I started out. Their motto: Fake it til you make it. It works. Experiments suggests that simply holding a smile can help you feel happier. Pretend to be confident about your price. (now, I'm not saying fake your numbers or lie.)
Reach back and grab a memory of how you felt and acted on a especially great, ‘I’m kicking butt and taking names’ day. Proud, happy, satisfied. Now, recreate those feelings and connect them with saying your price. I do this by visualizing myself in the pricing conversation, hearing exactly what I want and smiling broadly and nodding agreement. Because I already experienced myself getting a good outcome I’m much less distracted by my negative feelings. Try it.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unjustified, unreasoning terror which paralyzes needed effort…” (Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1st Inaugural Address, 1933