Marcus Sheridan wrote a killer piece (we expect nothing less) last week over at Spin Sucks, and if I’m not mistaken, he is also leading a webinar over there
today Thursday, “Content’s Ability to Close Sales.” (You can send me the referral fee later, Gini).
If you haven’t read his post on injecting pricing into your website, you should. He gives us five good reasons to do it, some of which I actually agree with and do already…offline. It’s the online part that I struggle with and here’s why.
As I said in my comment in that post, I totally get what Marcus is saying, especially if you sell a product. Marcus sells and installs swimming pools and he very willingly talks about pricing on his website. I sell my time and services to help companies and people communicate more effectively, engage their audiences and market their products. I don’t talk about pricing on my website. I give examples via a client line up and portfolio. Why don’t I talk about pricing?
For starters, as any good consultant will tell you, it depends. Every client and every project is different. What took six weeks for one client may take 12 weeks for another, and we might have to also add in an additional social media campaign just to make it stick. That’s gonna cost ya!
The True Cost of Not Pricing My Services
Here’s what I find happens when I don’t address pricing. I get all kinds of leads that are really NOT a match for my services. It’s true. Potential clients like what they see and they want “that” too. By not putting my prices up, or at least a minimum amount or range, I’m welcoming anyone with any budget, or rather, without one, to come calling.
I’m diluting my brand. In reality, by not discussing price, it’s costing me my brand. I’m spending a lot of time with folks that aren’t a fit, rather than immediately attracting the right kind of client with the right budget.
It’s a tough nut to crack when you start discussing pricing in the B2B services world. I’ve not yet figured out how to do it other than to start packaging my services like a product. Robert Dempsey and his company, Dempsey Marketing, are the best examples I can provide that demonstrate how a service oriented business does this really well. He has pricing and products on his website and he’s very clear about it. He just transitioned to this approach in the last few months, and based on our talks, it’s working really well. From where I sit, his brand is stronger too.
Five Questions to Ask
As I nodded my head along with Marcus’ post, I found myself thinking, “ok, this is great, but where do I start?” In response to my question, I came up with several more. These are critical, in my opinion, to moving me from contemplation to action. Here goes:
- What’s your goal in discussing pricing on your website or in your content marketing? For me, the goal is to qualify leads so that I ultimately convert those folks into one of two groups: clients or referrals.
- What is the value of the service you provide? Are you clear in that? If not, then you’ll have a devil of a time discussing pricing, because you’re on the fence about it yourself. Once you become clear, the discussions that follow are not only easier, they’re empowering.
- Are you currently discussing value and pricing in your offline discussions with potential clients and referrals? If not, why not? This is a baby step for folks. You know the drill, there’s an initial get to know you meeting, you check each other out, determine if you can work together and then if you’re like me, you work up a proposal. What I’ve been doing more of lately, and with great results, is discussing pricing in the initial conversation. I do it before I take time to write up a proposal and before we’ve spent more than an hour or two together. What used to be an awkward part of the discussion is now a respectful use of both the client’s time and mine.
- What are the pros and cons of putting a price vs. a range vs. a minimum amount on your website? For me, this is where I become stuck. In my offline discussions, I discuss my minimum and I discuss my range and hourly rates. They have changed over the past 18 months due to market conditions, market research and increased value in the service that I provide. Why not do it online as well? For starters, things change. How often would you need to change pricing? See #2 and I’ll bet the changes will decrease.
- What will make you most comfortable and sustain your business? Remember, we can’t be all things to all people, nor can we all be Lions. We have to do what works for us and what will help not only grow our business, but sustain it. Start with what’s comfortable, test it and then grow from there. As Marcus suggests, just give it a try.
Ultimately, I will do what works for me and my business, with the primary goal of qualifying leads and ultimately converting those folks into not just clients, but kick-butt referrals. Let me know what you think!
Is it worth it to discuss pricing on your website and in your content marketing? Can you afford not to?
Money Image found via Flickr, by AMagill