In the Trailblazers Collaborative we talk a lot about pricing – pricing for new programs, revising pricing for established programs, raising your prices and the list goes on, pricing is a big deal.
When someone asks if their pricing of their $10k-$20k programs is right because they are having a hard time signing clients, 9 times out of 10 I have the same answer.
The problem isn’t your price.
Even if your prospects are saying that they can’t afford you, the problem is not your pricing.
If you are an experienced coach or professional practitioner and you’re having trouble signing clients into your high level packages the problem lies in your messaging, not your price-point.
This messaging mis-match will show up in three areas:
1. Straddling multiple avatars
2. Addressing the wrong problem/offering the wrong solution
3. The promise isn’t tangible and/or clear enough
All three of these are really common problems, even for online entrepreneurs who have “been around the block” and once they’re cleaned up, your $10k-$20k programs will sell with ease.
So let’s explore them a little deeper…
1. Straddling multiple avatars
This is most common when a coach or professional practitioner is upleveling their own business and want to work with a higher level audience, but they are afraid of alienating those that are already in their community. By being inclusive of who you used to work with, you’re going to continue to attract those prospects who aren’t a fit for your new offers and the people you DO want to attract aren’t going to trust that you understand their needs.
If this is you, you need to get super clear on who your ideal client is for your $10-$20k offers and make sure that you are speaking directly to them. Using examples of the problem you solve in the language that they use, and promising the exact outcomes that they are trying to achieve.
When you can nail down your messaging you’ll begin to attract more of these ideal clients and selling your programs for $10k-$20k will be easy.
2. You’re addressing the wrong problem/offering the wrong solution
If you’re having to educate your audience on why they need your solution, then chances are you fall into this category. Prospects aren’t going to invest in a $10k-$20k program unless it will solve a problem they are already painfully aware of. Sometimes what you see as a problem for your audience is not something they see themselves, and you need to put the problem into their language. Once you do that, you’ll be surprised at the attention your offers get.
On the other hand, you may have the problem right but your solution doesn’t match up for your audience. Sometimes with your level of experience you might be overcomplicating the explanation or even the offer itself because you know so much more than the prospect and they’re having a hard time wrapping their head around what you’re saying.
And as you know, a confused mind always says “no.”
3. Your promise isn’t tangible and/or clear enough
What you’re intending to say and how it’s being received are different. Usually this occurs because of a lack of clarity on your part of who you want to work with and/or what you’re really offering. This is very common when you’ve “outgrown” the business or audience you started with and want to begin incorporating new skills and offerings that are more in alignment with who you are now.
This can be a frustrating place because you may feel like a “beginner” again who is all over the place even though you have years of experience.
In all three of these cases, the solution is the same.
It’s time to get back to the basics and get clear on:
Who are the ideal clients for your $10k-$20k offer
What is the exact problem you are going to solve
What is the outcome you are going to help them get
…then make sure all of your marketing is in alignment.
This might mean updating copy on your sales pages, writing and speaking about new topics in your marketing, and making sure that you’re saying the right things during your sales conversations.
You can start here:
1. Revisit your offer and exactly who you want to work with
You may have known the answers to this question when you started, but as you began implementing fear has caused you to fall back into old habits so now you’re marketing is unclear. Go back and recommit to the ideal client you want to work with and what the best way to solve their problem.
2. Do some market research
The best way to make sure that you’re focusing on the right problem and offering the right solution is to talk to your audience. Interview people that you think would be a great fit and ask them what challenges they’re facing, and if they think your solution would work for them.
3. Audit your marketing
If you feel like you’ve gotten everything “right” as best you can, have someone who hasn’t worked with you and preferably isn’t even familiar with your work yet, review your sales pages or marketing materials and get their perspectives. Ask them questions like, “what questions came up for you as you were reading?”, “is this program something they would participate in?”, and “what do you think is missing?”
This information will help you create marketing that will attract people that are looking for someone just like you and help you communicate clearly why you’re the right choice.
The moral of the story is, your pricing isn’t what is blocking sales. It’s time to get your messaging on-track and in alignment with where you’re going with your business.
P.S. Are you having trouble getting out of your $3k-$5k “sweet spot” even though you help your clients do amazing things?
If you’re committed to taking your business to the next level and want to start making $10k-$20k offers and sell them successfully, book a call and let’s talk.
I can help you:
– Get clear on where your marketing is going wrong and why
– Figure out if you’re targeting the right audience so you can do your best work
– Map out your $10k-$20k offer and the exact language to deliver to prospects
– Plan the exact content you will share in your marketing and website to build interest in your $10-$20k offer
– Create your sales process for moving your prospects from awareness to sale as easily as possible
Raising your prices is something you should be doing on a regular basis, but it’s not uncommon for service professionals to raise their prices and then have to go back to where they were because their prospects can’t afford them.
Now in some cases this is warranted… though rarely. Because most of the time if you’re raising your prices, you’ve done your research and know that:
Others are charging similar prices with as much (or less) experience that you have.
The value of the results you provide far outweigh the price tag.
So, let me be frank, you aren’t off your rocker and your pricing isn’t the problem.
I’m willing to wager that there is something off in the message you’re delivering with your marketing.
The higher level your pricing, the more tuned in to your market you need to be in order for them to understand the value right away, and to make sure that you’re attracting the right people in the first place.
Recently I was interviewed about how I help my Trailblazers Collaborative clients dial in their messaging and I wanted to share with you one of the exercises that we talked about.
When it comes to your target audience we’ve all been taught it’s all about narrowing things down and getting specific.
While specificity is important, the word “narrow” is one I want to put the kibosh on because it immediately kicks up fear that will actually block you from attracting the right people.
When you’re told to narrow your audience, it feels very limiting. The word “narrow” makes you fear, that you won’t be able to serve as many clients as you wish, or be able to deliver all of the magic you have up your sleeves.
Instead, I want you to think about how you can deepen your target audience.
When you deepen your target audience, you deepen the level of connection you have with your ideal clients by making them feel heard and understood.
Without further ado, let me share with you the three levels of target audience.
1. The first level is your target market.
This is what you traditionally start with by answering the question “what is the demographic of the people you want to serve?”
Are we talking to men? Are we talking to women? Are we talking to both? Are they married? Are they single? Are they divorced? Are they in certain age ranges, certain kinds of jobs, certain industry, how many kids do they have? Do they not have kids?
Most of the time, this demographic doesn’t help at all with knowing what types of content they will relate to, however sometimes it does help with targeting for ads or identifying marketing outlets.
So let’s go deeper…
2. Who within that market are your ideal clients?
Your ideal clients have special qualities, attitudes, and values that make them the type of people that you do your best work with. Consequently, they are also the type of people that are most likely going to buy your programs.
A common mistake service professionals make when they are narrowing (instead of deepening) their target audience, is to narrow down to a market that isn’t actually going to be interested, or in many cases able to pay, for their services.
Who you’re marketing to needs to value your services and be prepared to pay for them.
Let’s say you have a dog walking business and your demographic are people that live in cities, they have families, they are working 10 to 12 hours day. They need their dog taken care of during that time because they obviously don’t want to come home to a mess. This is your Target Market.
What kind of qualities would someone have that would make them an ideal client for a dog walker?
Maybe they treat their dogs like they would children. They bake homemade dog treats and buy the more premium brands of dog food. Maybe they get Bark Box for their dog every month because they want them to be stimulated and not get bored living an apartment life.
These people are already spending extra money on their dog’s well being, they are demonstrating how important their dog is to them. Do you see how those qualities would lead them into wanting your services?
An unideal client would be someone that is perfectly happy leaving their dog loose in the house or in a crate for the day. They buy regular food at the store and sometimes get new toys, but only when they can afford it. They have different priorities and attitude toward their dog, and probably wouldn’t see the value in having an Class-A dog walker come to their house every day.
We’ve looked at one side of the spectrum, and the other, and of course there’s going to be people at many levels in between. For our marketing though, we want to focus on those who are ideal clients that we want to sell our services to. Not only will they be more likely to buy, they are going to be a heck of a lot more fun to work with.
3. Level three is your avatar.
When deepening to the avatar level, we’re going to pick one person in the group of ideal clients that we are going to market to specifically.
Now, you’re probably saying, “But Holly, you said we weren’t narrowing, that’s scary. I’m only going to market to one person?”
Yes, and here’s why.
Going deep is different than going narrow, because you aren’t arbitrarily eliminating traits or circumstances, you are speaking to your best prospects in a way that they feel heard.You can use specific examples that they relate to, you can speak to their fears and desires, and you can go much deeper into how you’re going to help them.
And believe me, even though we are using the fears, desires, stories etc. of one person we are speaking to THOUSANDS because there are so many others just like them, that wish someone understood what they were going through. And of course, YOU are that person.
Going back to the dog walker examples.
Let’s say your avatar is a family who owns chihuahuas. Their concerns are going to be MUCH different than someone who owns a Saint Bernard for example.
Chihuahua’s are nervous and can be aggressive toward other dogs (or people). They are very delicate and can be easily stepped on with horrible injuries. They can easily slip out of harnesses. They are the kind of dog that you carry around in your purse instead of leaving home (but obviously you can’t carry them to work with you).
In your marketing, you may not mention chihuahua’s specifically, you might just create a service for “small dogs” but you will use the things you know about the avatar above in your marketing.
When you’re using very specific language that speaks to the fears that a specific person has related to their situation, and the desires that they have for, in this case, their animal, you can market to them in a very effective way.
You could create an ad, or a flier, or content, around why you only walk small dogs. Because you understand how delicate they are, and how they might be a little bit more nervous than larger dogs, because clearly they have to be afraid of being stepped on. You can speak to the heart of that owner, their worries, their fears, and they know, “Oh this person gets it,” or at the very least, “Oh, I don’t have to worry about that with this person.”
This is how you speak to your prospects in a way that makes them think you’re reading their minds. Ultimately, they’ll want to work with no one but you because you understand them so well.
In summary, the more your marketing connects with your ideal clients, the more of the right people you will attract and they will value working with you.
Now here’s one last tidbit that I’d like to share with you…
Bonus Round: You can have multiple avatars.
I do not recommend having multiple target markets, but you can market to multiple avatars either with separate or the same offers.
Going back to the dog walker example for continuity sake. You could create ads for small dogs, and different ads for large dogs but still offer them the same pricing and packages. You just walk the dogs at different times so you can cater to their specific needs.
In this way, your prospects still feel heard, they feel like your services and your packages are geared toward people like them, but you’re still able to serve multiple levels within your audience.
Now what do you do with this information?
Well first of all, obviously you could take this and apply it to your marketing, and look at the three levels of target audience for you.
Sometimes it’s easier to practice with an industry and offer that is NOT yours, kind of like how I just took dog walkers, maybe you could take dentists or bakers.
Your first step is to apply this concept to that industry and answer these questions:
What would be the target market?
How would you describe the ideal client?
Who would be an avatar that you could specifically market your services to?
What are the problems that they have and how are you going to satisfy those as whatever service provider you are?
Oftentimes it’s easier to apply concepts to someone else’s business because there isn’t pressure to “get it right,” you’ll find that the strategy feels more concrete and applying it to your own business is a piece of cake.
P.S. Have you recently changed your prices and are now having trouble signing clients?
If you’re committed to taking your business to the next level and want help figuring out what’s going wrong, let’s talk.
I can help you:
– Get clear on whether your pricing or your messaging is the problem
– Figure out if you’re targeting the right audience
– Pinpoint where your marketing is going wrong and why
– Give you next steps to align your offers and pricing with your goals
– Show you how I can help you align your marketing with your next level of growth
But what if you want to do more than that one thing, or if you want to do something entirely different?
This is where I found myself a few years ago when I decided I didn’t want to build websites anymore.
At the time I was 7 years into my business, I had high profile clients who after having a great experience with me were sending me their clients.
It was a great gig, and website production was 70% of my revenue.
I also wasn’t enjoying it. Not only was I not enjoying the work, but it was so time consuming that there was nothing left for what I really wanted to do. As a result I was unhappy and burning out (while also raising toddlers).
So it was time to change what I was known for… without alienating my audience or referral partners, and without losing revenue.
While this probably sounds much easier said than done, it honestly was totally within reach and the hardest part was dealing with the fear of transition.
Here is what I did and also the same steps I’ve guided clients through when making similar transitions:
1. Change the conversation
How did you become known for what you do? You talked about your services, your philosophy behind why you do things the way you do, you told stories about your clients and their successes, and so on. You can do all of these things and work in your new direction.
For most coaches and self-employed practitioners their “shift” isn’t a complete 180 turn into a completely different direction but something much more subtle.
For me I wanted to shift from being known for website design to being known for branding and messaging. This meant making a subtle shift in my marketing and talking about the strategy behind your website and what you need to know before you dive into a website project versus talking about the website strategy itself.
My audience was obviously still interested in web-marketing so even though I changed the conversation they were still on-board.
To use an example from another industry, let’s say you are a therapist that wants to bring in more metaphysical modalities into your practice. You would begin to introduce those modalities and tell stories about what they can do for your clients.
Changing the conversation really only takes a decision and a bit of planning, once you take the leap most of my clients are surprised at how accepting their audience is of the new message and have even more respect for their work.
2. Raise the barrier
This step isn’t for everyone but when you’re making a shift in services but aren’t ready to eliminate the work you’re known for, if you begin to raise the price of that service it will do two things for your business.
1. You’ll automatically get less people buying the service, but at a higher price point which frees up time and doesn’t impact your revenue as drastically.
2. You’ll open up space for your new services at the price point your clients are used to.
For me this meant unbundling my brand messaging services into their own package. Then I raised the prices of website design because now that service included branding + design which made it even more desirable, and at a price that made it worth the extra work.
What’s interesting here is that my services didn’t actually change, I had always done branding as a prelude to the website design. But now that I was talking about it differently, the perceived value of the work changed.
3. Eliminate old offers when your new ones get traction
This is important, in many cases if you eliminate the offers you’re known for right away you’re going to immediately lose revenue, but when you allow your new offers to get traction you’ll find that they will naturally begin to replace your old offers. When people are coming to you just for your new offers, you know that it’s time to let go of the old.
Even though I decided in 2016 that I was “done with websites” I didn’t discontinue them until 2017. By then I was only getting a few website projects here and there and more people were coming to me solely for brand messaging. I found partners to support my clients over the long term so I could step away with a clear conscience.
This actually isn’t the last step but I know some of you will be wondering at what point do you “rebrand” and the answer is that you’ve been rebranding all along.
Rebranding is changing what you’re known for.
In my example I was changing what I was known for over an 18 month period, and redid my website once my old services had been completely eliminated to bring closure to what was and step fully into the new direction.
Sometimes that is how it works and other times it makes sense to do the “rebrand” of your website and visual materials much sooner. When I rebranded a second time between 2018-2019 I started with the website and let that lead the change in conversation. In this case the new message just couldn’t live under the old visual identity.
The most important step in all of this is to change the conversation, you’ll become known for whatever you’re sharing as long as you’re consistent and visible. So decide what that new direction is and what you want to say with your new message, who you want to attract, and begin sharing that now.
I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how your audience responds… and if they don’t then you know you have more work to do on your message and you’ll be thankful you didn’t abandon what was working for you in the meantime.
I had a new client sign on recently that has a really incredible offer that is making a huge impact for people–but their sales have plateaued and it seemed like it was taking more and more effort just to maintain their numbers.
Upon looking at their website, it was pretty obvious what the problem was.
Even though the design looks professional, they have beautifully done photos, a clean layout, and a well produced video–the content itself was too focused on what the product “was” and not who it was for, or what it would do for them.
In short, they lack a clear message and so their website was doing a terrible job of communicating the value of their work.
This means that all of the work they are doing to market themselves and get more clients is pretty much going to waste.
Where they WERE getting clients was from non-leveraged means like referrals and local networking, both strategies where you can have a real conversation with people and talk about their needs.
These are great strategies but after a while when you’re playing in a small pond… the leads tend to dry up.
So, how do we fix the problem?
We get clear on the message and who it is for and make sure that’s clear in your marketing.
We put together a marketing plan that gets that message in front of more of the right people.
I’d like to share with you what this process actually looked like incase you’re experiencing similar challenges.
We started with 2 mini VIP days which are 3 hour sessions about a week apart (I’ll explain why they were spaced out in a moment)
In the first session we worked on messaging, where we:
Clarified their target audience and found two really great niches that their offer is perfect for, and that compliment each other which makes marketing easy.
Got clear on what their offer really does plus how and why it works, then put that into simple to understand language (no small feat!)
Mapped out the steps clients take and made their process feel really tangible and could be used in marketing material.
Spent time envisioning the business model they wanted to create and planned the levels and price points that would be appropriate for their market.
Brainstormed topic ideas that share their message, speak to their ideal clients, and can be used to feed their marketing outlets.
Then we took a week off for them to integrate their decisions, start to feel into their new vision, and become aware of the fears and obstacles that come up so we could discuss them in our second meeting.
(This is super important because too often a plan sounds great in the moment… but after the dust settles you get worried about whether you’re making the right decisions.)
On my end, I compiled all of the pieces of their messaging into a reference document that can be used going forward as they implement their new message.
In the second session we got into planning mode and outlined what their next 6 months would look like as they shifted into clearer marketing.
We talked about:
A phased plan for integrating their new messaging, and shifting into their new business model and marketing.
How to adapt their current site to fit with the new vision (without redoing it)
What to do with their current clients and workshops already on the calendar so they could continue to move forward.
Made a concrete short-term (before website updated) and long-term (after website updated) marketing plan.
An easy way for them to repurpose work they were already doing and create recurring revenue without finding new clients.
After we got off the call I compiled my notes into a detailed project plan plus instructions (with screenshots and notations) for how to rework their website, incorporate their new messaging into their current marketing materials, and what to put into their opt in follow up sequence.
Now, they have everything they need to take their small niche offering into a global market.
PLUS – Since they are also joining the Trailblazers Collaborative they will have ongoing support from me, along with the masterclass archive that walks them through most of the projects we outlined.
Based on the conservative goals we set, my estimate is that they will double their revenue by this time next year.
Would you like my help getting beyond your current plateau and bringing your business into it’s next evolution?
We’ve all heard it before; analyze your competition.
But somewhere along the line, “competition” has kind of become a dirty word in business. It implies that we need to pit ourselves against one another, fighting for the same space, in order to get ahead.
But when you believe in abundance like I do, you know there is more than enough clients to go around, and there is going to be clients that are right for you and vice versa. There is no need to compare yourself, or your business, to others out there.
However, that’s not to say you shouldn’t check out your so-called “competition” anyway.
Because looking at your competition will give you good information on how to define your own services and describe the value of what you offer, without copying or taking away from anyone else.
Let me explain.
I define competition as anything your prospects could use to solve their problem, or attempt to solve their problem … other than hiring you.
If someone could decide that they’re going to figure it out on their own, the DIY route is your competition.
So let’s do a competition analysis and use it to come up with your own juicy language. Ready?
Step 1: Make a list of 5 competitors
Think of the different ways people could get the help they need. This could be hiring someone else in your industry, going with another type of business, using an app, reading a book, taking a course, using free resources on the Internet. Basically anything a prospect could seek information and help from, rather than working with you.
Step 2: Compare and contrast
Next, go through your list and compare how the competition does things versus you. For each person or thing in your list, look at these 3 things:
Their philosophy: Analyze how they describe the problem potential clients face and how they run their business.
Their methodology: Look at how they work, how they solve the problem. You can also look at what modalities they use or how their programs are structured.
Their promise: What is the end result offered if clients do things they way they recommend?
For each competitor, answer these questions but most importantly, think about how you compare.
What are advantages and disadvantages of looking at things their way?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of looking things your way?
What objections might there be?
Step 3: Develop your own language and value proposition
From your answers, you can start to see what really makes you stand out, the different angles of your own brand and use that information to create language around it.
The goal of this exercise is to help you develop your own philosophies and come up with the language you will use to describe your business. This language will be how the right clients know they resonate with you. It will help you connect with the right clients.
I know there are more than enough clients to go around. But looking at your competitors is still useful in helping you understand where you fit in. This exercise will show you how valuable you really are, how good you are at what you do and why clients should work with you.
Humans are awesome and you have talents that you may think everyone else has, but are really unique to you. These anomalies belong in your brand!
Have you seen those videos on Facebook of people doing amazing things?
Like people who can create beautiful art out of colorful sand on a street corner. Or those who can memorize a deck of cards in under a minute.
The thing is that humans can do the most awe-inspiring things. We all have so much magic in us.
Yes, you have magic too.
Everyone has some kind of talent or magic that they may not even be aware of because they think it’s “normal” but others see them as an anomaly.
Perhaps you do recognize the fact that you can do certain things really well, but you take them for granted because you think there are many others that can do the same thing.
Or on the other hand, you might think your talent or skill makes you weird and you hide it because you’re afraid you will be judged. This fear can stem from an incident that happened years ago. Maybe someone made a comment when you were a kid and you thought you needed to hide your talent in order to belong.
But here’s the thing…. the things that come naturally, the things that you can do almost effortlessly, are what make you special.
And if you’re hiding your talent from the rest of the world (or at the very least, not spotlighting it), you’re hiding a huge piece of yourself and your brand. You are an anomaly, and your uniqueness deserves to be discovered and displayed to the world!
This is exactly what I help people do.
I help my clients find their magic and infuse it into their brand, marketing and offers so they can make more money doing what comes naturally for them.
When people know you can do what you do, they see your magic and are drawn to it. In fact, your personal magic could mean the difference between someone hiring you or choosing to work with someone else.
In the online space, there are so many entrepreneurs that there is bound to be someone else who offers services similar to yours. But those people are not you, they don’t have the same skills, talents, experiences, or point of view that you do. They don’t have the “something” that only you can bring into your brand.
So many of us have grown up thinking we need to fit in and stick to the status quo that we ignore the things that actually make us the most special.It’s time to own what makes you an anomaly. Bring your magic into your business and it will help you stand out to the people you are meant to serve.
Be unapologetic about your talents and bring it to the forefront of your marketing so people can know how incredible you really are.