My friend Robin Colucci and I were discussing boundaries and we answered the following email question:
“Cynthia, I run a consulting business and my prices are higher than what some other people in my field charge, but I also give a lot more value and include more services than my competitors. I’m struggling with what to do when I present my proposal and the client asks me to discount my services. How can I respond to their request without offending them? And secondly, how can I not feel bad saying no?”
Robin led the answer and among other very valuable insights said that we must not bend on our prices. Our goal must be clarity, discovering together whether the client really wants or needs the service and if they do they’ll be willing to pay for it. If they do not, it’s not a fit for them. Robin also noted that people who argue for discounts often become difficult clients.
I agreed. When it comes to professional services people value what they pay a fair price for far more than what they get at a discount. Further, when I had challenging clients (blessedly, I do not anymore) they were the ones who had fought me on price and subsequently on everything else.
I received the following comment after the show (paraphrased and edited for anonymity):
“Your last comment on your show about the people who cannot afford the payment rather bothered me. The thought that I am a difficult client to work with (because I ask you to reduce your rates), or I should go elsewhere because I cannot afford your services blows my mind.”
“Take nothing personally. These statements were made after coaching hundreds of people and experiencing firsthand that those who argue with you to reduce your pricing tend to then not value your work and argue about other things. Of course, not everyone is that way and it doesn’t mean you are. There is a coach available at every price point, some better than others, but many good. The truth is that coaches (or any other entrepreneurs) wouldn’t be able to feed their children or stay in business if they took every client and accepted discounted rates. This is not a judgment about a client’s inherent worthiness, it’s a clear understanding of what someone needs to do to successfully run their business.
Imagine buying a car. Would your mind be blown if a car salesperson told a customer that they couldn’t sell them a particular car because they couldn’t afford it, or that the customer was asking for too much of a discount to work with them? NO? Then are you’re saying that coaches/service providers can sacrifice their businesses, but the car dealer shouldn’t?
Careful here, this thought process can be self-harming. If this conversation bothers you, look for places in your own life that you’re condoning difficult relationships and accepting less than you need to thrive.”
Many of us are like the elephant above (we all experience this at some point). The power we have to shift our lives is restrained (chained) by our limiting beliefs.
There are at least two ways to see this situation: 1) everyone should lower their rates to accommodate everyone (and deal with the negative consequences), or 2) I can improve my life by increasing the harmony and prosperity in it and have what I choose.
You are the most powerful person in your life.
Do you agree? Share a comment and let me know.