Tuesday May 10, 2016
Often, coaches and business owners struggle to choose whether to give services like consultations and evaluations away for free, or to charge for them.
On the one hand, the consultation is necessary for you to gather information that you need to perform the service, and it's an expenditure of your time for your client's benefit.
On the other hand, the client isn't getting any direct value from the interaction, so can you still ask them to pay for your time?
When you're trying to decide between giving your time away for free, or charging for something with no immediate benefit, I suggest... taking a third option.
Here's how I made my time more valuable, so my client was happy to pay me for it:
A few years ago, I was hired to write the "about me" page for a business coach. In order to do this, I needed to get her story from her, which involved spending about 45 minutes talking with her and drawing out the details.
I wanted to be paid for my time, but I also wanted to ensure that everything she paid me for was valuable to her.
I decided that, instead of giving my time for free, I would make my time more valuable.
I made her an offer: while I was getting her story, I would also teach her how to tell that story in a way that was compelling to her audience.
I'd help her to determine what details to include and in what order, so that her story would build her audience's trust and make them desire the same transformation and results that she'd experienced.
This would help to increase her sales during talks and presentations, in any ebooks she wrote, and in any other situation where she needed to introduce herself and build a connection with her audience.
She agreed to my proposal, and I was able to give her even more value than we'd originally planned, while being compensated for my time.
How can you apply this to your business?
Here are a few steps you can use today to start giving your clients more value, so you can get paid more for your time:
1. Examine your business to see where you're giving your time away for free.
Consultations, evaluations, and time you spend gathering information to give quotes are examples of situations where you might be spending time but not being paid.
2. Once you've identified these situations, ask yourself: "How can I make this interaction more valuable?"
For example, if you normally give free consultations to gather information and see if you and the client a good fit, you could include some education, advice, handouts or resources with the consultation.
Or if you evaluate businesses, relationships, websites, etc. to see whether and where they need improvement, so that you can give quotes or determine which of your services to offer the client, you could make the assessment and resulting advice a product in and of itself.
3. Stand by your value.
If you aren't secure in your own value, it can be tempting to give too much away for free, because you don't feel like your contribution is worth the price you're asking.
If you feel like this, take a moment to think about the transformation you'll create in your clients' lives.
How much extra money will they make, or how much will they save, because of you?
How much time will they save, and how will your service affect their health, relationships, happiness, and overall quality of life?
Remember, the value of your service doesn't just depend on the amount of time you spend on it. It's also influenced by the effect that it has on your clients.
It's also important to bear in mind that your clients actually benefit from paying you.
By getting them to invest in themselves, you help them to understand on a visceral level that they're worth spending time and money on.
You also give them extra incentive to actually put your advice to use, because they don't want to waste the money they spent.
So please take a few minutes today to notice where you're giving your time away for free, and to come up with ways make that time more valuable to your clients.
Are you giving any of your time or services for free?
How can you make them more valuable, and get paid for them?
I look forward to your comments.