line in the road
Whether or not you can afford my services is none of my business. Your wallet, your budget, has no impact on my pricing. Oh, I can hear it now, “But, my customer isn’t willing to pay that much!”

So get new customers.

Sounds heartless. I understand why this concept is difficult for so many business owners to get. It comes down to fear. Fear of never getting another paying customer again. Fear of all of your existing clients abandoning you and not liking you. Fear of having to go back to that full-time job you just quit.

I get it.

Here are the changes I made in order to start minding my own business with confidence:

I had to stop talking to the wrong people.

How do you get in front of the right people? The ones who both need your services and can afford them?

Start by stopping.

Stop wasting your time talking to the wrong people. If you are still talking to the people who balk at your pricing, then you are talking to the wrong people.

Here are a couple of concrete changes:

  1. I realized when I outgrew my networking group, and I left. My business had moved beyond the contacts and leads that I could find in that group. The group had been crucial in the first two years of my business. So, I highly recommend a good networking group if you are just getting started and need to practice talking about your business. You will get plenty of opportunities to speak 1-on-1 and in front of small groups.
  2. I hired a commission-based part-time salesperson. She answers the phone and makes the initial callbacks to personally follow-up with inquiries. Having her as a buffer and filter frees up so much time.
  3. I decline invitations to meet strangers for coffee. Instead, I encourage them to have coffee with my salesperson. No salesperson? I might say something like, “I wish I could get coffee. I don’t have the bandwidth right now.”
  4. I’ve learned to exit conversations with the wrong people sooner.
    When you stop talking to the wrong people, then you are going to have more time and energy to talk with the right people.

How I get in front of the right people.

Once I had more time to spend building relationships with the right people, I had to figure out how to get in front of them. The two biggest factors in getting in front of the right people have been

  1. knowing who the right people are—my best customers and people just like them
  2. saying yes to opportunities to meet or talk with the right people.

For me, the “right people” means clients who:

  • are able to pay for my services
  • appreciate my work
  • pay on time
  • treat me and my team with respect

How I attract more of the right people

Your target audience of the right people has different expectations.

Here is how I started sending the right messages to meet these expectations:

  1. The first and most powerful gauge of quality is price. If your services are not priced high enough then many prospects will not take you seriously.
    If someone is price shopping, then I will lose that game every single time. So I don’t play that game. Raising your price may be the only change you need to make to start reaching your ideal client.
  2. Customers who pay more expect a custom package of services. They might ask for a website design but what they will really say yes to is a website design with follow-up support. It’s a package deal.
  3. Customers who understand the value of my services look for indicators of professionalism and accessibility. I set up a business phone number through Grasshopper and put my new phone number all over my website. I wanted to appear more accessible and professional. Truth is, I’m just as accessible and professional as I’ve always been. Many of my best customers are the ones who just picked up the phone and called.
  4. Discerning customers look for proof of quality. Testimonials, video demonstrations of skill, writing examples, etc. Professionally produced video has been one of the most expensive investments I’ve made in my company. But, that investment almost doubled the number of inquiries through my website, making it a must-have.
  5. I refined my ideal customer avatars and modified my marketing copy to match my customer avatars. I know I’m connecting with my prospects when they complete my inquiry form with “you are telling my story exactly” and “what you are offering is just what I need”.

Drop the baggage

I’ve discovered something through my conversations with other business owners about pricing. Some people have this idea that making ridiculous amounts of money for their services is wrong. They can’t imagine why anyone would pay THAT much for what they do—and so no one does.

I’ve never thought this way so getting over this mental hurdle is a mystery for me. I would love to hear your thoughts about this in the comments below.

Minding my own business means I don’t confuse the needs of someone else’s company with the needs of my own company. My customers are usually not my friends. Don’t get me wrong. I like them a lot and we get along well. I can even sympathize with their various plights. Still, their problems are not my problems. By minding my own business, I am free of the distractions that come with minding everyone else’s business.
Comment or ask a question below.

Welcome to WebDev Success. I’m Emily Journey and this podcast is where I take a hard look at the challenges facing the website development industry. Learn how to attract loyal customers, how to raise your prices with confidence, and take steps to craft the work life you’ve always wanted. Subscribe, listen in and develop brilliantly.

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Hi, I’m Emily Journey. I founded and lead a website consulting agency with six coworkers. This blog is where I write about the things I’ve learned at my real job.
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