In the previous article, I wrote about the importance of understanding your value to enable you to charge what you’re worth and focussed on your expertise. In this article, I’ll discuss the two other key aspects of understanding your value which are the client’s need and your general self-worth.
Because you don’t really understand your value, you probably set your fees based on what other people in your market charge. Perhaps you’ve heard that you should never be the cheapest or the most expensive in your market, so you set your fees somewhere between the two extremes. However, to really appreciate the value of the work you do, you also have to understand your clients’ needs.
To do this, ask the client quality, open questions to find out what the problem is.
Open questions are questions that can’t be answered with a simple one-word answer and begin with words like ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’, ‘how’, ‘who’ or ‘why’. When you ask these questions, let the client answer without interruptions, prompting or leading. Asking questions where they can only answer yes or no, will not give you the information you need.
The purpose of this is to establish what “pain” the client is experiencing and how extreme that pain is. The greater the pain, the more likely they are to use your services and pay you what you’re worth. Of course the reverse is also true.
People use service professionals because they have a problem that they need solving. You need to find out what solving the problem will be worth to them and what will the problem cost them if it’s not resolved.
One of my clients, an accountant, charges his clients £175 an hour. Before he started working with me, he did a lot of work for clients that he never charged them for. Every time he did work for nothing, it was costing him £175 an hour. Obviously, that wasn’t good for business. It wasn’t good for him either because like many professional service providers, he had lots of internal conflict going on because he knew he should be charging for all the additional work.