When I first started out working for myself as an accountant - I fell into the same trap. I priced my services a little lower than what the prospects were currently paying their existing accountant. I was so keen for new business (understandably) and even more eager to please - there was no strategy. Sure - I picked up clients very quickly. Why wouldn’t I? But I was easily becoming a busy fool. I was also offering massive value to my clients for such a small fee. I was investing many hours in my clients for very little in return.
So what was the issue?
Well, let me take you back a few years to when I actually realised the problem and got to fixing it. In 2013, I made one of the best business decisions I’ve made so far. I got myself a business mentor. He taught me many valuable lessons and strategies which I will carry with me for a long time. But the thing that most stands out is this: until you really value yourself - and the value of what you bring to the table, then you will never ever get your pricing right. Isn’t this so true. How do you ever expect your clients to value you and recognise your unique qualities until you know what these are yourself? How can you sell your services and get people buying from you if you don’t really believe in what you do?
There are many pricing strategies and psychologies which you may adopt - and I have researched many over the last few years and urge you to do the same. But before you even look at any of them, look at yourself - look within. Work on yourself and have the confidence to know you’re worth it and in turn, you will be able to price so much better.
Have you ever recognised that by offering a low fee to a client you are actually doing them a disservice? You need to charge a fee that allows you to do the best job possible for them and to the best of your ability. If this is the type of high value, platinum service you want to provide then that’s not cheap. Anyone can get anything done for a very low price but what value will they receive in return? So - be true to your clients by charging a fair price that allows you to offer incredible customer experience.
Another way you can develop your pricing is to work on how you can become the key person of influence; the expert in your industry. How and where do you even start? Well start small - something is always better than nothing and progress, not perfection should be your mantra. Top tips - get networking, build relationships and talk to people! Start blogging and give valuable information away for free. Consider writing a book and look for opportunities to speak publicly. In other words, take every opportunity you get to raise your personal brand and company profile. It will take time and won’t happen overnight but nows the time to make a start. Before you know it your reputation will precede you and you will begin to know your own value which will lead to better pricing decisions.
Claire Stewart is first and foremost, Mum to Maddie and Emily and wife to Will. Along with her business partner she founded Cartmill Stewart & Co Chartered Accountants in 2014. They are passionate about the exceptional service they offer to their clients and go well beyond the regular tax and accountancy services that you would expect for your accountant. They specialise in cloud accounting set up and training and as a business operate almost completely in the cloud which is the only way forward. Services include business mentoring, business strategy and ultimately they are recognised by their clients as another member of their team. They regularly run business and networking events.
Claire regularly speaks at business seminars, workshops and also volunteers with Women in Business as a mentor; both on the mentor programme in association with Advance Coaching and Power of 4 programme. She also volunteers with Young Enterprise NI on a regular basis.
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You can also connect with Claire on LinkedIn or twitter @ClaireStewartCA or through her business blog on Instagram - @ladies_side_by_side.