My wife, Linda, and I attended a baseball game the other night. Despite living here in the Boston area, however, we did not go to see the Red Sox.
Rather, we drove west to nearby Worcester, Massachusetts to watch the Red Sox minor league team: the WooSox.
The truth is, I’m not much of a baseball fan. I enjoy watching for a little while, but as with pregnancy, I find that the whole thing is about three innings too long.
Even so, I was excited to see the WooSox because they are playing in a brand-new stadium, one that I had heard great things about. It did not disappoint.
Granted, it doesn’t offer the same Civil War-era-penitentiary charm of Fenway Park, but in terms of atmosphere and amenities, it’s pretty hard to beat.
… being picked up at a nearby parking garage and given a free ride by a roving, golfcart-driving stadium employee;
… a friendly usher who encouraged us to abandon our ninth-row seats and move up closer since, “the seats in the first four rows have extra padding;”
… a promenade around the stadium that invites you to take a stroll and watch the game from any angle at any time.
Total cost? Twenty-five dollars per ticket.
So here’s my question for you: Is that a “good” price?
I hope you said, “It depends.”
For some people, of course, the answer is no. They wouldn’t attend a baseball game even if the tickets were free.
For others – I count myself among them – $25 is a bargain. I would have happily paid twice that for the experience.
And that, my bobble-headed friend, is one of the problems with having to set a fixed price for a given product or service.
In the case of our WooSox seats, all of the people who place a value on them of $24.99 or less don’t come to the game. Obvious.
What’s not so obvious is that among those who do come, there’s a tremendous range of what they would be willing to pay.
Linda thought $25 seemed about right. I would have paid $50. The guy sitting next to me might have been willing to pay $100 (and judging by the clothes he was wearing, this is not a man who parts with money easily).
All of which means that when you set a price – any price – you are always leaving money on the table: Some of the people who bought would have been willing to pay more.
The same truth applies to selling a professional service: Some of your clients would have paid even more had you set a higher price.
Unfortunately, there is no definitive way to know who they are, how many there are, or how much more they would be willing to pay. But it does raise one very important, somewhat counterintuitive point worth keeping in mind:
Higher prices result in happier clients.
Think about it: Who enjoyed the baseball game the most the other night? It wasn’t me and it certainly wasn’t Linda. It was the guy who would have happily paid $100. To him, $25 was a steal (baseball joke).
The higher the price, of course, the fewer people who remain interested in whatever is being offered. But among those who stick around, you’re looking at the super-fans.
Likewise, as we raise our fees as professional service providers, we are also left with those who, for whatever reason (I like to think it’s my boyish charm), think we are high quality and have few equivalent substitutes.
But wait a second, you’ve no doubt just said out loud to the poorly dressed man in the seat next to you, if fewer people are interested in what I offer, isn’t that a problem?
Not really. You and I are not in the high-capacity business. If I get 15 new clients in a year, it’s a lot. Your number may be 25 or even 50. But it’s not 1,000. Market share is not our objective; we are looking for quality clients.
Higher Fees Are Not Just About Earning More Money
The people who are willing to pay you more are better clients. They are the ones who see something special in you.
They don’t go elsewhere because the lower-priced alternatives don’t compare to working with you. That makes them easier and more enjoyable to work with than those who only show up to your “baseball game” because the ticket is cheap.
High prices weed out the tire-kickers.
Here’s the bottom line.
All prospects, even the ones who hire you, are not created equal. Some see the magic you offer, others don’t.
There’s nothing wrong with the latter group. But if they view you as an easily replaceable commodity, they will be less satisfied with the work you do and always wondering if you’re really worth the price.
Raise your fees and say hello to the super-fans who eagerly show up to watch you play.
- Have you ever been inside a penitentiary? What were you in for?
- Where is your favorite place to promenade?
- What’s your number one piece of pricing advice?
Share your answers below…