Thoughts on discounting the price of your services

You’re awesome. You do all the right things for your clients. You give them the best service.So why are your client relationships so damn ... difficult? Why aren’t your clients listening to you? Why is it always an uphill battle? This could very well be a marketing problem. Really. Every client comes from somewhere. And every experience a client has leading up to the time they engage you shapes their perceptions of you and affects how they treat you. If you don’t think through what that experience is, you're compromising the quality of the client relationship before they ever work with you.

An Attorney Is an Attorney Is an Attorney ... Or not? - An example

Suppose a potential client first learns about you when comparing three attorneys. All of whom look pretty much identical online. How do you think they’ll perceive you? It won’t be as the expert. It won’t be as the problem solver. Why? Because you came from the same place as the other two attorneys. You’re nothing special. Suppose you’re in discussions with a potential client and they bring up price. You give them concessions to “win the business.” You know what they’ll think of you, right? You’re a discount provider. You’re not confident in your fees, maybe because the value isn’t there. All of these things are relatively subtle, but they all shape the larger perception of you. When potential clients have experiences like these, you position yourself as nothing special. Three cans of soup on the supermarket shelf.

Now, suppose you were going to have brain surgery. Would you negotiate price with the surgeon? Or would you do your research, get a couple of opinions, and choose the surgeon who is clearly the best choice? If everything leading up to the client engagement points to you as a commodity, you should expect to be treated like a commodity.

How to Fix the Problem

If you want people to view you differently than others, start by looking at where your clients are coming from. Start fixing where you’re marketing. How you’re marketing. The journey that each prospective client takes before they contact with you. Make sure you’re painting a picture of yourself as an expert, not a commodity. When the client actually does make contact with you, make sure that interaction is focused on your expertise. The fact that you’re exclusive. That means not cutting special deals that reek of desperation. Just because you want their business, you shouldn’t discount to get the business. This can be the hardest thing to do – or not to do. Culturally, most business people wrongly believe that it’s okay to throw a bone to a prospect to close the deal. In reality, the right clients aren’t looking for discounts. They’re looking for expertise. When you market your expertise to people who want expertise, you can charge more for fewer clients.