The best and the worst thing that you can go through as a biz owner is possibly raising your prices. It's awesome because it means that your business is growing, but it's always has the potential to be super awkward and uncomfortable when you need to have the “price is going up” conversation with your repeat clients. Here are some super simple ways for you to handle a price increase with your clients in a way they’ll love you more than ever.
Methods to Deal
"THE FINE PRINT"
There are probably a few places on your website or in your print materials where you could insert some fine print outlining and allowing any future price increases. It will give you the opportunity, as a business owner, to be able to change your prices at the drop of a hat (with a simple acknowledgement of your fine print). The downside of this is of course of action is that most clients do not read the fine print. At some point you're potentially still going to have to actually speak to clients about the increase. However, the bonus is being able to fall back on what the "fine print" says.
“As outlined in the 2016 Pricing Guide the current price of X will be increasing at the beginning of next month.”
Having it worded like the example above takes a little pressure off you, and lets you take emotions out of the decision. Instead, it becomes an anticipated business move.
"THE LAST MINUTE OPPORTUNITY"
Portraying your soon-to-be price increase almost as a last minute "sale" can help you move some items out the door or book up the last few slots you still have open. If set up properly, your clients will hopefully feel as though they are getting a great deal (and equally, will be aware of your new prices).
“Snag your favorite images as a canvas before the prices rise! Get them while they’re only $X!”
Regardless whether you're raising the prices on canvases or tote bags, this method always helps to get a large amount of orders placed. Clients appreciate the heads up and the reminder to snag their favorite items.
"THE HONOR SYSTEM"
One question that frequently pops up is how to handle people who have shown interest in or booked you when you were at a certain price, but maybe weren't scheduled to work with you until after you've raised your prices. Personally, if a client has actually booked (like money on the table) we honor every single price that was set at that time - even if they didn't know what all the prices were. So, for instance, we've had clients pay our session retainer fee at the end of one year although their session isn't until the spring of next year. If, at that time, prices for our packages, services or anything else have gone up, they still get the old prices. It's what we call the honor system and it's one of the ways in which we show our clients love.
However, if a not-yet-booked client expresses interest in us and we talk briefly about prices but they don't actually schedule anything, we we charge the newly-increased price. If they return to us some months later when prices have increased, start the entire process over again.
“As we've recently restructured our packages and offerings, we'd like to go over all of this with you like you’re a brand new client.”
Wording it like the example above forces any awkwardness out the window and makes it very clear where we stand.
There are a bunch of businesses we know that have an annual rise in their prices, usually in January of every year. They are very open about this to their clients, and may even reference it throughout the year. It reassures clients that prices will remain the same throughout the calendar year, but it also makes them very aware of growing business decisions. This also helps to set your business as "premium" - since your clients are aware of the yearly price increase.
“Every January we reassess our offerings, at which time there will most likely be a price increase. Book your services now to lock into the current rate.”
This example also helps to create a sense of urgency, which urges potential fence-sitters to go ahead and book with you.
We'd love to hear your fears, hesitations or ways of handling the dreaded price increase conversation with your clients. Do you sneak it in and hope they don't ask questions? Do you still talk about it awkwardly as though you don't deserve the higher price? Or have you found ways of navigating it successfully?
Need help planning the bigger picture? We want you to be able to dive in further into making your biz profitable. We want you to shake off the overwhelming thoughts that it’s “always about the numbers” and understand that there are distinct strategies that you can use to get there. Before you get there you need a plan. Yes, an actual written down plan. Some might call it a business plan. We like to call it “Party in my Biz Pants, Because Now I Know What the Heck is Going On Plan”. Rolls right off the tongue, yeah?
We wouldn’t want you to head out to make this plan without some guidance. Heck, not just guidance, but we want to give you the freaking worksheet to make the plan. Oh, and it’s free.Happy day! We created The Easiest Business Plan Ever and you can grab your free copy by heading here.
Pop in your first name and email and we’ll send it right over. Here’s what we DON’T want you to do: please do not go download it and love it but let it die a slow death in your “Downloads” folder. It serves you no purpose there.
Instead, go download it and PRINT it off immediately. Even if you can’t fill it out right this second at least have it sitting on your desk. Or taped to your fridge. Or the wine rack. Wherever you’ll see it the most and be reminded to do it.
Then just spend a half hour (seriously, don’t over think this) and fill it out.
And then we want you to call us when shit starts to go down in your business, because we told you so. Really. If you don’t call us at least email us. Heck, email us to call you and we will.
So stop reading this and get to printing. Right now. Tag us on Instagram (@ThinkCreativeCollective) in a shot of your blank piece of paper so we at least know you’ve printed it. Then we can hold you accountable.