I spoke to a prospective client today. He runs a successful and growing Web development agency. It makes apps too, and is poised to become an even more successful agency soon, as the world pretty much goes completely mobile.
After a few minutes I started to realise that I was being a real chicken about what I, as a marketer, would and wouldnâ€™t say to this potential client. Right there and then, as I was talking to this client who had invited me to spend time with him and discuss potential business, I suddenly lost my cojones.
And it was all because of one question: how much do you charge?
If youâ€™re a business owner this is a question that either terrifies you or makes you happy. Itâ€™s sometimes hard to find the right price point, and the right price point doesnâ€™t always mean â€˜cheapâ€™.
But my services were called cheap today. And that hurt.
Like being hit by a particularly angry Mike Tyson, it hurt all the way to the car park, and all the way home. My heart was heavy; I felt the world was ending. My lovely, beautiful company that I had worked hard to build up to the growing upstart it is today, was called cheap (actually the services were called cheap but itâ€™s the same thing).
It was pretty obvious that I had pitched in too low as regards the cost of my services. I genuinely wanted this manâ€™s business and I thought that the only way to get it was to be â€˜competitiveâ€™.
When businesses use the word competitive it only ever means one thing, that they are cheaper than everyone else. For some bizarre reason that is what I thought I had to be today.
An honest reflection of my skills
Why do some service business owners â€˜go lowâ€™? Why did I assume he was looking for a deal, rather than an honest reflection of my skills?
What is wrong with telling someone that they canâ€™t afford you?
We all know why we pitch low sometimes, but we never talk about it. Itâ€™s scary running a business in a recession. You have to make money.
But that was wrong. That whole conversation was wrong. And I lost the deal because I pitched way too low, because I pitched with fear.
As a content marketer who produces good and effective content marketing, I should have been confident enough to tell this person exactly how much I think I am worth. But I didnâ€™t, because of fear.
It wonâ€™t happen again. I learnt a lesson. Believe in your offering, and have the conviction to price it as a product/service of quality. You can always negotiate, but itâ€™s a lot more satisfying and pleasant to negotiate down, and 99.9% impossible to negotiate up.