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How to determine your pricing as a creative service in 2 simple steps

Your pricing is made up.

There, I said it.
I was probably the first one to say it to you too.

No matter what you charge, there will be plenty of people who are NEVER going to pay it and there will be plenty people who’ll gladly pay double.  

The goal of pricing is to charge as much as someone is willing to pay for your service and you simply won't know what this is until you ask.

Yes, that’s right, you’re going to have to put on your sassy pants and ASK!
MORE THAN ONCE!

The goal is to ask so many times that you can begin to see a pattern developing as to what people will pay for what you do.

This is called VALUE BASED PRICING.
(Don’t worry, I’ll teach you in another post how to increase the value so that you can earn more, but in the meantime…let’s continue…)

Also in good conscience, I need to warn you that it’s wise to consider your expenses and margin for growth too. There’s no point charging a fee when you’re making a loss!

So, let’s make sure this never happens to YOU…
Repeat after me…

“I [INSERT NAME HERE] promise Shawna, and myself, that I will never...EVER operate at a loss”.
Do it.

There’s a great guy from the UK, Phil Jones (go read all his books) and he shares this story about when he was a kid and used to wash cars.

He said that he charged $3.
So he charged $3 and decided to raise it 50 cents - nobody batted an eye.
Then he decided to raise it to $4 - some people grumbled.
Then he raised it to $4.50 and he realized at $4.50 there was a lot of backlash.

Whether you’re washing cars, knitting jumpers or washing cars while knitting jumpers, you have to experiment with the pricing to see how much people are willing to pay.

“This is all sounds great Shawna, but it would be really helpful if you could give me a simple way to find my ideal price…”

Well, isn’t this your lucky day? :)

THIS IS HOW YOU CAN HIT YOUR OWN PRICING SWEET SPOT in 2 SIMPLE STEPS

Ask yourself two things:

1. How much would my favorite client be willing to pay for the thing I offer?

2.  Then after after the service is rendered, ask how much they would have paid for it, knowing what they know now?

Is the answer different? Why?
If you want extra Shawna bonus points, go one step further:

2.5) Ask specifics about what would make them pay more, even if it’s just a little bit more?

You wanna know what will increase the value in the clients eyes.. Because of the simple value equation:

The higher the perceived value = the higher the likelihood of commitment/The more they are willing to pay.

Determining your pricing is a VITAL market research question and it can start as easily with these 2 questions.

So, put on your brave knitted jumpers and go and ask!


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How to stop word vomiting all over your potential clients and never "choke" again.


Your work is a creative form of self expression that you often don’t have words for.

It makes sense that, when it comes to selling yourself, you’ve either got no words at all or waaaaaaaay too many.

You either choke  - spouting out a load of “...ums” and “...ers” before collapsing into a fetal position on the floor asking for your mom.

Or you end up telling people that you’re a “integral cog in the supply wheel of a major, multinational corporation that is responsible for fueling the minds of local entrepreneurs via the medium of caffeinated beverages”, rather than, “Hi, I’m John, I’m a Barista!”

If you want to stop word vomiting all over your potential clients and never “choke” again, you only have to do ONE THING:

before you say anything, pause.



(wait)

...

You’ve gotta bring a level of mindfulness to this concept, because even though it sounds super easy, in practice, as multiple studies have shown, people CAN’T DO IT!

In fact, most people start talking just half a second after the other person has finished speaking.


Half a second!


If you think that counts as a pause, try timing it on your phone.

“So what? So I didn’t pause a bit longer. What’s the big deal?”

I’ll tell you.

Only pausing for half a second means two things:

  1. You may not have caught everything the other person said because you were too busy thinking about what YOU were going to say when they finished!

  2. You might have cut them off - they might have more to say.

I get it though - pauses are awkward. If you don’t trust me on this, try suggesting that XXXX at your next family gathering and see how that feels.

See, pauses ARE awkward.
And uncomfortable.

“It’s all well and good telling me to pay attention and pause, but what if I can’t think of anything to say when they’ve stopped talking? What do I do then? Stare at them? Fake a heart attack?”

If the idea of pausing scares you a little, don’t worry. I’ve a simple hack for you.

Just cheat.

Before you go out next and have a sales conversation, come up with some simple sentences you can use in these pauses to buy you some time and stop you breaking out into a cold sweat.

Things like:

“Tell me more about that”.

“That sounds interesting. What kind of challenges has that brought?”

“So, who’s YOUR favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle?”

It’ll give you a chance to pull yourself together while making the other person feel heard  which is a vital step to

1. positioning your offer and

2. creating trust.

It’s the best kind of win-win and if you can grab a win from a potentially awkward moment, it’ll be even better!

(Also, if they name “Donatello” as their favorite Ninja Turtle, it gives you chance to break off the conversation early, as everyone knows the correct answer is “Michaelangelo”)



Could you use more sales insight so you can finally chill out and sell?
Enroll in our free daily email with the button below.

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How to feel confident and comfortable selling

Allison Hardy, former Art Professor turned Business Coach invited me onto her podcast “LIFE BY DESIGN” and in episode 45 we discuss how creatives can talk and write about what they do so interactions with buyers are filled with confidence and direction (rather than what they typically describe as a “a deer in headlights” )

We also discuss who to manage expectations during different seasons of life, motherhood, raising children, the value of giving up titles and chasing job descriptions.

Tune into this interview with the button below



If you’d also like to enroll in our free daily email so you can learn how to chill out and sell, click here.

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How to market and sell when you're a creative introvert

While there is a creative process behind every product and service, when it comes to artists and other creatives, there is a special dynamic that makes them truly unique...

...in a good way. :)

Creatives face specific challenges due to emotional ties to their work.
(“You think it would look better in pink, do you? WHY DO YOU HATE ME???”)

Not only that, but even though creatives love the idea of making money, they’re often uncomfortable with the idea of sales.

(“Yeah...I guess it’s for sale...if you really want it? How much?...I’m not sure...how much would you pay...you don’t have to...you want a discount? I should give you a discount...tell you what...just take it!”)

These challenges are even worse for introverted creatives.  

After being invited on Beth Buelow’s podcast '“the introverted entrepreneur” we focus on the specific reasons creatives struggle and how to make the sales process comfortable and more natural - EVEN FOR INTROVERTS!

TUNE IN HERE

You can expect to learn how to

  • Understanding different perspectives when approaching the sales talk

  • Overcome marketing challenges for creatives and introverts

  • Overcome objections through a unique approach

  • Assigning proper value to art and projects

  • Create an environment and narrative that facilitates sales

  • Ask the right questions and clarifying what others need

  • Close the sale through active listening

  • A desire to buy versus falling in love with a product

  • Leveraging the power of word of mouth

If you like what you hear on the podcast, you’ll definitely want to enroll in our free daily email - it’s got even more information on how to just chill out and sell, join with the button below.

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How to get paid in your creative service business

Recently Ben Hardley invited me onto his podcast, “Six Figure Photography” where we discussed the specifics of how to get paid without feeling like a pitch.

We know most creative services have a love/hate relationship with sales.
You love ‘em when you’ve got ‘em! But getting ‘em hurts!

We tend to think of sales as something ”icky”.

So in this episode 097, we walk through the sales conversation step by step so you never have to compromise your own values while still being paid what your service is worth.

Over the last few years, I’ve been able to teach creatives and designers sales from a whole new perspective after facilitating after death decisions with grieving families. I learned quickly important decisions are something you do with someone rather than to them.

If you want to learn more about that, jump into our free daily email by clicking the button below, so you can learn how to chill out + sell.

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What to do so your client is begging to buy.

Imagine working your creative service business and you never had to awkwardly sell your offer and instead had clients who were begging to buy?

Is that reallllllly possible?
And wouldn’t it be friggen awesome if it were true?!

I believe it is.
Kimberly Seldon of BUSINESS OF DESIGN interviews me in her podcast, episode 098 (click here to listen) where you will learn

  • actionable sales strategy to book your clients

  • how to leverage visualize persuasion so buying is pain-free

  • how to distinguish between selling the process vs outcome

  • important questions to ask to facilitate a natural sales conversation

  • are you passive and creating a win lose or creating a win-win situation

  • it’s not possible to sustain yourself if you are not earning a living

  • why it’s possible to work really hard all year and still barely break even

  • identify the appropriate time to raise your rates.

  • how to eliminate your fears around money so they don’t scare your client.

We all know design matters, but it’s in this episode that we talk about the designers who matter too.

If you want to learn, more jump into our free daily email by clicking the button below

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How to book a client by tomorrow

Did you know you have direct access to the most powerful tool to grow your business and you might not even know it?!

“Is it Facebook?”

Nope.

“LinkedIn?”

Nope.

This giant lifesize cutout of Mel B I bought on eBay?

Definitely no. Get help.

Yep, you already have access to this tool and, the best thing is, you can put away your credit card, because it’s completely free!

It's your communication and you can use it to find your next perfect client...but only if you use it in the right way.

Ready?

Imagine you go about your normal daily life, ok?

(if you’re normal daily life involves living in a cave, being a recluse and hating the world, this won’t work. You know why? Because everything you want out of life includes someone*, so yah, you can’t grow your service business inside a bubble)

Here’s what I want you to do…

Next time you meet someone and they ask you that terrifying question..."What do you do?"

terrified.gif

Instead of your usual, “collapse onto the floor and hope they go away” type response, answer...

..."You know how," [insert the person you help], "struggles with," [insert the problem that you solve]?, "I help with that."

(example 1: You know how landscapers struggle with receiving payments on time? I help with that.”

(example 2: You know how business owners hate book-keeping and they have a pile of receipts stacked away in their office, that they don't have time for? Yeah, I help with that.”)

(example 3: You know how serial killers hate cleaning their knives and getting rid of the bloody stains off their clothes? Yeah, I help with that.”)

Forget all the nonsense about adding your title (unless you’re speaking to someone in your industry - that’s the ONLY place they belong) and forget whatever you’ve been taught about “pitching” - you don’t have to do that here.

What you’re doing is giving them a visual.

A REALLY POWERFUL VISUAL IMPRESSION OF WHAT YOU DO.

Our brain thinks in pictures and, by following the formula above, you’re giving them visual clues - a crystal clear picture.

In short, you’re making it REALLY easy for them to understand what you do!

Once they hear this, they can’t help but run through their entire network in their head, asking themselves, "Who do I know that is a landscaper/business owner/serial killer?”

And that’s the key here, people bring opportunities and the opportunities are accessed through conversations.

It’s possible they might respond with a, "Oh, cool how do you do that?"

and for sure, you can totally tell them, but stick to one or two real world examples, like “well my last client, described it like this..” because the only people that are really gonna geek out about a a long drawn out HOW* are those who share similar industries.

One last thing, before the conversation trails off into a different topic make sure you include, “if you happen to know someone like that I’d love an introduction!”

You will never get more than what you ask for. So ask for that introduction.

Then when this person, you’ve met goes out and about and lives their normal daily life, they're going to remember the person you've identified because they can’t “unsee it”. They will find that dream client for you.

How you ask?

Visuals.

It's exactly the same reason if your mom buys a car in a color you’ve never seen before and now you see it everywhere? We’re creating that here with simple communication.

This is how I built my business with five kids without having to do extra shit because it literally is a normal extension of my life. And you know what happens when I live my life? I meet people that are really great clients, because I'm doing what I normally would do anyway.

It’s EASY, and it’s also FUN!

So, if you're feeling like,

"Man, I just don't know where to find my next client…”

Or “I don't know what to say…”

Try the formula above and see how it works for you! 
You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.

If you made it to the end of the blog without reading anything, you can check out my video answer here.

and if you’d like more sales without the struggle insight, join our free daily email here.

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