There comes a time in any businesswoman’s life when she has to talk money. Some of us handle it really well, but a lot of us cough and splutter our way along; some apologize for it, and a few say nothing but just hope they leave it on the table on the way out! Yes, talking money can make some of us feel strangely dirty and less than ‘honourable’. I really hope this isn’t you, but if it is, all is not lost. Let’s admit it, as women we aren’t typically taught to ‘go for the kill’. I know it’s 2013 but I think we’re still ‘expected’ to be softer than men… even in business. And honestly, that expectation can make it really tough sometimes!
Now, the good thing about being the ‘sensitive woman’ is that often we really DO care about our clients and that can create an amazing service.
Sometimes a friendship can even grow when our client relationships last a long time like mine do. But it feels even harder to charge a client-friend for something you feel ‘isn’t really that hard’ or because ‘it won’t take that long’. Hell, sometimes it’s even hard asking a stranger to pay you, but hey, this is the world we live in. Your landlord doesn’t agonize every month when your rent is due, do they? We need money to survive and thrive in this material world. We need to be unapologetic that our expertise is our livelihood and our knowledge is valuable.
Usually the person with the biggest problem with your pricing… is you!
You deserve to be rewarded for your time and experience. It’s OK to put a price on what you do. The funny thing is that most people understand that… even if you don’t. I can’t even count the times I cringed away from naming a price for a client-friend or even a family member, especially when I was just starting out. In the end they’ve had to demand they pay me, and most of the time I’d bashfully accept, like they were doing me a favour. Is this the right way to run a business? It was probably only when I started feeling responsible for paying someone else, like my first staff member that I started turning this around. It was easier to demand they get paid, than to expect I should. Crazy but true, can you relate? Anyway sorry if I’m getting all philosophical on you, but I think there’s still something hanging over most of us from years gone by… and we’ve got to get over it! The first step is learning HOW to talk money with confidence. You need to learn all about the flinch test.
Surviving the flinch test.
What’s a flinch test you ask? Basically it’s seeing how high your client jumps when you mention the price. Trust me, you’ll be able to judge their response pretty easily. It’s that ‘how much????” response….
And here’s a really important point: they’re judging YOUR reaction too. That’s why it’s called the flinch test.
Did you know every professional buyer is taught to give the test to every sales person… even when the price is reasonable? Yep, it’s a test to see if the salesperson is confident in the price they’ve just given you. It’s a bit like sending some shock troops down to test the defences of their enemy. You need to survive it without flinching, and you can! You just need to show calm confidence that you’ve named a fair and reasonable price for your extraordinary service. Unless you work in a corporate your clients probably aren’t going to be professional buyers, but a lot of them will have gone around the block a few times, and some will be very tough cookies. Remember it’s YOUR job as a seller to calmly present your quote and it’s their job as a buyer to clutch at their heart when they hear your price! Always remain friendly but firm, always approach it as if you’re offering a good deal where you BOTH win, because hopefully, you are!
Here’s a hot tip for you; every time you mention a price, stop and pause.
Never rush past the dollars. It might feel like an uncomfortable silence, but let it settle in. Get used to it. Hold your space calmly. Remember, he who flinches first, loses! But on the flip side, don’t waste TOO much time with someone who goes on and on about the price. They’re either trying to wear you down by out-enduring you, or they could just be what we like to call time-wasters. Either way, you don’t want to work with them, so flick them a quote if you must, and then move on to the next lead. If you want to survive the flinch test, here’s what you should NEVER say:
- What price were you looking for?
- I’ll have to check the numbers to see if we can do better.
- How about if I take 10% off?
No, no, no! If you do any of this you’ve just undermined the trust you were building. Do this and you’ve created doubt in their minds. Now they’re wondering if you were trying to rip them off with an overinflated quote. Once you’ve survived the flinch test, guess what? It’s time to smile and…
CLOSE THE SALE!!!
So a close means you get a yes and you make that sale, and a sale happens when you take that payment. And that means… it’s time to start the real work. Til next time ABN’ers! Bianca