Make More With What You’ve Got: Lacy Boggs’s Case Study

Want to make more money? Afraid it’s going to take a lot of time to create something new or devise a fresh offer so you can do it?

It doesn’t have to. An important concept we work with Quiet Power Strategy™ clients on is reworking what you’ve got to make it easier to sell. We also show our clients how to develop sales cycles that sell those offers throughout the year–and how to plan those sales cycles so you always know where your next dollar is coming from.

Last week, I heard from Lacy Boggs about a big success she had with very little work. It’s exactly the kind of result I like seeing from clients because it means they’ve developed a process they can use time and again to make more money. Here’s her case study:

How Lacy Boggs Used an Unplanned Sales Cycle to Make Money Fast & Easy

In January 2015​, I made my Blogstorm course (my lowest priced, introductory offering) ​evergreen after doing the revenue planning exercise in Quiet Power Strategy. I had realized that launching and running the course live was waaaaay too much work for the amount of revenue I was generating from it, so something needed to change.

​I saw a nice spike in sales when I made the evergreen announcement, and since then ​I generally get 1 or 2 sales a month without doing anything, which is fine by me. When I mention it in a blog or newsletter, I usually get 1 or 2 more.

Since the course helps entrepreneurs get 6 months of blogs planned in an editorial calendar, I was inspired by a random comment on Facebook about the year being almost half over to do a “launch” push for June. ​ ​I decided to​ offer a value add of going through it “live” with me in the Facebook group. ​And ​I made the decision to do this “launch” about a week before June 1st!

Note from Tara: This is what we call a sales cycle. It’s the same type of content, pitch, and follow-up you’d use in a launch, but it’s used to boost sales of an existing or evergreen product or service offering. Normally, I recommend using our Revenue Planning tool to forecast these sales cycles. But the power of an unplanned sales cycle to boost your revenue unexpectedly–and pleasantly–can’t be overstated!

But, I’ve had great success! I sent one dedicated email to my list, and​ wrote a blog post promoting it using Tara’s CEAD content framework (it’s usually spread out over four posts or emails, but I didn’t have time).

​I also had my message fresh in my mind from working on it with Tara and Brigitte at the Quiet Power Strategy™ retreat, and tried to really drive home what I want to be known for in both the blog post and the email—no more being polite about my opinions, no holds barred.​ ​ ​ Since the email went out on Monday (the Memorial Day holiday, no less) I’ve sold 20 courses ​and made about $1200​ in unplanned income five days later.

That’s more than double my last “live” launch in 2014!

​By tweaking my sales message for this course based on the work I did in Quiet Power Strategy™, I realized I don’t have to run a lengthy, all-consuming “launch,” but rather focus on giving people what they really want. The course hasn’t changed, even my “value add” is the same as when I ran it live, but my message made a huge difference.

​At this point, it’s like the best of both worlds. I have the trickle of income from the evergreen product, but I can run it “live” as a value add—with my newly improved messaging—twice a year for a healthy ​boost in sales without all the DRAMA of a big launch​. ​Just one more example of Quiet Power Strategy™ giving me the guts and permission to do things my way, and having it pay off almost immediately.

***

Let me recapped what worked so well here for Lacy:

  • She created fresh messaging for an old product to make sure it was obvious it’s exactly what her customers need.
  • She reinvigorated her sales by creating content for a sales cycle and publishing it to her blog and list.
  • She planned for the future by incorporating new sales cycles for this product in her overall Revenue Plan instead of just waiting for sales to come.

These are all things we create strategies for in Quiet Power Strategy™ and these strategies are something that Lacy can use over and over again for other products and new offers. It’s timeless, effective, make-more-money technique.

Put this to work for yourself. Look for a product that you know you could sell more of. Create messaging that ties that product to a problem or goal your customers are regularly talking about. Then create content that supports that messaging and send it out to the people most likely to buy from you. Finally, make a plan to do this throughout the year.

In the mean time, you can find out more about Lacy Boggs, the Content Direction Agency, and how to get more from your blogging effort: get instant access to her resource library.

The Biggest Sales Objection: Trusting Yourself

Have you ever crafted the perfect offer, put a perfectly reasonable price tag on it, sent it out to all the right people, and still come up empty-handed in the sales department?

I know I have.

One technique you’ll hear over and over again for combatting this problem is to address your customers’ objections. Are they worried about the time commitment? Show them how to fit it in. Are they concerned that your product is right for the kind of person they are? Explain why it’ll work for them, too. Are they concerned about price? Demonstrate what kind of return on investment they could get.

But the biggest sales objection I’ve run into over the years—and from conversations with our Quiet Power Strategy™ strategists-in-training last week, I’m in good company—has been an objection that’s exceedingly difficult to combat.

How to Combat the Biggest Sales Objection

It’s trust.

But not trusting you. The biggest objection to buying is trusting themselves.

As providers, makers, and marketers, we spend an exorbitant amount of time helping our prospects trust us. We share personal stories, create valuable free content, and demonstrate through testimonials that we can be trusted.

But many times your “ask” doesn’t require any more trust in you and requires your customer to trust their own ability to get the kind of results you know you can deliver.

Getting value out of a product or service requires personal responsibility. Unless you’re a snake oil salesperson, you’re not saying that your product is the magic formula. You’re not the kind of marketer that promises that “one weird trick” is going to reduce the number on the scale by 20lbs or that this secret formula will result in triple the sales.

Even if you design clothing or make jewelry or create paintings, your customers need to feel that they can put your work to good use in order to buy it. People generally don’t buy things they don’t have the confidence to wear or put things in their homes they don’t have the attitude to match.

An Example

Let’s look at an example: Amy is a career coach. She knows she can help people manage career transition, discover a new path, or land a big promotion. She’s done it many times.

On her website, she talks about the clients she’s worked with, the successes they’ve had, and spells out specific outcomes new clients can expect when working with her. She doesn’t make promises—she knows better than that—but she does clearly articulate what she can coach you to if you’re willing to put in the work.

Amy’s practice sustains her own career but it’s not thriving the way she would like it to be. She has a hard time closing new clients. They start with long drawn out emails, they evolve to long initial consultations. They come back and ask more questions. Maybe then she can close the deal.

Yet, her existing clients rave about her. They keep coming back to her even after their initial packages complete. They ask her advice (and pay her) on the little bumps in their careers.

So why don’t more new prospects sign on the dotted line? And why can’t she, for the life of her, get people to sign up for the awesome career change program she put together?

Trust.

As a potential client, when you’ve had some career missteps, maybe a bad boss or a difficult-to-work-for company, you’re hopeful but cautious. That caution leads to the long sales conversation Amy is having to have to land each new client. It also means that even those who feel like she’s the right person for the job won’t pull the trigger. It’s them, not her.

And if they’re not willing to trust themselves enough to get results from working with her 1:1, they’re not going to trust themselves enough to get results working with her in a program.

Again, it’s them, not her. (It might be them, not you.)

This Sales Objection is Also a Question of Risk

We are exceedingly bad at understanding risk. And a majority of your prospective customers think they themselves are a sizable risk to their own futures when it comes to spending money on goals that can’t be guaranteed. Every time you make an attractive offer, your customers are weighing the risk that they won’t be able to put it to use.

We, of course, think they’re considering whether it will be good enough or not, whether we’re smart enough or not, or whether we’re experienced enough or not. And that may be the case, but it’s far likelier that they’re asking themselves whether they are good enough, smart enough, or experienced enough to get the results they really want out of what you’re offering.

Breanne Dyck, who started this conversation on our Quiet Power Strategy strategist training call last week, explains that to help people feel more comfortable with perceived risks, you need to help them gather more information. More information comes from experimentation (action), not from more data (inputs).

Most of your marketing strategy to this point is about data. Blog post after blog post you’re explaining concepts, telling stories, and sharing experiences. But it’s all just data until someone takes action on it. The result of their experiment becomes true information that allows them to better understand and predict future outcomes. It allows them to better assess their own personal risk and increases their level of personal trust.

That means that in order to combat this stickiest of sales objections, you need to build action and experimentation into your business model—not just data.

Knowing is not enough. Knowing too much can encourage us to procrastinate. There’s a certain point when continuing to know at the expense of doing allows the mess to grow further.

— Abby Covert,  How to Make Sense of Any Mess: Information Architecture for Everybody

The best way to ask your prospects to act is to ask for a commitment.

Trust (and True Information) Comes from Commitments

Think about the way you develop a romantic relationship. If you meet your special someone online (as I did), you start with committing to email them—it’s an initial experiment. This is about as low of a commitment as you can go. Then, hopefully, you commit to a first date. It’s probably just a coffee or drink date. Then, maybe you do a dinner date. And then a day hike.

Yes, this is a process of learning to trust the other person. To suss out whether they’re the one for you or not. But it’s also a process of learning to trust yourself. Do I like myself when I’m around them? Do I trust myself enough in this relationship to know I won’t make stupid decisions or follow them blindly?

Each commitment helps you learn to trust yourself as much as it does the other person.

As you’re building your business the same process needs to apply.

People generally don’t jump from discovery to purchase—especially not high-end products or services. You need to establish a series of commitments first.

Here are some commitments you might ask for:

  • Like your page on Facebook
  • Join a webinar
  • Exchange an email address for a welcome gift
  • Share a post with their friends
  • Regularly open emails and read content
  • Attend a workshop
  • Buy a book
  • Read a detailed case study
  • Visit your booth at a show
  • Purchase an entry-level product
  • Engage in an initial consultation
  • Book a short-term, project-based package

If you want to seriously combat this huge sales objection and dramatically reduce the amount of time it takes you to close a prospect, don’t pick one or two of these. Pick 3, 4, 5, or more of these smaller commitments. Create systems around them. Build them into your marketing calendar.

Relentlessly ask for small and escalating commitments so that when you’re ready to make a much larger offer, your prospect trusts herself enough to say yes.

Now you might be asking, “Isn’t this why I’m blogging every week?

Sort of. The thing is, blogging isn’t enough. Content strategy is huge, don’t get me wrong. But marketers who are only blogging (even blogging and sending it out through email) aren’t establishing that trust spiral that allows their readers to get closer and closer to feeling really good about making a purchase.

In my own business, I’ve built action and experimentation into all levels of my marketing:

  • I write ebooks that have built-in workbooks. The action is both the purchase and the results.
  • I host webinars that promise results during the call. The action is decision-making and discovery.
  • I teach workshops that build action steps into strategic concepts. The experiment is committing to watching and doing the homework.
  • I offer Goal Discovery sessions as part of my on-boarding process. The experiment is vulnerability and commitment.

Together, these pieces work together so that I don’t have to worry about the “trusting myself” sales objection. If you’ve made it that far in my business model and still don’t trust yourself, you’re probably not a good fit for my programs.

Amy’s Strategy

Remember our career coach Amy? I would ask Amy to think of 3 common scenarios that send people looking for career help. They probably don’t know they need a coach yet (and maybe they don’t), but they know they need to consult Google, a friend, or the network to get an answer. Those 3 common scenarios are:

  • I’m bored at work. I want a new challenge. I’m ready for a promotion.
  • I’m tired of this career. I want a new one. I’m ready to figure out a new direction.
  • I’m not making enough money. I want a raise. I’m ready to ask for one.

Then, I’d ask Amy to create a commitment trigger for each of those scenarios. Maybe she has a free ebook on asking for a raise, a free audio & workbook that helps you pinpoint your interest so you can figure out a new direction, and a checklist for preparing for a promotion. Each of those she puts behind an email wall. The “ask” is for an email address.

Now, let’s follow the free ebook on asking for a raise. The ebook shares exactly how to put together your pitch. The prospect finds that extremely helpful–but now she has a new problem. She needs to combat the fear of asking for a raise. Amy knows this, so she’s got a free webinar that she invites people who downloaded the raise ebook to. It’s all about getting over the 3 biggest fears you face when you ask for a raise.

Of course, asking for a raise is personal. So every month, she leaves 5 spots open on her calendar for a free initial consultation. Once a month, she asks this same group who is ready to work with her privately and invites them to this no-hassle consultation. She books all 5 appointments effortlessly. On that 30 minute call, she equips the prospect with at least one tactic they can use to suss out the possibility of getting a raise.

Finally, she follows up and asks if they’d like to book her Get That Raise coaching package. She offers to guide them through the next 6 weeks so that they’ve got a helping hand for each part of the process. She can’t guarantee a raise, but she can guarantee they’ll feel really good about the procedure.

Each part of Amy’s process has helped to build the prospects’ trust in herself. She’s taken action and already gotten results. Now it’s just an easy assessment of risk (what risk?!) to determine whether the information she has makes her feel good about working with Amy. Does she trust herself enough to really make use of this? Of course! She already has.

Sale closed.

Now it’s your turn.

How will you ask your audience to act, experiment, and commit in order to build their trust in themselves? There’s likely something you could do today. So do it!

How Wedge15 Used The Living Room Strategy to Make an Impact and Make Money Fast, Too

Your goal is simple: take your big idea to market.

But do you ever feel overwhelmed with the idea of putting your ideas, your aesthetics, even a career’s worth of expertise into a product or service offering? For many, it can be paralyzing. Instead of figuring out how to make money fast, you’re stuck on a mental hamster wheel that may or may not pay any kind of dividend down the road.

Couple that with the images of content marketers, startup founders, and idea people crushing it with big launches, fancy websites, and [potentially] crazy price tags; it only makes it worse. You want to do your ideas justice. You want to pay your bills. And, if you’re anything like me, you feel your competitive spirit starting to morph from helpful to harmful.

How to Use the Living Room Strategy to Make Money Fast

The good news is that big ideas don’t start big. They start small. Their creators tap into the essence of the idea—the very reason people need it to begin with—and create the minimum.

Creating the bare minimum is a great way to make money fast in a way that’s sustainable, honest, and strategic.

Businesses you know and love started this way. Think Facebook, Dropbox, Google, DailyWorth, Mailchimp … the list could go on and on. They turned the a simple “make money fast” strategy into big impact and long-term revenue growth.

Yet, time and again, we try to do better and go big right out of the gate.

During my last CreativeLive workshop, I introduced the idea of the Living Room Strategy. In other words, you don’t need to fill a stadium full of customers with your new idea for it to be a success, for it to impact all the right people. You can start by filling a Living Room.

Even better, filling a Living Room first can give you the experience, feedback, and stories you need to fill that stadium when you’re ready. The Living Room Strategy is the process by which you make the first set of invitations to your idea, host your intimate dinner party of an idea, and then gather feedback on how to make it better next time.

After my CreativeLive workshop, Gloria Roheim McRae put the idea to the test. Gloria had a decade-long global career but left her last position in 2010 to launch her entrepreneurial journey in digital strategy. In 2013, she and her husband merged their businesses to become Wedge15 Inc. and enjoyed great success. They’ve served hundreds of clients individually, self-published a best-selling book, and been featured throughout the media.

But they still faced familiar dilemmas when it came to taking their ideas to scale:

  • When do you create the content?
  • How do you ensure it sells?
  • How much time and energy do you need to put into marketing it?
  • How do you push your next big thing to live up to the reputation of your tried and true big thing?

Inspired by what she saw on CreativeLive and with fellow Living Room Strategy user Marie Poulin, Gloria constructed a plan. She says, “we created a landing page, a wait list and mentioned we would launch in October 2014. Our intention was to sell out the BETA program at half price to help us pilot the full priced program with customer feedback and reviews in 2015.” She acted fast and with focus. Gloria and her husband Ricardo honed in on what values would shape the program (“intimate and interactive”) and decided to do things very differently than they’d done them in the past.

Here’s a sample of what they did:

  • Didn’t wait to be done creating the program but instead let the program grow around the participants. Gloria says, “You made it look easy and fun, and it was.”
  • Focused on personalizing the launch to a small wait list instead of generalizing their marketing to their full list.
  • Invited prospects to a free in-person private dinner event to find out what their pains were, in their own words.
  • Tailored the program to exactly meet their pain points where they were instead of trying to push them 10 steps ahead.
  • Wrote their sales copy using customer-centered pain points instead of expert-centered ideas of what’s going wrong and what they need to fix.
  • Highlighted their own expert’s perspective to formulate a clear statement of value (their hypothesis).
  • Delivered great content that gave their wait list a taste of their offer but didn’t try to sell it.
  • Opened applications at the end of their series of content.
  • Reviewed applicants and only those that we thought would be an ideal fit were sent the registration link to pay and secure their spots.
  • Followed-up individually with successful candidates to keep the momentum going and confirm the sale.
  • Maintained the energy of the initial invitation period through a variety of content marketing and posted until the very last minute.

In the end, Wedge15 had a $7200 Beta launch that sold out their Branding School program. They were able to welcome a small group of the perfect customers into their “living room” for an intimate and interactive experience of great material, tailor made for them.

Maybe this example applies directly to you in your business right now. Or maybe you’re considering a new service offering and wondering how you can get the first 5 clients to try it out before you unleash the offer to all of your prospects. Or maybe you’re thinking about a new collection of home goods for your textile business and wondering how you can ensure the first 10 wholesale orders to recoup the initial expense of production.

The same concepts apply. Start small with the very essence of the idea and the core values that influence how you want to deliver it. Know who you want to invite to purchase, who you want to create for. Devise a way for those people to find out about the offer—personal invitations work great—and then create a way for them to RSVP with a yes.

She says that without this approach, “I would have let the process defeat me and delayed launching again until things ‘felt perfect.’” Instead, Gloria’s customers are enjoying the benefit of her knowledge, experience, and brilliant ideas. And now Gloria is primed for a much bigger launch the next time around—if she wants to make it bigger.

Have you been letting the process defeat you? Have you delayed taking your idea to market because of a fear of everything you have to do to “crush it?” Do you fear that making money fast now could hurt your chances of making good money down the road?

It doesn’t have to be this way. Follow Gloria’s example. Or, join me in Kick Start Labs where you can find the official Living Room Strategy training & workbook, plus plenty of other training for maximizing your business with minimal effort.

Kick Start Labs is where creative entrepreneurs go for training, support, and a good kick in the business pants. Click here to learn more.

 

 

5 Ways to Generate Revenue Now Without Having a Sale

There are lots of reasons you might need to generate revenue right now. You’re moving, you’re having a baby, you’re feeling the pinch at tax time, you want to redesign your website, you want to take a trip.

Needing to generate revenue now isn’t something to feel bad about. It happens in successful businesses, it happens in little businesses, it happens in big businesses. It’s just part of being in business!

So let’s make you some money—and soon.

5 ways to generate revenue without having a sale

1) Send a sales email about your bestselling product or service to generate revenue.

What’s your #1 seller? There are people on your list who haven’t bought this product or service and likely would, if they knew about it. Even when we think “everyone” has bought our main product, there are people you’re connected to who still don’t know it exists.

Last week, I casually linked to my bestselling product, The Art of Earning, and—without mentioning it by name—quadrupled sales over the week before.

Sometimes the best way to generate new revenue is to focus on old assets. What could you craft a fresh sales cycle for?

2) Beta test a product or program that’s been on your mind to serve clients & make money now.

I know you: you’re sitting on a great idea. You haven’t figured out how to make the time, find the money, or craft the sales process for that new product or program you have in mind.

Pro tip: don’t.

Write down everything you know about the first iteration of this product. Then write down all the reasons your best customers or most engaged audience members need it. Put those things together with a strong pitch and present it to a select few you know will dig it.

You’ll thrill the early adopters in your audience. You’ll offer killer value for a great price. And you’ll be that many steps ahead when you go to do a bigger launch on a more refined version.

3) Raise your prices to leverage existing sales.

Two ways you can approach this one. If you’re regularly selling something that’s been on the shelf for a while, you can just raise the price to give you a revenue boost.

The other way to tackle this is by giving your customers a heads up on an impending price increase. There’s probably something sitting on your “shelf” that could use a 10-50% bump in price. Craft an email that let’s people know the price is going up and they have until a certain date to get the item/program/service at a lower rate.

4) Repackage what’s already on the shelf.

Often, businesses have several smaller products that can be repackaged as a bundle with more value. In fact, the repackaged product might even have a more compelling value proposition as a package than as individual products.

If you’re a jewelry designer, you might try to package up a necklace, bracelet, and pair of earrings. Simple, right? But the result is a greater value than the sum of its parts; it’s now a night-on-the-town kit.

If you’re a health coach, you might try to package a recipe book, coaching program, and one-off session with you. Again, simple. And again, the result is a greater value than the sum of its parts; it’s now the method, the accountability, and the day-to-day information you need to succeed all-in-one.

What do you currently sell that actually makes more sense together?

5) Find a partner to create new value.

The best collaborations often start from very small joint ventures. If there’s someone in your network you’ve been dying to connect and create with, this could be the time to jump on it.

By your powers combined, you could whip up a workshop or small event that will have both of your audiences asking for more. You get the chance to test drive the partnership, your audiences get value that they couldn’t have gotten from either one of you individually, and you generate some revenue to boot.

The trick here is to keep the scope small and the expectations for each party well-defined. That benefits both of you… and your customers.

A word to the wise: it’s easy to fall into a pattern of gotta-make-money-now in business, especially once you realize how easy it can be. However, planning for revenue, proper product & customer development, and sales cycles will always be the real key to feeling secure in your business. For a FREE tool on revenue planning, click here.

Part of truly stepping into entrepreneurship is understanding how easy it is to generate more revenue. If your cash flow is feeling a bit tight, I encourage you to try one of these ideas and get a taste for the entrepreneurial money mindset yourself.

How Much Should a Cup of Coffee Cost? Making Your Customers Comfortable With Price

How much should a cup of coffee cost?

And what does that have to do with how much you should sell your product, app, program, or service for?

The first answer is, it depends. The second answer is, everything.

The price of a cup of coffee is influenced by a lot of factors. And one of the factors that influences it least is the material cost of the beans. Even expensive coffee beans tend to be “cheap” (with a few notable exceptions).

How to make your customers comfortable with the price you charge

The factor that influences it most is perhaps the different markets it’s sold in. You can get coffee almost anywhere, and where you get it influences how much you expect to pay. Grab a 64oz Big Gulp of coffee at a gas station and you might pay 69 cents. Pick up a 24oz coffee at a fast food chain and you might pay 99 cents. Sip on a 16oz coffee from a specialty chain and that’ll set you back a little over $2. Or, sidle up to the brew bar at high-end coffee establishments and that cup of coffee might set you back $5-7 (yes, I’m still talking about brewed coffee, not espresso).

While there is certainly a difference in the cost of the materials, overhead, and labor at these establishments, the price of a cup of coffee is influenced as much by the conversation you share with your barista, the environment of the shop, and the people you expect to meet there. The same dynamic is at play with digital products and most services. While there are hard costs that influence price, most of the price is subjective and based on many factors that have nothing to do with materials or overhead.

The price of coffee is also largely dictated by what the product means to its customers. Gas station coffee is a necessary evil, the solution to the problem of working too many hours, too early in the morning. Fast food coffee is a convenience, a simple pick-me-up in the middle of a hectic day. Specialty chain coffee is a predictable luxury. Brew bar coffee is an experience all its own, a ritual, a little slice of heaven for the connoisseur.

If the local specialty shop started charging 69 cents for a cup of coffee, it would be jarring to your consumer mind. You’d ask, “Why?” and you’d expect an answer about promotion. If they just exclaimed, “Well, that’s what it costs,” you’d start to wonder, question its quality, wonder about the people running the place.

If you price your products or services discordantly from what your customers expect to pay, you’ll leave them wondering the same things. Whether too low or too high, the price of your product is suddenly something that makes people uncomfortable. And uncomfortable people don’t buy.

To make sure you’re putting your customers at ease with both the experience of your product or service and the price you’re asking them to pay for it, consider these questions:

  • What do you want your product or service to mean to your customers?
  • How do you want them to experience your product?
  • What does your customer expect your product to mean to them?
  • How does the set of features you’ve arranged for her add up in her mind?
  • What other products, services, or solutions might he be relating to your product?

Pricing is largely chicken & the egg. And too often, business owners play chicken. You don’t have to price your products like a gas station prices coffee. You can choose to have a more refined aesthetic, offer a more distinct point of view, cultivate a more demanding clientele, create more favorable positioning–and charge more.

It’s your choice.

Don’t believe that these factors are out of your control. If there is any part of your business that you believe is negatively impacting your ability to set the price you want, take control and change it. Adjust your brand or positioning, change marketplaces, rework your network, invest in design.

Create an experience that really means something to your customers and results in a sustainable, profitable price for your product. Make your customers comfortable with both the value your business is creating and the price you ask your customers to pay.

And then have a cup of coffee.

Stop Trying to Charge What You’re Worth

I’ve long been a proponent of charging more, earning more, and feeling good about it. I’ve asked countless entrepreneurs to consider the value of their skills in a New Economy market where those skills are highly prized.

But there’s one thing that nags me about where this conversation inevitably goes.

When service providers, makers, and microbusiness owners of all ilk become empowered to consider pricing on a new level, they say, “I’m going to charge what I’m worth.”

There are two serious problems with this mantra:

1) You are priceless. Your work is not.

There’s really no way to quantify what “you’re worth” because you can’t measure the value of your precious life. However, skills, products, and services are quantifiable. There’s a going rate. And there is also the ability to raise or lower the going rate depending on how you position those skills, products, or services.

2) You’ve forgotten the customer.

There is no value without the customer. How much is doctor worth without patients? How much is a house worth if no one will buy it? How much is a company worth if the investors all bail? What you make or offer has no value until a customer is willing to purchase it.

Dave Gray states it plainly in The Connected Company: “A company can’t create value on its own: value is only created through exchange. The customer must participate in defining and determining that value.”

So how can you address this in practical terms?

Understand the whole market.

There’s no one set price for a cup of coffee. Go to a gas station and pay 69 cents. Go to a fast food joint and pay a buck. Go to Starbucks and pay $2. Go to Blue Bottle in San Francisco and pay $7.

Your market is likely the same. You know you’re not at the bottom of the barrel and you have no interest in being there. But have you explored the rest of the market? Do you know what the top-of-the-line looks like and how much it costs? Once you do, back track and complete your understanding of the whole market.

Determine what influences price.

Price goes well beyond materials, overhead, and labor. It goes well beyond experience and skills. Those are just factors that contribute to understanding a sustainable price from the business’s point-of-view. But many other factors influence price from a customers’ point-of-view.

What the product means to them, what results the service promises, and how your customers perceive your business in relation to the rest of your industry all contribute to what you can (and should) charge. The style of your website, the way your images are merchandised, the testimonials you provide (and the way they’re written), and your sales process give your customers a distinct impression of what your product or service is worth.

Adjust as necessary to make the price you want to charge match what your customers want to pay.

There may be many factors currently influencing the price you can charge that have consequences you don’t like. It might be hard–even unpleasant or expensive–to change them. It might involve better packaging, a shinier website, or more training. But it could also be as “simple” as introducing your work to a new group of customers or changing the way you talk about what you do.

Take full inventory of the factors currently influencing your price, both from your business’s perspective and from your customers’ perspective. Determine which factors you can change to create a better result for your business. Create an action plan to do just that.

And stop telling people you’re going to charge what you’re worth… Click to tweet.