Determining your worth in your industry
Every now and again, as independent business owners and entrepreneurs, we may question our services and value that should be attached to said services. Who is it that said that “my time is worth a million dollars an hour, but I haven’t found the person willing to pay that yet?” Was it Mr. Buffett? Am I just making that up, because it sounds like something awesome he would say?
He definitely said “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” Think about that, because it will make sense later…
Well, in a networking meeting two days ago, my colleagues were in a deep discussion about how much they should be billing for their particular trades. Should it be the industry standard? Should they do the work job-by-job? Should they consult with other folks within their particular trades so that if they are being put out to bid they are being compared apples to apples? Hmmm. So many questions. This made me think about a particular instance that happened to me, a Realtor who gives phenomenal five star service, just last week.
Flattery will get you nowhere
I was speaking with a referred potential client, and we were hitting it off, yet she was telling me of her woes and how the agent she has been dealing with for a number of years was incredibly unresponsive, apparently gave her “sass,” and even left her to wait sometimes for several hours for scheduled appointments.
This is unheard of in my book! This is just terrible customer service, and in my real estate industry and my personal business ethic, something that would not be tolerated. The potential client went on to go through some particulars with me about how she would absolutely love to work with me and that she had heard such rave reviews. I was thrilled and then… she asked through all of the flattery, “would you discount your service by two percent?”
Discounting Service from Discounting Pricing
Uhm, excuse me? Did I hear you correctly? You give amazing service. You are the person I would like to work with. I want you to do the work that the other person has not been doing for well, a discounted rate…
I don’t know you from anyone… and you are asking me to discount my service after you just told me how amazing I am, and you know what type of service I will provide for you- you practically did my job for me in the “selling of me.” Things were starting to make more sense as to what was probably going on with the other agent. She had gotten a discount agent who was providing discount service; this I don’t know for a fact, it is pure assumption, but it just started to make sense to me in my mind.
My point is… I don’t do that. I know my value. I know my worth, and I don’t discount my service to get a deal locked down. It was such a funny conversation, because she seemed genuinely shocked when I told her that I don’t discount my service like that. This particular potential client was a professional, and she has an amazingly successful business, and business mind- which I truly respect- and I asked her if she discounted her work. She doesn’t.
Interestingly enough, she still wanted to have someone give her a discount. Sorry. As a professional, with specific ethics that I uphold myself to, I would then have to extend that same offer to everyone, and still provide the same level of high-end service that as a one-person operation, isn’t how I operate. We went our separate ways, and she even sent me a very, very flattering note about how she appreciated my passion for my work and how it shines through and all that, but it was muddling.
Be the Master of you Craft- Command What you Demand
Let’s take this full circle, shall we? My networking friends who were trying to identify their own personal value for their business heard me pipe up and tell my “don’t discount yourself because you feel pressured or bullied into it” story.
Know your value. Remember what Warren Buffett said, too. Price is what you pay. Value is what you get. So, again, know your value. Research. Know your trade inside and out, and let people know your passion and why they need to actually pay you what you are worth because they will know that you deliver the best possible product, whether it is a consultant service, a marketing and branding package, or the customer service that goes along with personal real estate sales.
Some professionals will even charge more because they can command it, and people will give them that because those folks have learned how to master their field and earn the trust and respect of their clients and colleagues. These people are masters of their craft. Know your market, and know why you command what you demand.