While it's not hard to price a product or service to sell, it's much harder to find the one that maximizes profits. Many companies play it safe, leaving too much money on the table as they try to maximize their close rate rather than the amount of cash that goes to the bottom line.
Here are some of the key pricing factors to consider. While there is no magic formula, experimenting with these strategies will increase your success and the amount of money that falls into your pocket at the end of the day.
1. Think about its value, not its cost.
Many people start the process of figuring out how to price their products or services by the costs that go into producing and delivering them. While you need to know your costs, that's not how you should determine your price.
Instead, start by calculating the value you create for your clients. How much more revenue do they make? How much more profit? Do you increase sales or lower costs or remove risks? Answer all of these questions and then use this data to calculate your optimal pricing.
2. Calculate the cost of inaction.
One thing many people fail to do is calculate the prospect's cost of inaction. It's easy to see the cost of your product or service, but often times the client's real cost comes from doing nothing. Be sure to consider the factor of time on these costs as well. When a buyer has less time, they have fewer choices and face increased risk and pressure. You should increase your prices accordingly.
3. Remove the buying risk.
Sometimes clients are hesitant to buy because they are not sure you can deliver on it even though they can see the benefit. While testimonials work well to convince people, sometimes you need to use a stronger strategy. If buyers remain skeptical but interested, offer them a satisfaction guarantee (we keep working until you're happy) or a money-back guarantee (you get all or part of your fee back if you're not happy).
If you've done a good job prospecting, these will be rare. Work into your fees a small percentage of clients that don't work out or result in extra work. It's often easier to do this than what you would spend on sales and marketing
4. Deliver a 10x return.
A good rule of thumb is that you want your clients to get getting a ten times return on your fees. So if you charge $50K for your services, then they should be seeing $500K or more in value. This could be top line growth, reduction of expenses, or a removal of high-impact risk. Ten times leaves the buyer with a solid business case for the sale.
5. Sell on emotions, but justify with logic.
The research shows that people make decisions using emotions and then justify them using logic. People want to do business with people they know, like, and trust. Yet we often forget that and try to push a sale through based on business rationale.
By demonstrating that buying your product or service is easy, that working with you is a pleasure, and that you can be counted on to deliver the results you promise, you will be able to demand a premium price in the market. While other reasons might make business sense, people would rather pay more for knowing they will enjoy the process.
6. Have a rock solid positioning stratey.
Your best pricing strategy is to have a great positioning strategy. Seth Godin's book Purple Cow explains how the challenge in business is standing out. One of the best ways to do that is to focus on a specific type of customer and to offer a unique and interesting set of qualities and attributes based on their needs.
Doing so will make you stand out and make it hard for prospects to choose your competitors. When you're the only option that truly meets the needs of your target customer, they will happily pay more because you solve their problem well without the fluff and complexity of other options.
7. Don't set your pricing in stone.
Since customer situations and the value of your product or service are continuously changing, consider changing your price as well. We pay a lot more for next-day delivery (far more than it costs the company) and we pay many times more for a soda in a movie theater than we do at the supermarket. Why not charge different prices for different situations?
While pricing is both an art and a science, getting it right is critical to business success. There are many factors to consider and variables to estimate. Just keep in mind that just like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the price that works best is the one that your customer are willing to pay.