I call it the "Pricing Panic." It's when you are talking to a client about pricing, and you assume that there's no way they'll ever pay your price, so you start thinking of ways to discount the price before the conversation even starts

It's one of the most challenging things about starting a business, especially a service-based business. What do you charge for your product or service? How you answer that question will say a lot about how you value what you do, and what you want others to think. 

Here's the thing; your clients are grown-ups. It's not your job to figure out how to save them money. 

You're not alone.

It's not that uncommon among small business owners to have this nagging doubt in the back of your mind. "Will they think I'm too expensive?"

"Their budget can't be this high, there's no way they're going to pay this."

"What if they laugh at me?"

The key is to figure out what's causing you to doubt your value to a potential client, and develop a game plan to get past it. Here are four tips that will help you be confident in your pricing conversations with clients:

1. Do your homework.

Your pricing should be based on your expenses plus a profit. If it's a business, making a profit is important--and your pricing should reflect this. The only way to really have confidence in your pricing is to do the hard work of figuring out what you should charge, based on what it costs you to be business.  

Once you know that what you're charging is based on your business, and the value you bring to the customer, it's much easier to stand behind your pricing. When you know that you're charging what you're worth, it's much easier to talk about it with confidence.

It's also less intimidating when someone says no since you recognize that it's not worth it to be working for less than what you're worth.

2. Practice talking about your pricing.

It's totally cool to talk to yourself. I'm serious! There's nothing wrong with it at all.

Sure, people will look at you strangely if you make a habit of talking to yourself at inopportune times. But at home, or in your office, when no one else is around, it's actually really helpful to practice conversations you might have with clients.  

Start by writing down your "pricing pitch." This is the one sentence statement that explains the broad strokes of how you price your services. This isn't a sales pitch. It's not something designed to convince someone that your pricing is worth it. This is simply how you describe the way you charge for your services.  

Once you've written it down, practice saying it out loud. Train your mouth to say the words. I'm serious-- it's much easier to say the right thing in a client meeting when you've taught your mouth to simply say it. Instead of trying to figure out what to say, and how to say it, you just talk to your client-- the words are already there.

3. Understand that not everyone is your customer.

Inevitably, pricing panic is based on the fear that someone won't hire you (or buy from you) because of your pricing. I don't know how else to say it but:

Get over it.

It's a fact of life. Some people won't hire you. Some people will balk at your pricing--they might even laugh.

If you've done the hard work, and based your pricing on what's profitable for you and your business, why wouldn't you stand with confidence and remind yourself that working for any less is like writing your client a big check just for the privilege of working for them?  

As nice of you as it would if you wrote your client a big check, that's a check you can't use to pay your mortgage, or put food on your table, or invest in your business, or live the kind of life you want to live.

4. Do your job.

By the time you sit down with a customer, they've reviewed your website and made a decision to meet with you in person. It's reasonably safe to assume that they are interested. 

Instead of worrying whether they'll think your price is right, do your job. Help them see the value of having you on their side. Help them imagine how you can add value to their life or their business. Help them make a purchasing decision.

Your job is to be their marketing expert, or accountant, or whatever it is you do--it's not to save them money. That's their job, and they'll do enough of it on their own without your help.