Episode 83: 4 Bold Steps to Communicating Your Prices without Apology

Welcome to Episode #83 of The Daily Interaction Show. Whether you are a full-time business owner, entrepreneur, planning to become one or are a hobbyist, you have something to offer the world, it could be an idea, a product, a service, a program, a course, a package, your whatever, in exchange for money. Today, I talk to you about how to do just that without apology and shame and without feeling awkward and weird about saying your prices to prospective clients. Ready?


Did you guys miss me? This girl is back from her African Safari and ready to get back into the game. Much fun as it was, I must say that I missed my work!! Now that has got to be the most twisted logic you have ever heard but alas, it can happen when you are in love with your work.

I want to thank my amazing superstar corporate-turned-rockstar-entrepreneur client, Bruce Rodgers at Studio139 Software, for the topic today. Bruce was telling me about his inner conflicts and struggles with pricing his services. Specifically about communicating those prices to his potential clients. And Bruce is not the only person to struggle with this one by a long shot. So thanks to his wonderful suggestion, I want to dedicate this whole episode to sharing steps in communicating your offers and prices without apology, without guilt, without insecurity.


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Show Notes: 4 Bold Steps to Communicating Your Prices and Offers without Apology:

First let’s talk about WHY on earth we freeze up and feel so insecure when we have to utter those words, those dollars, those prices. Why do we feel we need to immediately give them a discount or prove that it’s worth it?

Because we tell ourselves these stories that are not true. We tell ourselves that the person cannot afford it, that we are not worth this monetary sum in exchange for our services or that they will laugh at our price. The stories are generally a perpetual lie. Stop telling yourself these stories.

Here are the 4 major steps to help you communicate your offers and prices without apology and with true confidence:

1. Set your prices high enough to where you are glad to over-deliver without being resentful. Examples of when calls go over, clients email too much and take up more of your time. Generally, you are pricing yourself too low especially if you are new to business.

2. Share your prices on your website. This has a three-fold benefit. First, you don’t have to say it on the phone if you don’t want to or write it out on email. You simply refer them to the site and recommend a certain package. Second, you filter those who totally cannot afford it. Talk about Kane vs. Port suggestions on displaying $. Third, you are being totally transparent and customers/clients appreciate this. They don’t want to ask how much either. Not anymore than you want to say how much.

3. Say your offer without apology. The worst thing you can do is price yourself what you deem to be too high and then apologize or try to convince the customer you are worth it. Never convince. Clearly outline what they get but don’t convince they should. There is a difference between persuading them to buy your stuff or focusing on why this is something good for them – results for them etc. Apology kills the spirit of transaction.

4. Have a system for collecting payment without feeling awkward about it. Sometimes you will get clients or customers that just make the whole process painful. Your job is to filter those out from the very start. Payment should be a non-issue. Do you ever go to Nordstrom and ask if they can make you a special offer? No! You’d look like a fool. Well, then don’t entertain customers or clients who do that. Respect yourself enough and take yourself and your business seriously enough to treat it as an objective matter-of-fact logistical matter to handle.

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  • http://kikolani.com/ Kristi Hines

    Great topic! I filter mine out by offering a prepay discount. I think it’s worth it because then I save time having to play bill collector!

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Brilliant idea, Kristi. I might reconsider that model as well. Or at least give my coaching clients the option. So glad to see you here!!!

  • Melly Deen

    Hi Farnoosh, not an entrepreneur yet but definitely will be taking your amazing and BOLD advice here, when I finish my product. I can’t stand it when people apologize for their prices …. it makes it seem like they really don’t want to charge that much and makes me as a buyer very uncomfy!
    Thanks again and keep up the great work in the podcasts please.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Hi Melly, you can use the advice later it doesn’t expire :)! And exactly what you describe happens when we apologize for our prices. Best of luck on that product and podcasts are on-going, not to worry!

  • http://leadershipheartcoaching.com Bill | LeadershipHeartCoaching

    Welcome back, Farnoosh,

    Something that has always stuck with me – I remember reading once we were devaluing our own services by offering discounts for longer term commitments.
    In other words, why should we discount our services for three month terms versus one month terms when our client was already benefiting from the longer term commitments.

    I simplified my fees and removed discounts for longer term commitments which has worked well for me. I bill monthly and fortunately have never had any payment issues.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Hi Bill, thanks so much, welcome here, great to see you again.
      I have heard a similar argument about discounts too, Bill, especially that word itself it just doesn’t add value or credibility. I love the example you used, and appreciate this so much as I was trying to determine that same dilemma on my end. Thanks Bill!!!

  • http://vidyasury.com Vidya Sury

    Great points, Farnoosh. I’ve found that the reason why people go cold all over is the belief that the client is doing them a favor. (Of course, I’ve come across people who think they’re doing their clients a favor). Either way, when both sides feel respect for each other, it makes for a good relationship. Then, some people secretly believe they may not be worth the price they’re quoting, and so, get apologetic or start explaining. You put it beautifully: apology kills the spirit of transaction – and – the relationship begins with the client acting superior. Ugh.

    Worst of all is the inability to say “No” to a project that is not worth it – the sort that takes 80% effort and brings in 20% income.

    I had a fun experience recently. Someone wanted a quick-turnaround content piece by a certain date. Regretfully, I said I was tied up. They came back and upped the price to compensate for the rush. I was tempted but told them I was committed to finishing something else. Heck, they offered even more as they were keen I should write it. :-) So I checked with my other folks to see if they could extend the deadline and told them it was because I had an urgent project. I also told them I had no issues if they couldn’t agree. Well, they did and I finished both clients’ jobs well in time. Great feeling.

    Love your logic.

    Hugs! Vidya

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Ms. Vidya, how lovely to see you and hear that you are busy juggling not one but two or more projects, and have people begging for your services (obviously, smart people!) That’s wonderful!!! I really like how you approached it – how you kept your promise to the original customer (high integrity) and then worked out a way to please both, never losing sight of whom you had commitment to first. Thanks so much for sharing!!!!
      And another great angle on the “superiority” complex – oh my! I might have to talk about that one at some point.
      So so very happy to see you here, Vidya, and hope you are doing wonderfully! Thanks for the great insights.

  • http://www.studio139software.com Bruce Rodgers

    Thank you Farnoosh! Our call a little while ago was a great benefit to me, and I’m glad you decided to share it’s invaluable content with others. I so appreciate your experience with this, and IMO you are spot-on on all counts, and I’ve able to communicate my rates with confidence, and even create new ways to structure them (e.g., monthly retainers) without compromising what I consider to be of great value. I especially relate the point you made related to “over-delivering”, because that will undoubtedly happen, especially in the Software Consulting business (be it website design, custom application development, whatever).
    Thanks again!

    http://www.studio139software.com <– yep, that's me!

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Bruce, my rockstar friend, how are you? So glad that conversation helped you clarify your pricing and I am so so happy that you are busy working with clients and I am sure over-delivering left and right. Studio 139 software has a bright future ahead, and I am just so excited to be part of your journey. Keep hustling! And thanks for stopping by!

  • Kay


    How are you? Its nice to hear you back on the waves after your trip.

    What a timely and informative podcast! This session spoke directly to my current needs. I am finally getting ready to launch my technology consulting business (Bruce – you and I should chat) and I have been terrified of setting my rates. Consulting is one of those gray areas where the truly great consultants go above and beyond what the client is asking for and deliver what the clients need. So, heck yes, we need to price our services appropriately.

    I want to add one more thing, since I just exited Corporate myself. There is a vast difference between consulting and contracting. I don’t think many clients get that. It is extremely important to outline the services you provide and explain the benefits of working with you. It is also important to followup with clients and get their testimonial right after a project (which admittedly I haven’t been good at).

    Thanks and have a fabulous “Green” weekend!

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Kay, just this week, I was thinking about you! So glad you stopped by. And terrified describes exactly how most of us business owners feel at first so you are in good company and it’s totally normal.

      Good distinction between consulting and contracting and I want to throw in that coaching is yet different again. It’s not a bad idea to educate your clients, that’s okay. To them, it may just be the same terminology you know ….? And the best part is that you now have clients or are building up to attract them and I am very excited for you – do keep me posted please. Have a fab weekend also!

  • http://www.midwaymarketplace.com Maxwell Ivey

    Hi Farnoosh; This was yet another excellent show on an important topic. I think my biggest problem with pricing is never being sure if what i received is considered good enough by my family. In my mind the percentages or amounts always seam right until I have to tell a friend or family member how much i made from a given sale. As for setting fees I find the most important thing is repetition. When I first started telling people the prices, I wasn’t completely sure in my own mind what I should be charging. There weren’t any good articles or guides on how I should go about it. I finally settled on three things. One, I will list people’s equipment at their price plus a reasonable amount in addition to that for my commission. Two, I will list a single item for ten percent of the sale should I make the sale. And third, for anyone that lists multiple items or that i can expect to be a repeat client; I will charge them five percent on any sales I make for them. This seams to be working out well for me. However, I have tried unsuccessfully to encourage advertising or sponsorship of my site with no luck. I came up with what I thought of as a reasonable amount given my niche and the size of the ads, but so far no luck. However, from your podcast, I have taken the need to post prices openly. So, I am going to try again. But this time I am going to post the ad fees openly instead of just having a link for inquiries. By the way would you have a good resource for me to use to better evaluate the rates for ads? thanks again and take care, Max

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Max, unless your family knows your business better than you, then you don’t need to worry about their reaction to your pricing. Pricing is a big animal and it is such a wide varying range depending on so many factors. I couldn’t even begin to tell you unless I worked closely with you and knew more about what you offer and a lot more information …. so it’s not an easy answer however, I like your reasoning so I feel confident you have done a good job already. I have gone back and forth on advertisers and right now, I have opted out of doing any. Can’t think of a good source for evaluating rates for ads right now actually – I am sorry … but hope my reply was somewhat helpful.

      • http://www.midwaymarketplace.com Maxwell Ivey

        Hi Farnoosh; It was helpful. I can’t expect you to have all the answers. smile I would prefer not to have advertising either. My goal in the beginning was to make all income from commissions on sales. However, the more I do this, the more I wonder if that will ever be a reality. I was thinking that having some income from advertisers might give me the regular income to overcome the slack periods where there aren’t any sales. I’m not in any hurry thanks to some financial support from the family. Maybe that has something to do with why I never feel like I made as much from each sale as I should have. Thanks for being there for us Farnoosh. Take care, max