‘If you can’t say no to anything then you’re living in scarcity. The universe doesn’t need to be selective with what comes your way because you’ll take anything.’ Source unknown.
The other day I was following a forum where designers were discussing clients and how to handle the ‘you’re too expensive’ objection. And it was only when I posted my comment on the same thread that I suddenly saw something new about the whole thing.
10 years ago when I started my own design firm, hung my shingle in the yellow pages and received my first phone calls inquiring about my services, I would get so upset when the conversation would end without a confirmed appointment. I’d analyze what I had said or didn’t say 100 different ways to anyone within earshot (you know I have a tortured head).
Then I started working at Benjamin Moore at the retail level and as I gained more experience I started to hear and understand what kept my clients awake at night. Back then, I thought it was my job to close every single customer I spoke to, and I felt like a failure if I didn’t. So I got pretty good at it.
When I left the store to go out on my own (again), I also left behind the stream of consistent leads as well (until I started this blog). This made every phone call I received from the years of referrals I had built, even more important.
Now without an hourly rate set by the store, I struggled with what to charge on my own. I couldn’t charge too little and if my rates were too high I would lose the business.
One day I was having a conversation with another designer friend and I mentioned that whatever rate I was currently quoting, in my head, while on the phone with my potential client, I always thought it should be just a little higher. My friend said something really powerful, “If you are not charging what you feel you should be, then you are not in alignment with your higher self”. I took ‘higher self’ to mean ‘my sense of self worth and the value I provide’.
Not every one that calls you is your customer. If someone calls me and all they really need is colour for their walls, then my rates will probably sound too high.
However, if you are looking to create a look and a feel for your home and need advice on which order to do your renovations, how to mix the dated elements of your home with new finishes or furniture you are buying, as well as which finishes are right for you, and which colour they should be, etc? Then my rates will sound completely fair and reasonable for the value you are receiving in exchange.
How do you know if you are charging enough? Well one way to gauge it is this: If you book pretty much every lead you receive? Your rates are too low (maybe). That was what I saw that was new in my obsession to always ‘say the right thing’ and book the consultation.
So if you don’t book every single client, first, you definitely don’t suck and second, don’t take that as a sign to lower your rates. Stay true to yourself and the universe will see that you have room for the clients that really are your customer.
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