Selling To Your Own Wallet

selling to your own walletSeptember 3, 2020

Recently I was advising a professional services provider on engagement options she was preparing to deliver to a prospect. We’d talked about the client’s needs, wants, and values, the three options which made sense in light of what it seemed the client valued, and the pricing of those options.

The pricing of all three of these options were significantly higher than what she’d originally envisioned, and well beyond what she’d ever received for any client engagement.

“I’m not sure I would pay that much,” she said.

“Who cares what you think?,” I replied. “You’re not the one writing the check.”

This individual was guilty, in that moment, of selling to her own wallet. As it turns out, she hadn’t had a deep enough value conversation with the prospect.

Selling to your own wallet invariably occurs when you haven’t had an effective value conversation with a client. (As we went along, that’s what my client and I realized about her experience.) Your conversations have turned more on what the prospect has asked for, your service, and how you do what you do. When it comes time for putting together engagement options, you find out that you don’t know that prospect as well as you’d like, because you didn’t have the patience to ask friendly yet probing questions which reveal motivations, values, hopes, and fears of the client.

You haven’t discovered, for example, that if this guy doesn’t complete the project you’ve been discussing with him very soon, his wife may cause him to end up on a missing persons list. This situation actually happened with me. Establishing value in the mind of that prospect—and justifying my pricing--was clear, but only because I’d had the patience enough to diagnose the domestic motivation behind his desire for my services.

Selling to your own wallet often happens, as was also the case here, when you are proposing prices much higher than you’ve ever received for your services. It’s the professional services providers’ version of the high wire, and the higher the price points, the further off the ground that wire seems. You’re standing on the ledge, about to walk out on the high wire and your legs are frozen. The wind is kicking up and your stomach is churning. You’re deathly afraid of that first step you’ll take when you slide the engagement options across the table to the prospect. You’re afraid the shock of their reaction to your pricing will blow you right off the wire.

Here’s the power of an effective value conversation:  it arms you with confidence. That tightrope feels like it’s only a foot off the ground. A fruitful value conversation enables you to keep subsequent discussions around price aligned with the clearly perceived value that you and the client have already diagnosed and discussed. It takes away that queasy feeling in your stomach.

It also taps down that notion that you’re “gouging” someone. When you utilize value pricing, you’re establishing the “value profit”—the excess of value the client receives over the price paid—that the client will receive from your involvement. It’s clear, both to the client and in your own mind, that there’s a rationale for your price which is very clear.

You feel confident in the value of the work you’re doing, and the client profits as well. That’s what it’s all about, right?


Image Credit:  JumpStory

©Ray Business Advisors, LLC and John Ray


About me:  I’m enthusiastic about how changes in pricing strategy can significantly change profitability for a business and enhance life choices for business owners. I live this passion through Ray Business Advisors, my outside CFO and business advisory practice, in which my pricing is exclusively value-based, not hourly. I work with business owners on how they can change their pricing not just to increase their profits, but better serve the wants of their customers. Click here to learn more or call me at 404-287-2627.

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