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There’s a question in my intake packet for new clients titled, "What is holding you back or slowing your progress?", as it relates to attracting all the clients they need and having a full practice. Having worked with hundreds and hundreds of clients over the years, I’ve seen it all. Other than "no knowledge of marketing," one thing seems to come up over and over again, and it happened again this week, with a brand new client.
The client answered this: "Sometimes, the ‘Little Voice’ inside me asks, ‘Who needs my program anyway? This is basic information that I offer. People already know this stuff!’" This is so common, but in most every case, this is absolutely not accurate.
I have to admit, in the past, I too have taken for granted what I already know and teach everyday and started questioning my value in the marketplace. For example, when I was teaching holistic nutrition years ago, I sometimes wondered why people were paying me (or WOULD pay me) to teach them about whole foods versus processed foods. To me, it was a no-brainer that brown rice was more healthful than white. But to a person who grew up on Twinkies, it was crucial that I explain it to them in detail, and then the shortcuts to fitting in those brand new foods into their busy life.
I would also question the value of the cooking classes I gave once a month to 15 or 20 people crammed in my living room. As I was stirring carrots and onions on my Coleman grill in the middle of my tiny apartment, I couldn’t help but think "Are these simple recipes REALLY of value to them?" (I’d been through serious Boot Camp at the French Culinary Institute, so this came naturally to me.) But they kept showing up, asking questions, and referring friends. Go figure!
Even in the early years of my business coaching practice, I sometimes wondered about my value. Clients ask me daily about the secrets of marketing to get clients to call THEM and filling their practice by networking. For me, it was now ingrained and like second nature. I took for granted that I knew it, because I’d been doing it for so long and knew that it worked. I thought everyone knew it too and that it was common sense.
On the contrary! What’s common knowledge for us, is a secret to someone else. Because we "bathe" in our information all day long, and for years, we start taking for granted what we know. We forget what we know is actually a secret many others would do anything and everything to discover. It becomes the answer to their most pressing problem. It becomes the solution others have been praying for.
If you’re in this situation, you are probably OVER-estimating what everybody else knows. The more common what you teach is to YOU and the longer you do what it is you do, the more you tend to undervalue what you know.
The irony here, as I’ve discovered, is that the more we teach things to our clients in SIMPLE terms, the happier they are, the more referrals we get and the more we make. It’s not the convoluted teachings that people are looking for. It’s the practical and simple solutions.
The real shame about the whole undervaluing what you know is that as a result, you may be undercharging for what you offer. This is actually one of the major reasons why most people don’t have enough clients. Because they don’t see value in what they offer, they don’t charge enough, and there is therefore a low perception of value from the prospective client’s point of view. They then go somewhere else for the same exact information. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy!
Some entrepreneurs even go so far as discounting their services, or offering a sliding scale, because of their lack of confidence and low perception of value in what they offer. In my book, discounting is a BIG no-no. Again, it portrays a devalued product or service and it’s NOT Client Attractive.
- Notice that your clients came to YOU for the information you take for granted. Sometimes, they may even have known some of what you know, but didn’t have the discipline, accountability, resources or structure to do it on their own. Many of my clients KNOW how to attract other clients, they’re successful, but they don’t have the discipline or accountability to do it on their own. So we do it together. This is actually my favorite type of scenario, because these clients are very driven and because we’re not starting from scratch in the learning process, we move at warp speed.
- Be confident in what you offer (read your testimonials over and over until your confidence comes back).
- See yourself as their problem solver. Charge accordingly and never discount your services. Ever.