Has this ever happened to you?
You know a friend who does graphics design, and you know you’re better than him at it. You started learning the art three years before he started.
But you find that every year, he makes more than double what you make.
You check his designs. To the uninitiated, they look very good. But you see the many mistakes he has made, and keeps making.
You wonder why he keeps getting many clients who pay him well and on time, while your clients haggle over the price with you and owe you for months.
Or you may be a caterer and everyone says your food is the best they’ve ever tasted. But you watch in anger everyday as people who can’t cook or bake half as well as you keep getting big contracts, while you scrape for a living.
It is painful.
What I’m about to share with you will show you another perspective on success, and exactly what these people do differently.
If you have a pen and paper with you, let’s get started.
How less qualified people can get paid much higher than qualified people
A guy who is not an excellent graphic designer, but makes a ton of money from designing graphics does many things that a talented but broke graphics designer never does.
Here’s something that happened to me:
Back when I was a youth corps member serving in Lagos, a teacher at the school where I taught referred me to a lady who wanted a tutor for her kids in secondary school.
After we had agreed on the price, she told me the price she paid the last tutor who taught her kids. He was a teacher with many years of experience and her kids loved him.
The price she paid me—a youth corps member with no real experience—was more than 110% higher than what she paid him.
In other words, she paid a less experienced, less qualified person more than double what she paid a more experienced, more qualified person.
How did I achieve that?
- I didn’t put money first: After I got the lady’s number and called her, she demanded–over the phone—to know my price. It would have been easy for me to say, “I charge x thousand naira”. But, it would have given her the impression that I was a replaceable commodity, who was only interested in money.
If I had told her my price over the phone, she would have said “NO WAY”, and that would be the end. Instead, I told her, “I need to speak with your kids and know their needs before talking about that. When can I meet with them?”
- I made her feel I was genuinely interested in her kids: On the morning I came to see her family, after speaking briefly with her, I asked to speak with her kids privately.
I spent 25-35 minutes on each of them, speaking to them one-on-one. From this discussion, I was able to know their dreams for the future, what they liked doing in their spare time, their best subjects and why they loved them, their worst subjects and why they hated them, their best and worst teachers, the way they preferred reading and most importantly, their psychology.
Now, imagine you’re a parent, and a home tutor spends close to an hour talking with your kids before he ever mentions money to you. How would you feel about him? Would you feel he just wanted money?
- I didn’t tell her I was good, I showed her I was good: This is very important. People can only believe you’re good after you show them how good you are. Here’s how I did this.
I went to my previous clients and asked them if they were satisfied with the results I achieved with their kids. After they said yes, I asked them if they would be willing to write a testimonial about my work. Of course, they also said yes. I then gave each of them a sample testimonial from which they wrote theirs.
After I showed her the testimonials and she read them, I noticed a big change in her attitude towards me. Almost instantly, she began treating me with more respect and courtesy.
This came to a climax in the negotiation. After we had negotiated for about 7 minutes, she stopped the negotiation and said, “Let’s stop there. I don’t want it to be like I want to pay ‘small’ money for something that is good”. (Note that she had never even seen me teach before)
I wasn’t necessarily better than the last tutor. But, what I did was to overcome her fears by demonstrating my value convincingly.
And in the months I taught her kids, she always paid me before time and turned out to be one of the best clients I had.
“OK Uchendu…quit the bragging. How Can I Use This?”
The first step is to understand your client. You should find out:
- When it comes to my business, what exactly does my client hope for?
- What exactly does my client fear about my product, service or business?
- What are the things my client wants to achieve with my product, service or business?
Looking carefully at the story above, you’ll see how I addressed these things.
The second step is to find a way to distinguish your business. I distinguished myself by getting signed testimonials from former clients and presenting it to her. Have you ever seen a home tutor do that? I’m almost certain you haven’t.
When this is done effectively, the psychological effect is very powerful. Do this with care.
When you’ve done all that, find a creative way to show your quality to your client. I used written testimonial, you can use other things. I’ll cover that in a different article. But for now, here’s one of the exact testimonials I showed this particular client.
This is just one of the many ways you can use to charge higher for your product or service, and get paid by a customer who will happily refer you. There are a lot more. Use your creativity to do something that will make you stand out and position your business for growth.
Know that you can’t do rubbish and expect millions. The world doesn’t work that way. Get good at what you know how to do first. Then, take the time to understand your client and use this understanding to make your business presentation very compelling.
When you begin this, you will surely make some mistakes. But after you’ve tried different things, the perfect solution for your business will appear.
NOTE: What I have discussed here is what made my client value me highly. But a client can value you highly and still pay you low.
So, why exactly did she pay me high?
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