For years, the first question prospects asked me was “What are your rates?”
This opening question is a drag.
It immediately shows that the client is more interested in your pricing than your expertise. And it puts you back on your heels.
It took me years to figure out how to change that opening question. But I eventually did.
And by the time I was winding down my writing business, that first question had changed to some version of “How can you help me?”
How did I orchestrate this shift?
You need to have the following three elements in place:
- Position yourself as a higher-level professional
First, you need to position yourself as a higher-level professional — and you must also signal that on your website and other marketing content.
Think about who you’re “talking” to with your content.
Is it directed at small business owners and consultants? Or are you targeting marketing directors?
You can also signal this by posting some of your fees (or fee ranges) on your website. If they’re high enough, prospective clients will begin to self-qualify themselves.
- Highlight your differentiators
You’ve successfully been in a business for some time, so you must be doing something right!
Think about what separates you from the pack. What do clients compliment you on? Why do they say they chose to work with you?
Typically, your differentiators are things that can’t be developed overnight. They draw on your unique background, experience, or some other factor.
Whatever your differentiators are, you need to make them explicit in your messaging.
- Narrow your target market
It’s hard to dodge the “How much do you charge?” question if you haven’t narrowed your target market.
When you narrow your market and specialize in a certain area, prospects will better understand the unique value and expertise you bring and be less concerned about pricing.
They won’t have a dozen other writers they can turn to with the same experience and skills — or at least they won’t be very easy to find. If they want to lower their risk of a project going sideways, they will want to go with you.
That’s why the first question we ask a lawn service company is often “How much do you charge?” If we don’t like the price they quote, we can keep looking. We have lots of other options.
But when we need some sort of specialized surgery, for example, our first question isn’t about price. We’re much more interested in the surgeon’s skill and availability.
Shift the Conversation by Changing Your Message
When you’ve positioned yourself as a “writer for hire”, when your differentiator is “I write great copy”, when you don’t have a clearly defined target market … you’re going to find yourself answering the “How much do you charge?” question a lot.
The more you can position yourself as an experienced professional — with important differentiators in a defined target market — the more the emphasis will shift from “How much you charge?” to what you can do for prospective clients.
By the way… whenever you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you grow your freelance business:
1. Grab a copy of my book for ESTABLISHED writers.
You’ll discover a different way to think about your challenges during this crisis. Plus you’ll get clear recommendations to get you through the storm safely … and to come out the other side stronger than ever. — Click Here
2. Download a free copy of my book for writers who are NEW TO FREELANCING.
I’ll show you the 3 things you need to do to get your business off the ground safely and land your first paying client faster. — Click Here
3. Join my implementation program and be a case study.
I’m putting together a new implementation group this month. If you’d like to work with me to grow your income quickly with better clients (and become one of my new success stories) … just hit reply and put “Case Study” in the subject line.
4. Work with me privately.
If you’re a 6-figure writer who’s trying to earn more in less time, with less stress, I might be able to help you get there faster than you think. Just hit reply, put “Breakthrough” in the subject line, and I’ll back to you with more details.