I always encourage freelance writers to charge fees that truly reflect the value they deliver.
And this often means raising their prices.
But sadly, many freelance writers continue to price their services much too low.
Some have fallen into the trap of charging by the hour. Others charge by the project but still struggle to make a sustainable living.
So why do so many freelancers fall into those traps?
Because raising your prices can provoke anxiety.
Every time you send out a proposal and don’t hear back, you wonder if you’ve set your prices too high.
I can certainly relate to that. But before you conclude your prices are too high, here’s what you should do instead:
1. Don’t assume the worst
It’s easy to jump to conclusions when you don’t hear back after submitting a quote or proposal.
You start to think, “Gosh, they were so astounded by my pricing, they don’t even know how to respond!”
But honestly, this is rarely the case.
It’s much more likely that the prospect is simply busy. So don’t assume the worst.
2. Follow up strategically
If you don’t hear back after a couple of days, start to follow up strategically.
Ideally, you would use a follow-up sequence that you’ve defined in advance for these kinds of situations.
By having a pre-defined process, you take some of the emotion out of the situation.
When you don’t have one in place, you’re more likely to come off as desperate (or respond in a way you’ll regret later).
And if you still don’t hear back after completing your follow up sequence, put the prospect in your nurturing bucket.
3. Consider where you are in your business
If it gets to the point where you’re struggling to land ANY new clients, then yes, you should look at your pricing in the context of where you are in your business.
If you’re just starting out, you might need to lower your prices, at least initially, to land those first one or two clients.
But once you’ve got some samples and more traction, revisit your pricing and see if you can push up your fees a bit.
Unfortunately, many freelance writers fail to take this step. And those initial low fees stay with them for a long time.
4. Consider your positioning
Sometimes a problem of “too high pricing” is actually a problem of positioning.
Higher fees will price you out of certain markets. Some prospects and industries won’t be able to afford your rates. That’s okay!
It doesn’t mean that you should lower your rates. Instead, it may mean that you need to position yourself differently or go after a different target market.
In general, this means going after businesses and markets that sell products and services that are expensive and complex.
Also, you want to target businesses and markets that already understand the value of writing and marketing and don’t need to be convinced!
5. Ask the right questions
A lot of potential pricing issues can be resolved during your first call with the prospect.
Because you should always talk money during that call.
If you’re talking to the director of marketing, you can ask the question flat out: “What kind of budget are you working with?”
If the prospect is less savvy, they might not have an answer for such a direct question. In that case, give them a ballpark number instead. “For this type of project, my typical fee is $XYZ, which includes A, B and C. Is that within your budget?”
Talking money during the call gives you immediate and valuable feedback on your pricing. It also gives you room to adjust or hold firm as appropriate.
It will also help you identify prospects that are only interested in kicking tires and finding rock bottom pricing.
When a prospect is primarily driven by price, it will become evident during your conversation.
In fact, many times those prospects won’t even agree to a phone call, which indirectly solves the problem for you.
Price Might Not Be the Problem
When you don’t hear back from prospects, it’s easy to assume that your price was the problem.
But it might have nothing to do with your price.
Maybe they just haven’t had a chance to respond yet.
Or maybe they were looking for a bargain-basement deal.
And even if a prospect does balk at your prices, that doesn’t always mean your prices are too high.
It might just mean that they’re too high for that particular prospect, in this particular market, at this particular time.
And in many cases, that’s perfectly alright.
By the way … whenever you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you grow your freelance business:
1. Grab a free copy of my new book for writers who are NEW to freelancing.
It’s called “The 3 Magic Levers: How to Get Your Writing Business Off the Ground and Land Your First Paying Client.” — Click Here
2. Download a free copy of my book for ESTABLISHED writers/copywriters.
You’ll discover how to quickly and predictably reawaken dead leads, generate new client opportunities and convert not-yet-ready prospects into freelance writing clients. — Click Here
3. Join our “Get Better Clients Academy”
You’ll get a personalized action plan based on where you are today in your business. Plus all the tools, scripts, checklists, cheat sheets and templates you’ll need to escape feast-or-famine … grow your income … and land clients who love and respect you. — Click Here
4. Get your website DONE!
If you’ve been struggling to get your website done … or if you’re not happy with what you’ve got today… let my team and me build you a beautiful website for your writing business. We’ll do all the hard work! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org … put “WEBSITE” in the subject line … and I’ll reply with the details.