Price should never be ‘how much can I get?’ but should be a fair price for what’s offered.

Some therapy and coaching offerings take a lot and are going to be higher priced and that’s fine, however they can often be more difficult to sell. A point that has come up with a lot of therapists, is that often we assume a price is ‘too expensive’ if something is not availed of.

It’s not that simple. People spend huge amounts of money on stuff all the time. Why is that? Is it because those things deliver more value?

Let’s consider a few options that cost around €1,000:

Comparative Prices 1Comparative Prices 2Comparative Prices 3Comparative Prices 4Comparative Prices 5

These are all things people spend money on. The bicycle listed is in the top 5 most popular on the online bike store that I looked at. I know lots of people with top of the range smart phones. When I broke a tooth last year that was the quote to replace it and my local electric store sells a lot of expensive TV’s before each big soccer tournament like the Euro’s or World Cup. And yes Dyson does sell vacuum cleaners at that price. (Personally, this astounds me!)

So when I look up some of the more expensive offerings on a wellness directory, these are the first three I find:

Courses 1Courses 2Courses 3

The interesting thing is that by comparison to ongoing therapy, these are not that expensive.

CBT at €80 a session for a batch of 6 is €480 but it’s easier for people to commit to session-by-session payments, than a single payment of €350. However, while many people might be better off with Mindfulness as a preventative measure, usually we choose to act when a problem is significant and very obviously present. (No, I’m not judging these skill sets versus each other, just saying different approaches are right for different people at different times.)

A friend of mine did 4.5 years of Psychotherapy averaging more than bi-weekly, so she did about 50 sessions at €60 thus paying about €3,000 over that time. (By the way, she said it was the best money she ever spent.)

Yet it’s hard to get someone to pay up front for a service over about €150 (and that same magic number of 150 works in US Dollars, and Pound Sterling too. Would love some feedback on that point from my Australian and New Zealand friends. Does it work the same in your local currencies?)

But it’s not truly about the money at that price range. It’s about all-or-nothing decisions and trust for the most part.

confidence

In my own journey of change I had great relief from anxiety and depression in about six months and at a cost of about a thousand overall. At the time I was going through those therapy options, I’m not sure I would have had enough confidence in the possibility of change to pay a lot up-front. However, around the same time I spent more than that both on a water softener and a long weekend away. Which was more valuable?

Why were these things something to spend a lot of money on when overcoming decades of anxiety and depression was not? (And for those who don’t know, I’m celebrating 6 years anxiety and depression free this year.)

In short I didn’t understand the process and I didn’t trust the results.

In my opinion this isn’t a problem, it’s an opportunity when we understand it.

Most of us therapists and coaches know loads about what we do and a lot about related modalities. We have friends who are therapists, trainers, coaches, facilitators, and our perception is influenced by this.

We assume people know more than they do.

One lady said to me last year ‘The public are much better educated these days and they demand a high standard of Hypnotherapy, and will choose the best qualified!’

Really? Ask the average person in the street and they think it’s a parlour trick. Even professionals in other therapies will be unaware of the evidence base, for example, for things like IBS. (And if IBS interests you, check out Prof Peter Whorwell, Professor of Medicine & Gastroenterology in Manchester for some peer-reviewed research.)

No one outside the field knows what the different qualifications mean in any therapy. One scientist friend of mine asked me was there a difference between a Psychiatrist, a Psychologist, and Psychotherapist or were they all the same thing? She has a PhD from a medical college so you’d expect more understanding, but there it is.

So, here’s what we can do to make things better for everyone: the client in need, the therapist needing to earn a living, and the family and community of each who also see benefits when things improve.

It’s a two step process:

Explain things in an easy to grasp way for someone completely unaware of what the implications or potential is, for what you’re offering

and ......

Build trust. (I didn’t do enough of this at the start).

connection

How to do this... root your explanation in the experience someone has if they need your help. Put it as solidly and simply as possible in ways that describe what they feel and experience.

Stay on topic. Be consistent and remember that talking about the same thing in different ways show your depth of knowledge and your experience. Every time someone sees something more from you they develop more trust and understanding of you and what you can help with.

Having spoken to hundreds of clients who have paid €1,000 plus for therapy, my own coaching clients who pay €1,250 or €2,750 depending on which one-to-one year long program they’re in, and having spoken to many other trainers and therapists in different countries, it’s always a case of people needing to understand and trust the value.

That’s a long way from ‘It’s too expensive’ or ‘people don’t have money’.

Please, if you have a high value offering at a mid to high price fee, consider how you can show your value and build trust over a period of time – more of the people who need your help, will take it when you do.

Show you understand their difficulties and show the potential of what you have to offer.

As a general rule of thumb:

Fees and trust 1Fees and trust 2Fees and trust 3

But that’s not a problem. Being consistent in what we speak about, helps keep us busy and builds that trust level.

The fact that there are no guarantees in most coaching and therapy means people will understandably want to know we’re trained, capable, or experienced in what we do. Give them some reason to hope.

Consider this, if I wanted to go to Tony Robbins next ‘Unleash the Power Within’ event, the basic ticket is over a thousand and the top level is over three thousand. All the tickets at every level are currently sold out.

Why?

Is a Tony Robbins seminar going to change your life?

It could. I know people for whom it did, and I know a lot more for whom it didn’t. But he’s clear on what he does, he shows the value, he puts out a constant message, he uses testimonials, he does video etc. All these things build trust and hope.

Thanks to that, he’s helped more people than anyone else I can think of.

Yes he’s a mega-star now, but how did he build that?

Bit by bit.

It’s the same for people you’ve never heard of. I know people locally who are charging €1,500 for a 6 day course who are booked out each time. I know people charging €165 a session for psychotherapy who are booked out, I know people charging €1200 for 2 days training. I know people charging €1,500 a day for coaching and so on.

The only difference is they make enough of a connection, often enough, that people see and trust the value. There are no guarantees so people need to have enough hope to try for the better life they want. Let’s help them with that.

A mid or high priced offering should offer good value. If you let yourself earn that income then you get to keep doing it and people get the benefits of it.

In my opinion it should never be about ‘how much can you charge’ but should be about allowing us to stay going as therapists. I hate the ‘Get huge fees from High Paying Clients’ stuff you’ll see peddled about the internet.

Equally though, we should not be afraid of asking a fair fee if that is a high one. If you’re delivering that value, if your investment of time and energy requires it, then please do offer it, but make sure people see the value or it’ll be hard to fill.

value

Let’s put in the effort to build that win for the clients and ourselves.

Please keep sharing your help,

John

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John Prendergast is an award-winning Success Coach and and Psycho-Trauma Anxiety Therapist.

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17 Comments

    • admin

      Thanks Linda, Glad you found it interesting. Appreciate you taking the time to comment. hope you’re having a great weeK! John

  • Thank you for that information. I am learning how to convey the value of what I offer clients. It takes practice!
    Yes they can get a $50 massage or other therapy, or go somewhere that offers to use their health cover rebate for a therapy, but if it’s about the money then I don’t see that they will get ongoing benefit anyway.

    I can see that I need to talk to them more about the value of what I do, as you have said, so they then look at that, rather than the $$$$$s. I think testimonials from other clients, can say a whole lot more than I can,about service value as well.

    • admin

      I completely agree Estelle, focusing on the value you provide will not only help you find more clients but it’ll make it easier for people to choose you when they need your help. Have a great week, John

  • Very timely blog, John.
    Navigating the cost versus value conundrum is challenging wherever you are, and in my part of the world it boils down in many respects to people undervaluing their mental health and therefore not seeing any reason to invest in it. So when their mental health goes to pieces, they don’t realise that it is a process to restore it. Our Western, quick-fix approach to so many things also feeds into this conundrum…

    • admin

      Hi Neville, Yes, the ‘want it now’ mentality can hold so many people back. I had one client who had been to 28 quick fix therapists with no success before realising what she actually needed.
      In my own case in decades of anxiety I had no idea it could change, but I could have told you how much therapy cost. Totally the wrong focus by the therapists I was aware of. Held me back big time.
      Thanks for the comment and hope you are enjoying your week. John

  • Marina

    Hi Peter, thanks for this blog it makes sense about simply and clearly explaining the service to someone pitched towards solving a problem or issue and building trust, although I still feel like how do you actually do that and build the trust. I offer concession prices as the few clients I see are generally single mums and I live in an average socio economic area, although I don’t think that necessarily matters do you?
    Thank you and blessings and abundance to you
    Marina

    • admin

      Hi Marina, Thanks for commenting. Yes it’s great to be able to do a lower price for someone truly struggling, and we get to make that call more easily when we’re able to pay the rent 🙂 (Since I can afford to I always have a pro-bone client now that i’m not struggling to pay the rent.)
      In any place we work there will be people at every stage on the spectrum of poor to rich. Where we are is less important than can we put the message in front of the right people in that area and then presenting the benefits. If you check out the free training on this site you’ll get some training that can help with that.
      Wishing you a great week and ever growing success, John

  • Thanks for sharing this. I am having my prices in the mid-to-high -end and find it helps as a natural selective process as well. Lower prices attracts another type of people and in my experience can be less committed to do the work. It does require a little more effort to build that trust and relationship before commitment but to me it is worth it. I like the examples you used with the iphone and vaccuum cleaner and where you put importance and value.

    • admin

      Hi Roland, I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Yes, being up front about out fees does filter people who are happy with that to begin with alright.
      Thanks for the feedback, great to hear you found the post useful. Sounds like you know what you’re doing and who you’re right for. Every best wish for continually growing success, John

  • Really timely article John
    Thank you
    Just relaunching myself this year after a 2 year sabbatical.

    Could do with you on tap for a few weeks or months.

    If you fancy a relaxing break in Portugal’s Algarve, would love to share with you.

  • Hi John

    What a great blog. I am in the process of updating my website. On my present website I don’t display prices for my services. I was planning to show them in my new site, this blog is very timely. I was asking myself if I show my prices will people think I charge too much! As the moment, I would charge the ‘lower scale’ you mentioned in your blog it’s something I have always questioned but, I also I want to put a value on my work.

    • admin

      Hi Joan, Thanks for the comment. Really appreciate the feedback. When we’re expensive I think we do better to show prices. Otherwise people who hope we’re cut-price will be getting in touch only to be disappointed. It’s more about showing what you offer to the right people than what the price is. There are people at every income bracket but most people offer for those at the lower end of the continuum. There is space for higher offerings a long as we are clear on who they are for and why they are worth the money. Every best wish for ever growing success, John

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