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:
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:
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.
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
Build trust. (I didn’t do enough of this at the start).
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:
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.
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.
Let’s put in the effort to build that win for the clients and ourselves.
Please keep sharing your help,
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John Prendergast is an award-winning Success Coach and and Psycho-Trauma Anxiety Therapist.
He is also the Founder of Therapy and Coaching Success that specialises in helping Therapists, Coaches and other Wellness Practitioners, connect with those in need, build their diaries and earn the income they need.
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