How to Answer, “What Do You Charge?”

If you want to strike fear into the hearts of service-based entrepreneurs, just ask one simple question: “What do you charge?”question mark

For many women entrepreneurs, nothing in the entire sales process brings up more anxiety than hearing those words.  Those four little words have the power to conjure up fear of rejection, self-doubt, and our own confining beliefs around money and value.

Many people see their sales take a nose dive at this point in the conversation, not because their price is too high, but because they give their prospective client the perception that their price is too high.

In order for your potential client to feel confident that they are getting a fair price, you have to feel confident that they are getting a fair price and you need to be able to state your fees in a authoritative and confident manner.

So here are 5 tips on how to confidently answer, “What do you charge?”

  1. Put your prejudice aside.  Never prejudge someone else’s ability or willingness to buy your services. If you fear that people will balk at your price before you’ve even told them what it is, you are prejudging them and it isn’t cool. Know that your potential clients are capable of investing in things that are truly important to them. And, if you think your price is too high, why would anyone else want to invest at that price? Stay grounded in the value that you provide and trust that the right people will see the value, as well.
  2. Answer the question effortlessly. Many people get choked up and tongue-tied when it’s time to state their fees.  Just let it flow off of your tongue fluidly and without hesitation or emotion. Stating your fees should be just like stating your street address. You don’t hesitate, you don’t think about it, there’s no emotion tied to the number–you just say it.  It is what it is.
  3. Say it and hush it. Often times people state their fees and just keep on talking without even letting their potential client absorb the information.  Give your potential client time to process what you just said and how it fits into their expectations and their budget before saying another word.
  4. Put the breaks on the price slashing. Not only do people tend to keep talking after they state their fees, but they also tend to downsell clients immediately or offer a discount before the client has even voiced an objection to the price.  Don’t do that. Instead, let the potential client process the information you’ve given them and only address a price concern if they state that they have a price concern.
  5. Answer the question within the context of a conversation.  Sometimes business owners are thrown off by, “What do you charge?” when it comes out of nowhere.  An example of this would be when someone calls you up out of the blue and asks, “What do you charge?” Never answer this question without engaging the person in a conversation.  It’s useless information if they really don’t have a clue about how your services will help them in their specific question.  When this question comes out of the blue, answer it by asking questions that really helps them to make an informed decision. Once you’ve determined what their needs are and how you might be able to help them, then follow tips 1 through 4.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, please feel free to comment below.

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About Tiffany deSilva

Tiffany deSilva is the founder, CEO, and visionary leader of BrightFire Women’s Business Network, LLC.

BrightFire Women’s Business Network is the premiere sales training and coaching resource for service-based women entrepreneurs who want to increase their sales, serve more people, and change more lives.

Feedback & Comments:

  1. Totally agree that a leading “what do you charge” question can’t be answered well without knowing more. I even don’t respond because I don’t want people picking me on price, I want them picking me based on what I can do that will be of service to them, anyway. Great tips here!

  2. Once a potential client asked Brian, after he stated our fees, if he could reduce the investment. Brian’s response was exceptional — and I use it to this day: “No, I choose not to compete with myself.”

    It is so important to stand your ground with your fees. Your article provides some rgeat tips and reminders for those who struggle to set and hold to their fees.

  3. Tiffany, as always excellent advice. I do recall one time I negotiated against myself by continuing to talk after stating a rate. Whoops! I never made that mistake again.

  4. Great post and relevant. I can relate because I used to feel uncomfortable but no more. It was suggested to me to state my fees in the same tone/way I’d say “I’m eating an apple” or as you suggest, stating your address.
    #5 is great too and I agree!

  5. Great tips. Tips 3 (Say it and Hush it and 4 Don’t discount are tips I recommend in making any offer. After all as MEL says if you keep talking you end up negotiating with yourself.

  6. This is such a well written article! So many times people “talk themselves out of a sale” by continuing to talk. I like your “hush” advice.

  7. All critical advice to remember. Do they get their mortgage or rent payment reduced?
    I want to know what they need? What they value? Are they trying to grow themselves
    and or their business and what this might be worth to them first.

  8. If the first question is “what do you charge” it’s a red flag for me. We must be able to comfortably talk about the investment in our services to the right prospects who are serious about becoming paying customers. Often if price point is one of the first questions I’ll ask a few questions in return before answers. Like *”How do you feel about investing in services that will grow your business and bring you a return on investment?”
    * “What kind of results are you looking for?”
    * “What do you want to achieve?”
    Once I understand what a person wants to achieve I can share specific and tangible success stories that lead into the investment and the return on investment. :)
    Write on!~
    Lisa Manyon

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