How to tell clients prices are going up

Posted by Matt Hodson (Updated: Thursday, May 2, 2019)

Approximately 4 minutes reading time

 

Having to tell loyal clients that your prices have increased is something every business owner dreads.

It's pretty scary, right???

I have some good news, but also some bad news.

Let's get the bad news over with first. The process will not be easy, stress-free, or remotely pleasant. Oh, and you might lose some clients. 

BUT, the good news is that it'll likely be the best decision you've ever made. Sounds a bit odd, but stay with me here...

Remember, losing clients isn't necessarily a bad thing. If you think you're worth more than you're currently charging - you probably are!

I like to call this process the 'pruning' process. Some clients want a budget service; others want quality service. Those who prioritize quality are more likely to rebook appointments regularly and become better clients overall. 

So let's get started, here are some tips on how to tell clients about a price increase. 

1. Get personal

The method of how you tell your clients about the rate increase is essential. 

It's natural to want to hide a little. But honestly, sending out a mass email at 2 AM won't work! 

Stand up straight, take a deep breathe and take your clients head on. 

Ready?

Ok... three words.

Personalization. Personalization. Personalization. 

Clients LOVE to feel appreciated and loved. 

Send them a nice letter, with their name -- perhaps personalize some text to so your client thinks you're talking to them directly.

For larger businesses, this might not be possible. In this case, utilizing MailChimp might be a good option. This way you can add the client's name, email, and more information automatically to each email which goes out.

Sidenote: A lot of businesses use appointment reminders with services like Remelo. You could use this opportunity to add information to your appointment reminder templates to make the whole process automated.

2. Be honest

Humans love honesty. 

"We're increasing our prices. Like it or lump it" - TERRIBLE

"We're increasing our prices because of..." - PERFECT 

Humans are nosey creatures at heart. We love to know the reasoning behind things. Tell your nosey creatures why prices have increased.

Has your expenditure increased? I bet it has! In today's world, the prices for everything is on the rise. If you don't join the party, the likelihood is, your business won't be around to tell the tale for too much longer.

No matter what the reason is for the price hike, be honest. 

3. Don't sell yourself short

Selling yourself is a hard thing to do. People tend to be very self-critical. 

In this case, you're saying "you need to pay more for my time."

For that reason, you now need to justify to your clients why your prices are increasing.

For example, are you more educated than your competition? Do you have more experience?

Perhaps you have extra add-ons which no competitor offers. Whatever your USP (Unique Selling Point) is, now is the time to milk it. 

If you can't think of any reasons - you need to reconsider your business strategy. If you're wanting to tell your clients that your prices are increasing - you need to be prepared.

4. Focus on the positives

Nobody likes negativity. It's a disease.

Although you're conveying somewhat of a negative message, try to put a positive spin on it. 

Yes, their prices might be rising, but what are you giving in return?

Whatever your clients love about your business you need to get across that 'because of the price increase, ______ will continue to happen'

Making the clients feel as though the price increase is for their benefit is the aim of the game here.

Sidenote: I strumbled across this resource which is a great read for learning about positive writing techniques.

5. Offer an alternative

Sometimes customer loyalty works both ways. Maybe you've had some clients for years who simply couldn't afford your new rates.

A clever way of getting around this is introducing a tiered pricing system. 

Keep the same prices, but don't offer any add-ons.

A company very close to my heart did this exact strategy. Their new packages were called VIP packages, which included a premium service.

The business in question is actually a Massage Therapy center. Within their VIP packages, they used premium oils, a heated couch and a variety of other perks. 

This method in win-win for bargain hunters, and quality seekers.

6. Give plenty of time in advance

Whatever you do, don't spring it up on your clients with no notice.

Nobody wants to turn up to their appointment and realise the price has doubled.

Let them know in good time. When I say good time, I mean a minimum of two months. 

Tip: It would be a great idea to announce to price increase during a quiet season. This way clients will rush to get into the cheaper slots before prices rise, which will give you a lot of business in what would have been quiet months.

7. Give your clients a heads up

After their appointment, tell them that next time the price will be a little more expensive.

You've got to remember, a lot of emails/letters might not land to your clients. 

Nothing is better than telling them in the flesh. You can then gauge how they honestly feel about the change. 

Remember, don't focus on what they have to lose with respect to money. The focus should be what they would lose if you didn't increase your prices (quality of service).

8. Conduct a survey

SurveyMonkey would be a great place to start.

Publish a survey to your clients for more feedback on your pricing structure. 

If the data behind the survey suggests your prices should indeed increase, it should consolidate your reasoning for upping your prices.

'Because our clients love ____ service, to maintain our quality, more investment needs to be made, etc.' 

9. Don't be apologetic 

You're in business. Remember, the main aim of any business is the make money.

If you remain static and don't make any chances, your business will become irrelevant. 

More revenue means better equipment/products/premises - and most of all, happier staff (If you're passing any of the love onto them of course).

This gives your business the stepping stones to grow. This is something you should be excited about. Let your client's feel the excitement through the way you convey the message to them.

10. Remain confident

Your clients pay you for your time.

That's pretty awesome, right?

For me to part with my hard earned money, that individual must be pretty awesome at what they do.

And in your client's case, that awesome person is you and your workers. 

Yes, your prices are increasing - but odds are, you're worth it!

Stay confident, be happy with your decision, and continue to give your clients and magnificent experience. 

Remember, the quality of service is the best selling point for every business in the world.

Keep doing what you're doing and client's will continue to come - regardless of the price.

Matt Hodson

Matt is the founder of Remelo. He loves helping small businesses flourish by making them more productive.

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