Do you want to know an embarrassing secret? I sucked my thumb until I was double-digits. (I was a sensitive kid… still am.) Want to know what happens when you’re such an effective self-soother? You get crooked teeth. It’s something that’s always bothered me. Not in a dramatic way but in a gee-I-wish-I-could-do-something-about-this way.
So, at 35, I’ve been shopping for orthodontists. And braces, my friends, are expensive! In shelling out this money, what’s been a surprise delight is the business schooling I’m getting.
Often, clients confide they know they should raise their prices but they’re afraid that no one will be able to afford to hire them if they do that. It’s a completely natural fear – especially when you’re not yet bringing in the revenue you need to feel comfortable. But here’s the truth – as learned through braces shopping – people who want things will find a way. I “cannot afford” to be getting braces but I’m going to, because this is a solution I really want.
You know what else is crazy (but not)? I chose the most expensive orthodontist. There was another who lectures extensively, who was quick to show off an impressive portfolio, who I could tell was very, very good at what he does – but I just didn’t feel a connection. I could pay less money but I knew I wouldn’t enjoy being in his office. I wouldn’t love the experience of it. Instead, I chose the equally qualified but more pleasant (to me) orthodontist. And because I had such a positive interaction with him, it made me happy to pay him a little more. Truly. (And, trust me, I love a deal.)
Do you ever worry when you send out an invoice that it ruins your client’s day? Think of me, smiling to write a cheque for my soon-to-be-straighter teeth. My smile is how your client feels.
And that’s the other thing… I’m grateful to my orthodontist. I’m excited about the work we’re about to do. Do I wish it were a lot less money? Yup. Sure. But my focus is on the outcome. He is going to help me with a problem I am so looking forward to having solved. I am a willing spirit. If your clients have chosen you and you’re doing work for them that they need (and why else would they have called on you?), then they are willing spirits too. Don’t get mired in guilt or shame (“who am I to charge so much for something others really need? I could go without a nice dinner out this week to make my services even more affordable… I could go without…”) and overlook what is truly true: your client isn’t feeling the angst you’re projecting.
I have had clients tell me that they decided to work with Pink Elephant before they even saw the service menu. It just felt right. The same was true for me with my orthodontist. I knew he was the one I wanted to work with before he printed off his estimate. This isn’t a rare phenomenon for me or for the very fine Dr. Newton. It’s how most women make important buying decisions (and over 80% of buying decisions are made by women!).
We only make choices based solely on price when we aren’t that invested in the outcome. Are those the clients any of us want? The ones who are neither-here-nor-there about what we’re doing together? Nope. We want enthusiasm and care and commitment. We want orthodontic clients who will wear their retainers properly because they want the best result. And we want website design clients who are passionate about details and how their businesses are presented in the world (because they’ll most appreciate beautiful work). We want clients who really, really want to get fit and will show up for the workout. Or who are serious about following the meal plan, or who will come in for that 6-week check-up because that’s what their care requires.
I will write a really big (for me) cheque in a couple weeks when I pick up my aligners (I think that’s what they’re called), and then, I strongly suspect, I won’t think about that money again. After the trade, I will be too busy dazzling in the possibility of a really great smile (from all angles!).
Writer Carrie Klassen is a green tea enthusiast, novelist-in-progress, fine point pen aficionado, INFJ Scorpio, and president of Pink Elephant Creative, a website writing and design boutique for inspired entrepreneurs. She also writes workbooks and teaches workshops at Pink Elephant Academy for Entrepreneurs.