What does it mean when prospects baulk at your coaching fees? Perhaps they say they know your fees are fair, but they just don’t have the cash right now – surely you understand. Maybe they are overcome with a coughing spell, excuse themselves and never return. Or they just burst into laughter and say you must be kidding. Fine. But what does it really mean?
Coaching Is not a Commodity
The fact is that if anything is not a commodity, it is coaching. Standards and credentials are still not well established. And to make things trickier, coaching is new to most people so they don’t have a sense of what is a reasonable fee. It’s a little like people’s reactions to the cost of a custom made suit or piece of handmade fine jewelry. We live in an era of mass produced items, sold in highly competitive marketplaces. We buy retail and wholesalers wheel and deal to deliver manufactured goods at the lowest possible price.
If Prospects Question Your Coaching Fees, You Have not Proven Your Worth
But the factors mentioned in the previous paragraph just exacerbate problem. The real issue is that you have not proven your worth, and so your prospect naturally questions your coaching fees. The fundamental questions are: what problem are you helping your client to overcome and what is the value to your client of their overcoming that problem? Comparing the value of the fix to your fees, does it seem worth it? So either you have not identified an important enough problem, you have not helped your client establish a high enough value for overcoming the problem, your client does not need your help, or your client does not believe that you can help enough to have them solve their problem. Now go back, work through those four questions and make sure you have established the right answer, both in your own mind and in the mind of your client.
Value-based Coaching Fees May Be the Fairest Fees of All
Now if you really want to put money where your mouth is try using value-based coaching fees. Don’t determine your fees based on your price per session, or your price per hour. Help your client put a hard value on the solution you are helping them achieve. Then negotiate a percentage of that value that they are willing to invest to get the solution. You can either take that percentage based on the value of the actual final outcome, or you can take a smaller percentage upfront based on your client’s estimated value. Obviously, the second choice is preferred because this fee can be paid in advance; putting pressure on the client to take the coaching seriously, and assuring that you will get your coaching fee. Think about it and maybe give it a try. But don’t blame your client for thinking your fees are too high.
JTS Advisors Strategy and Accountability Coach