TLDR: Most consultants don’t publish their pricing. While custom quoting based on value isn’t wrong, it can lead to a poorer buying experience, less trust at the beginning of the relationship, and even fewer opportunities overall.
I’ve been thinking about renaming the Mentorship and turning it into its own entity.
And as with any new project, there comes a point where it’s time to register a domain. The fun part. 😉
The ideal is a getting a .com. But most of the .coms I like are already registered. Some are used already for businesses and some are listed for sale.
And as I consider buying a domain, I’m reminded of the differences between published and unpublished pricing—both in how I feel and my propensity to take action.
The three kinds of domain pricing
There are at least three scenarios when buying a domain that is listed for sale:
- A published price
- Inquire for price
- Make an offer of at least $X
The domains I’m most interested in pursuing have a “buy now” price. They list the price and give you an option to buy it immediately. One fixed, transparent fee.
Tempting. The number rattles around in my head for a while.
The domains I have the least interest in pursuing are the second two kinds (contact or make an offer).
Why? Because I assume they will be expensive and/or a hassle to negotiate. I’d rather not even try unless I was really excited about a domain.
The funny thing is, the domains that don’t have a listed price may still be within my budget. But without the price listed, I assume it will be expensive and I’ll get into some complicated, used-car-style negotiation.
Which is fine for some, but not my preferred way to purchase things. I’d prefer to buy one off the shelf if I can.
It’s the same with consulting services
Most consultants don’t publish their pricing. They want to talk to the buyer first and see what they should charge based on the size of their company, the severity of their pain, and/or the scope of the work involved.
Which is fair. Pricing on value and scope makes sense. It’s not always possible to scope out a productized offer.
But it can also make for a poorer buying experience for clients. They already come to you because they’re out of depth in their expertise. They want help.
They don’t want to be subject to price discrimination, and they don’t want to negotiate on something they aren’t even sure how to negotiate on.
Most projects I see can be fit into one of my productized consulting services. The problems I solve are usually quite similar. Your business might be different, but I’m willing to bet you see similar patterns in your engagements, too.
On this site, I break my services down by levels of involvement from me.
On my coworking consultancy website, they’re broken down by company size/stage and by levels of involvement. That’s because the value and work involved in each tier are vastly different.
And while I still need to have sales conversations with prospects, they come to me sufficiently warmed up and qualified. They have given each option thought and consideration.
Plus, their guard is not up. They know I won’t opportunistically make up a price on the spot.
And that begins the relationship on the basis of trust. I’m helping them choose from a set of options, not selling them on anything or making anything up.
Which means they get to buy a service, not be sold to.
Reminders about trust
Trust is your most valuable asset as a consultant outside of your expertise.
We tend forget what it’s like to buy things we have little expertise in. Should it be $5k or $10k? The experience is daunting with all the subtleties and nuances.
And when prospects don’t see pricing, they might assume it’s because you’re very expensive or you’ll try selling them into something they don’t feel comfortable with.
And because of that, they may hesitate to reach out, which could lead to fewer opportunities for you.
Nobody wants to be sold into anything. They want to buy things they actually want.
An idea to try
Try packaging your consulting services into common buckets based on what you’ve already successfully sold in custom engagements.
Keep the scope flexible but have constraints. It needs to be nimble enough to handle variability but not so vague it can be stretched due to unrealistic expectations.
But be sure to keep a custom option available for those odd cases, which rarely get called upon, when you need to scope something unique.
It has worked extraordinarily well for me over the years. And frankly, I think it’s just a better buying experience for everyone—especially your clients.