The Poverty Trap of the Conscientious Practitioner

…also known as, "People Always Tell Me My Services Are Wonderful, So How Come I’m Broke?"

The short answer to that question is because you’ve allowed tricky little beliefs about money to stop you…and those beliefs might not even be your own. Read on to discover an example of how that happens and a great strategy to change it.

New client relationships always start out so exciting. People come in for their first appointment, so eager to work with you. You roll out the red carpet for them. Attend to their needs. Provide a service that is wow-inspiring and lets them know they are in good hands. They leave, beaming and singing your praises.

In your mind, this is a relationship that is really going somewhere.

At their next appointment, they're delighted to see you again. You’re grateful they’ve returned and proceed to provide another wow-inspiring service. Now you’re getting into your groove with them. You understand what they want and what they need. You’re starting to make improvements in what they have come in for. You’re committed to getting them results.

Then at some point, without any obviously dramatic turning points, it starts getting off track.

You notice that they have stopped coming in as often. There is always some kind of excuse. Too busy. Not enough money (they say after their awesome international vacation.) Their dog is getting married…you name it! There is always something getting in the way of them coming in on a regular schedule again.

You both end up settling for a relationship where your needs aren’t being fully met. They don’t come in often enough to get the best results. Not great for them, but not great for you either because you take pride in your work. You would like to do more for them, but after being given a bunch of excuses, you’re pretty sure they’ll just say no again, so you’ve stopped suggesting things.

Then you had a great idea. Well, pretty great. Sort of...

You tried enticing your customers to buy a series of appointments at a discount. At least then you’ll have more of a commitment from people. And when someone takes you up on it and buys a series, you feel some relief. 

Your “Buy 5, Get 1” deal seemed to work at first, but now it hits you. The ones who take you up on it are the ones who would have come in anyway. You ask yourself, is this really incentivizing anyone? Your bread-and-butter clients are getting maintenance level work done, nothing really earth shattering…and any increase in the number of appointments has been offset by the fact that you are now charging less than regular price.

At least people still tell you that you’re wonderful…but it feels less than wonderful to be doing the same work for less money.

Where Did This Go Wrong? How Do Nice People Like You Get Caught in This Trap?

Keep reading for the answers…

Three Tricky Little Beliefs and One Major Oops

One. Believing that clients are as committed to the work as you are.

There is a big point of distinction between you and your clients. You are getting paid to be committed to the work. You also have a lot invested in the work. Not just your past and all the time and money you’ve put into your business, but you are investing in your future.

Contrast your situation with theirs. Yes, they want a result in the areas you can provide. Yet, their money dynamic is opposite yours. They have to give you money. Any issues they have about money will now affect you. If their money issues (real or just psychological) rise up, those will drown out their desire for results and motivation to hire you. Their flood of money scarcity will now flow into your business too. Which brings us to tricky little belief number two…

Two. Believing you are helping by trying to save them money.

Empathetic people don’t like to make others uncomfortable, and what makes many people feel bad? Money. When your client balks at the frequency or duration of visits you know it will take to solve their problems, you may be very tempted to fulfill their desire to minimize expenses.

In the past, maybe you’ve caved in and agreed to work for a reduced rate. You’re pretty well over that because it just feels icky. Yet still, you feel like you need to make it work for them. So you compromise your protocols. Stretch out their appointments. Let them just schedule as-needed. Then when they do come in, you try to make up for lost time by over-delivering, but it’s stressful. In trying to be nice, you’ve sacrificed results. Here’s the blind spot in this problem:

When a client is slow to get results, they lose motivation to come in. Now you’ve got a situation where there is a diminishing rate of return and an even higher chance your client will drop out. Is it because their money issues lead the relationship down the slippery slope? or could it be yours, because you allowed this to happen? This is worth asking yourself. 

Three. Believing that offering more of the same thing for less is incentivizing.

Oh, discounting. That subject is rife with tricky little beliefs. But this is a big one. While it might seem to you that a 10-15% discount is a really big deal…and it IS when the money is coming out of your income (remember belief number one and the distinction between you and your client) it’s considered a nominal courtesy to clients. Unfortunately, retail has set the standard for huge discounts. This is a very tricky trap. Small discounts on your mainstay services don’t really motivate clients. It can end up that you are voluntarily undercharging and receiving no benefit.

Better sales begin with better offers. It’s counter intuitive, but one of the best solutions for unmotivated clients is to get them off of boring maintenance routines. Offer them a chance to step up to an exciting results-driven level of care for a specific amount of time. That can be very revitalizing. Also, when the investment is a specific short-term one, sometimes the money becomes available. 

Sometimes, “I can't afford it,” is apathy in disguise.

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So What is the One Major Oops? Glad you asked.

Oops! You didn’t offer your clients a premium service package early in your work together. People are often afraid to roll out expensive offers too early in the relationship. They don’t want to scare people off. Of course you don’t want to just throw a high ticket offer out there without a warm up. And a bonus tip for you…forget about putting a high ticket package on your website with a buy now button on it. No one will ever click it. Yet by not making a premium priced offer early…maybe not even having one to offer…you are self-limiting your financial potential while missing the window of when a client is most motivated to get results.

What Are Premium Packages?

A premium package is a service or series of services that is designed to produce a highly desired result in an optimal way.

Wait…did you think a premium package is mostly about having a high price tag? It’s understandable if you thought that because that’s what a lot of other experts focus on when they talk about premium packages. They go on about packages priced upwards of $50k. How to chase down down “affluent” clients. The hook is about getting rich quick and frankly, most of it is so pretentious that it’s offensive. That is not “premium.”

Premium packages are about quality. Amazing quality. Gorgeous. Transformational. Unique to you and what you can uniquely do. Premium is first and foremost a level of service. Then it become a level of pricing (and yes, you should price it with as many digits as it deserves.)

If you can answer these questions, you’ll be on the right track…

1. What is a big problem I can solve for people?

2. What outcome do people want as a result of solving that problem?

3. How can I help them solve that problem as quickly and pleasurably as possible?

When you focus on quality, price will naturally follow. Because you will feel good about what you’re offering, you will also feel good about charging what it’s worth. Not to say that you won’t have to do a some growing into your new higher number. A premium package will probably be at least ten times your single session rate and maybe even a lot higher. It might be a big change for you, one that makes you nervous at first! Everyone has to break through old limits on their way up. Yet when you start having “price vertigo,” you won’t lose your balance if you know your premium package is fairly priced, based on its value.

What happens once you actually sell your first premium package? That is a day you will remember for a long time. Raising the roof on how much you can charge gives you a new level of abundance. Even selling your less expensive services becomes easier now. Selling your first premium package will mark the day you broke free of the poverty trap and smashed it into bits. 

Are you interested in upgrading to premium?

Instead of trying to guess how to put together the perfect premium offer on your own, book me for my Premium Packages VIP service. Click the orange button to learn even more about premium packages and how I can help you!

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About the Author

Jaya Savannah - Chief Inspiration Officer. Strategy Coach for Holistic Businesses. Trainer, speaker, and writer. Spiritually aware, yet street smart. Elephant lover.