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Customers Want You to Ask for Money

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  • Cathy Goodwin
    ************************************************************ This article may be reprinted in any medium. Include my resource box, make no changes,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 2, 2002
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      ************************************************************
      This article may be reprinted in any medium. Include my
      resource box, make no changes, notification appreciated but
      not essential.
      Thanks!
      495 words wrapped at 60.
      ************************************************************

      Many years ago, I ran a part-time resume service out of
      my New York apartment. My client showed up on time for her
      first appointment, nervously clutching her old resume.

      "Can we just talk for awhile?" she asked.

      "No," I said firmly, amazing myself. "If you want me to
      work on your resume, there will be a charge. You can decide
      not to hire me. But we can't just sit and talk."

      I remembered this incident yesterday, when I greeted a
      neighbor in our local coffee shop.

      "I've got a friend visiting," she said. "He's thinking
      of starting a business and he wants to talk to you. We'll
      see you tomorrow when you walk the dog,"

      I went on autopilot. "I'd be happy to talk to him for a
      few minutes," I said, "but if he wants to work with me, I'll
      have to charge. This is what I do for a living."

      Customers are rarely evil people who want to steal
      services. My neighbor did not realize that consultants earn
      real money for "just talking" about business.

      Others have no idea what they are asking.

      Coach Jane asked me to make a few changes to her website. In
      return, she offered "a couple of half hours of coaching or
      something." After peeking at the source code of Jane's
      site, I emailed, "This project will take two to four hours.
      Here's what I will charge."

      Jane knew nothing of web design (a mistake -- but that's
      another article). She honestly thought I could accomplish
      her goal in less than an hour.

      Customers bring their own experience to your service. One
      veterinarian will clip your cat's claws after giving booster
      shots; another charges extra. Some hairdressers charge for a
      conditioning rinse or blow-dry.

      Pricing practices vary geographically. If your customer has
      just moved to your city, he won't know what to ask. He'll
      just fume quietly when she sees the bill.

      Finally, customers can be naïve. I ordered photos for my
      website. When the photographer told me aa certain option
      would cost "one-fifty," I assumed he meant a dollar and
      fifty cents! Fortunately, we clarified the difference
      before I signed an order for one hundred and fifty dollars.

      The photographer was uncomfortable talking about money --
      but not uncomfortable handing me a bill. Then it was my
      turn to be uncomfortable.

      The time for a frank discussion of costs and contingencies
      is before you deliver the service. A book promotion coach
      informed me, on our second call, "I rewrote your copy.
      That will be an extra fifty dollars." I refused to pay
      and will never recommend her firm.

      A written schedule of fees and terms can avoid bad feelings.
      You can always offer discounts or "throw in" extras to
      cement relationships with loyal customers.

      And when you ask a customer, "Would you also like to haveŠ"
      mention the cost. Otherwise, I believe, she has every
      reason to expect it will be free,
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      Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D. Author, Career Coach, Speaker
      *When Career Freedom Means Business*
      http://www.movinglady.com
      Ezine: http://www.movinglady.com/subscribe.html
      mailto:cathy@... 505-534-4294

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