by Marcia Yudkin
Conventional wisdom has it that there are only three ways to grow your business: find new customers, increase the amount of each sale to existing customers or get customers to buy more frequently. But I've seen business owners go blank when presented with those three options. So here is a more useful list of ways to increase your total revenues without in most cases having to put in more hours at the office.
1. Charge by the project rather than by the hour. Hourly fees are a death trap for the experienced professional. You get penalized for being able to zoom right in to the nub of the problem and its solution. If you are good at what you do, instead provide customized quotes for each whole project. Most clients prefer this anyhow, so that they know in advance what they will owe you. The exception is when you can't nail down the scope of the project before getting started; in that case alone, revert to hourly fees.
2. Boost your exclusivity and perceived value. If you emphasize that you don't sell to just anyone who shows up at your door, but you have certain criteria for the clients you choose to serve, people become more eager to engage your services. Likewise, if you drive home the value that you provide with testimonials, case studies, client lists and specific results you have achieved in the past, you'll get a greater return from all the marketing you're already doing.
3. Create higher-end, higher-priced programs and options. A photographer friend of mine learned that people enjoy options to select from, and they most like to select the next-to-most-expensive option. So to increase her income from framed family portraits, she simply offered a larger and more expensive frame as the biggest option. Customers were then more likely to choose the second biggest, which cost more than the previous second biggest frame.
4. Create a repeat-billing product or service instead of selling one-shot products or services. Get clients to sign on to some sort of ongoing service plan, and you get a longer, larger return from each of your marketing efforts. For the photographer, this could be a plan for enlargements tailored for a number of holidays spread throughout the year, such as Mother's Day, Father's Day, Christmas and Valentine's Day.
5. Revise your current products and services for a specialized market and charge more. Whatever the industry, people believe they have special needs and therefore they will pay more for products and services specifically for them. By making small and in many cases insignificant changes in your offerings, you can increase people's willingness to pay more for your items or your knowledge.
6. Sell related products and services - your own
or someone else's - to current and past customers. Hair stylists easily
sell mousse and conditioner to their clients, who want to look as
great when they're on their own as they do when walking out of the
salon. When people buy from you, what else do they typically need
to enjoy a complete solution to their problem?
Mark up the offerings of other service or product providers along with your own, and your total revenues go up.
7. Make it possible for clients to prepay and "stock up" on your services or products. I pay for the next winter's fuel each summer and get a lower price per gallon, and the fuel company gets lots more money earlier. Similarly, offer a slight discount for six months or a year's worth of your consulting services, and your cash flow can instantly improve.
8. Simply raise your prices. Most entrepreneurs charge too little and are thereby earning less than they could with every sale. Raise the price of your book from $17.95 to $19.95, or of your fee for cleaning teeth from $90 to $99. Usually there's little or no resistance from your market. Sometimes with a significant raise in prices, you lose some customers but revenues increase overall. That's the goal!
Marcia Yudkin <[email protected]>
is the author of 6 Steps to Free Publicity and 10 other books.
She runs a private member site, MarketingforMore.com, which supports
business owners who are growing their businesses. Learn how to avoid
the most common pricing mistakes in her free report, "Charge
More & Get It," available from