All of us have our unique demons that can undermine our confidence and erode our authority to stand up for our value, demand our pricing, and refuse scope creep from our clients.
Many of these creatures of the night snigger at us to create or sustain a context of scarcity and fear. Maybe we learned it as children. Perhaps in our early careers we over-reached and were rejected in our bid for work, or told to “learn your place.”
I hear the whispers of these demons from my clients — and every one of my clients is established and successful and making excellent revenues. But the whispers are still there. And they confide in me about the demons.
“Who is going to pay me that much money for this work?” (The client never asked about the price).
“Don’t you think the total package-price of services is too high for this prospect?” (You don’t know until you ask. Trust your prospect to object to the price if it is too high, and negotiate with them if you want to, when you have more information.)
“What if we structure the program this way and they only want to do half of it?” (That would be fine, as you will have protected your profit margins in the core pricing, and the client can increase the scope of work later.)
I understand better now, how much effort it takes to shift your context to one of deep self-value. Quietening those demon whispers is a work of years of diligence. It took years to embed that context into your world view, and it may take years to shift it.
But you can do it. It takes courage to defend your value: to say no to prospects that are not suitable as clients, to refuse speaking engagements that do not contain your target audience, to ask for more payment as the scope of work exceeds the boundaries of your agreement.
And if you consistently assert your value, and then notice what happens (and what does not happen), you will have new information about how the world sees you, and respects you. Make a note of it every time — write down (briefly) the prospect or client, the situation, your dread, your handling of the issue, and the response you received. Years ago, I wrote up a page on “What I learned from working with XXXXX” when a consultation had gone really wrong. I learned a great deal from those notes about carefully screening my prospects before beginning, and about insisting on rational deadlines for deliverables.
So, take some care — with yourself first, and then with your prospects and their expectations. And pay attention to the results of your standing up for yourself, your expertise, and your pricing. It is the only way re-train your context for the future.