Don't Nickel and Dime your clients

When I have a problem on my telephone line, my local telephone company always has me go through a problem elimination procedure before sending out a technician. I really appreciate this. It frequently saves me a lot of unnecessary expense.

Recently, someone who I have tried for quite awhile to convert from a prospect to a client called me regarding a problem that he was having. He told me that he would pay me to fix the problem. I was pretty sure I knew what the problem was and that it would take only a couple of minutes to fix the problem but I was on a tight time schedule.

So I told him what I thought the problem was and that evening I would check the situation and if that was the problem I would fix it at no charge. About ten minutes later, my prospect called back stated that I had been correct and that he had been able to fix the problem himself. This prospect now likes me even ,ore than he did before. The likelihood of him becoming a future client just increased dramatically.

I have a client who has a lot of turnover in his independent contractor associates. This means that his contact page needs to be frequently updated. If I did it, I would have to charge him about $20 per incident, but I set him up with Macromedia's Contribute software and he can do it for himself in five minutes or less. He loves being my client and has hired me multiple times.

In both cases, some people would think that I wasted a financial opportunity. They would be wrong. If you nickel and dime your clients you will lose all chance of client loyalty and you will not create client appreciation. Unless you are in a business in which there is almost no competition, your clients are going to base their long-term purchases on whether or not they feel that they are being treated fairly and with kindness.

Sure, if you are probably only going to sell to any prospect once, you can get away with low-balling your costs and make the margin up by tacking on petty fees at the end of the process, but you will not be appreciated in the future.

If you want repeat business and referrals, then set your prices to reflect the margin of profit which you need to make to remain motivated in your business and don't allow yourself to get into price bidding wars. You may lose a lot of "commodity" shoppers but you will gain a reputation as a genuine consultant who is fair and who has his (or her) client's best interests at heart. You will get more referrals and more repeat business if your clients and prospects learn that they can trust you.

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