Tackling the price increase conundrum is pretty scary business. With these tips, you’ll build the courage to do it.

How open are you to making changes in your firm?

I think it’s an important question. Change requires upheaval. It requires you to throw a wrench in the works and mess with the status quo.

Change requires courage.

And a lot of people simply don’t have it.

Let’s talk about a specific change that terrifies a lot of accountants – raising prices.

I bet you’re imagining the conversation right now. You shuffle into the meeting knowing that you’ve got this big sledgehammer blow to deliver. And you’ve got all of these questions swirling around in your head.

How’s the client going to take it?

Will the client leave?

How do I explain all of this to the partners?

Argh! It’s almost enough to make you want to avoid the issue entirely. Maybe you should just give up on the whole “running a profitable business” idea and just tell the client that everything will carry on as normal.

We all know that isn’t going to work.

It’s in these situations where courage comes to the fore. You need to have courage in yourself, your service, and your ability to showcase the value that you offer to clients.

Without it, you’ll struggle to raise those prices and generate the income that your skills so richly deserve.

I want to help you to build your courage. And to do that, I’ve got seven tips to offer up.

Tip #1 – Calculate the True Worth of Your Service

Tip #1 – Calculate the True Worth of Your Service

Are you charging based on what your service is actually worth?

Or, are you charging based on what you think the client will pay for the service?

There’s often a big difference between those numbers. And I see firms making the compromise all of the time.

You think that you should get “x” for what you offer. You think the client wants to pay “y”.

So, you try to find a happy middle ground between the two numbers. And you’re more likely to go closer to “y” than you are to “x”.

That’s not the way to do things.

You’ve turned your knowledge into an intellectual property that offers value to the client. To access that value, they need to pay the appropriate amount.

I think the key here is to take the emotion out of the process and focus on the raw numbers.

Calculate the value that your service or intellectual property offers to the client. Get it down on paper so you can demonstrate it in your next meeting.

That’ll give you the courage to make increases to align the price with the property’s actual worth.

Tip #2 – It’s Okay to Say No

There’s this pervading mentality that you have to say “yes” to everything the client asks for.

They want to add another task to the service. Say “yes” and keep the client happy. Don’t worry about the price though. It’s worth doing this extra bit of work just to keep the client on board.

That one extra bit of work turns into several. Before you know it, you’re working well outside the scope of the original agreement. And you’re doing it because you think you have to or the client will never stay on board.

Every time you say “yes”, you’re cutting into your own margins.

Here’s what you need to realize – it’s okay to say “no”.

When a client comes to you with a new request, you don’t have to automatically accept it to keep them on board.

Say “no”. Or, more specifically, say “no, unless you pay x amount.”

Everything you do for the client adds value. Courage comes from recognizing this fact so you can act accordingly when clients make new requests.

And of course, each of those extra tasks offers you a chance to increase your overall price for the service.

Tip #3 – Leverage Your Past Successes

If you’re looking to increase prices, it’s pretty safe to assume you’ve worked with the client for a while.

Use that to your advantage.

You can leverage your past successes to improve your courage. You’ve already provided what the client wanted at least once before.

Now, they’re going to have to pay a little extra to get the same again.

The key here is that you’ve got proof. The client already knows that you’re able to deliver.

And they don’t know whether a different firm would offer the same result.

It’s likely that the client would rather stick with a proven success than take their chances with another firm.

Tip #4 – Focus on Building Relationships With Clients

You’re so much more than a service provider to your clients.

And your clients are so much more than a source of income for your firm.

At least, that’s the way it should be. I think a lot of firms don’t place enough value in their relationships with clients. They’re not dedicating time to building rapport and keeping up to speed on what’s happening with the client.

This inevitably affects your courage when you’re trying to increase prices.

You go into the whole interaction like you’re almost working from a blank slate. There’s no relationship there so the client’s got no real connection to you.

That makes it easier for them to find someone else.

If you focus on building a relationship you increase the comfort level between you and the client. That makes it a lot easier to confront the price issue when it comes up.

Tip #5 – Look the Part

Are you presenting your best self to the client?

What I mean here is that you need to look and act the part whenever you interact with them. Specifically, you want to look successful.

That’s going to create respect from the client, which means they’re more likely to listen when you raise an issue like the price.

But I think looking the part does something valuable for you too.

Just take a look in the mirror when you’ve dressed to impress. You’re looking good and that makes you feel good.

I bet that self-confidence just got a nice shot in the arm.

Now, stride into the meeting wearing that newfound courage on your sleeve. Pulling off the look means you make a great impression. You command attention because you look like someone who’s worth listening to.

Tip #6 – Find What Makes You Different

Your firm isn’t like every other firm.

You have something that sets you apart. Now, this will differ from firm to firm. You might have a specific service that other firms don’t offer. Or, you may be a leading authority in a certain niche that will benefit your clients.

Whatever makes you different creates value for your clients.

I want you to brainstorm all of the things that you offer that no other firm can provide. The next time you need to raise your prices, come back to that list.

Take courage from the fact that you offer something unique and valuable. Then, use those differences to ensure you stand apart from any other firm out there.

Tip #7 – Define the Fear

This is one of the biggest problems I see when it comes to courage.

Firms fear change. They fear doing things that might rock the boat.

But they don’t really define what that fear is for them. It’s just this intangible mass of scary stuff that saps their courage.

The fear of the unknown is far more potent than any fear you might have about a defined consequence. Use that fact to your advantage to build your courage.

Ask yourself this question:

“What’s the worst that could happen?”

Define the worst-case scenario that could occur if you increase the price that a client’s paying. That’s likely going to be that the client leaves.

Okay. So, what effect does that have on your firm? What percentage of your revenue do you lose out on if the client goes?

Then, I want you to consider the positives that can come from that worst-case scenario.

Ask yourself if the client’s worth working with if they won’t pay the true value of your service. Remember that you have ideal clients and set criteria for who you work with.

Maybe the client wasn’t a good fit.

And with that client’s volume gone, do you now have room to bring on a new client at the increased rate? Can you offer more services to your existing clients?

The point I’m making is that defining the fear builds your courage. You know the potential consequences of the price increase and you’re more prepared to deal with them.

Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back
Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back

Courage is such an important aspect of running any type of business.

For accountants, you need the courage to change the status quo and ensure your firm keeps growing. Sometimes, that means facing up to clients and delivering news that they may not want to hear.

My tips will help you to do just that. Follow them to build the courage you need to push through the price increases that will benefit your firm.

How might this affect your financial performance?