The Hands-Off CEO Blog

VALUE BASED PRICING GUIDE – How to Command 50-200% Higher Fees Even in Tough Market Conditions

Clients have always wanted results (not deliverables).

But now they won’t invest in anything without a very CLEAR PATH TO SUCCESS. This means that to thrive in a downturn market, you may need to retool your services to communicate and deliver more certainty.

In good times this framework I am about to share with you has added millions of dollars of growth, hundreds of thousands in profit, and completely changed many lives. Our clients are also creating even more incredible transformations for their clients, and lives for their teams.

But what makes me passionate about freely sharing this is what I’ve seen it’s done for our clients post the pandemic downturn. They can weather the storm. And are adding so much value to their clients, that they aren’t having the same kinds of cancellations that others in their industry are having. It’s made their businesses strong and resilient.

We are in a new normal of uncertainty. And this is going to require some very intentional changes to build confidence in our services. And to thrive in this market. So that’s why what worked before, may no longer work now.

The Real Reason Why Clients are Not Buying Right Now…

The services that aren’t consistently generating results, are getting flushed. (I predicted this years ago here, see #4. And on our Hands-Off CEO Podcast.) They need to get lean and cut costs. So if your service is delivering about the same perceived outcome as the next one, they’ll go with the cheaper option. And they should because they’ll get a better ROI.

Those are the services that are getting canceled right now. And that no one is buying. These services are too commoditized. They have either failed to deliver value aligned with the investment, or have failed to communicate the value to the client. That’s the real reason why clients are canceling right now.

It’s always been this way, but now the economic climate has forced businesses to better evaluate their investments. And good for them!

Now is the time to be bolder. Now is the time to create your dream business by identifying new untapped opportunities.

I am excited about the opportunity because the market is primed and ready to accept innovative solutions.

Here are results we are seeing RIGHT NOW (4/10/2020).

  • Sales consultancy doubling project fees from $16K ; now selling between $32K-$50K with their new offer.
  • Brand marketing agency making new sales amid the chaos, and launching a new offer that they can sell for twice the investment.
  • Financial consultant going from an average fee of $24k to offering a growth program for $60k per year.

You might say, “Well that might have worked then…” And you’d be right. It would have worked even better. The first one, I think it could have sold for 3X last month (and maybe still can). I know that because another client in their same space went from a $15-30K to a $125K offer 30 days ago.

This isn’t magic. Why it still works even in this market, is that we apply their best work to solve painful problems, and deliver bigger outcomes. And they…

Articulate a clear path to results that communicates certainty to the client.

And even if prices just stay the same, now we have an offer that will generate consistent cash, so you have confidence that you can continue to grow (without worrying about laying people off).

These principles are still sound. And are needed now more than ever.

You have an enormous opportunity in your business to be the trusted growth partner 

To do that we need to be better by digging deeper. By actually understanding what our client really want. Have a plan to deliver it. And uncover and address our clients’ biggest objections. Those internal questions that they won’t ask you. 

How do you answer these unspoken questions prospects have?

  • What will my business look like after working with you. Specific outcomes, not deliverables.
  • How will you do that? They are actually not asking HOW. They are asking WHAT and WHY. 
  • When will I see results?
  • When will we get our money back? Months to ROI?
  • How do I know it will work for me?

The better you can proactively answer these questions, the more compelling and sellable your services will be.

We counter all the reasons clients won’t buy, and find markets where they will buy.

That’s how to sell and deliver value in any economic condition. What I want you to see is that NOW is the best time to innovate to create the business that we’ve always wanted. But may have felt too risky to test out before. 

We’ve walked dozens of high ticket consulting agencies over the past 8 years. This is a proven process to innovate. Why it works in any market (even with people with weak sales skills) is that it addresses the reasons why clients don’t buy. 

The structure I am sharing we call our Irresistible Service Product™ which we guide our Scale to Freedom™ tribe members through to innovate their offers so that they can attract the best clients to be able to scale growth. Clients that are paying 30-500% higher fees. 

Sustainability is what you need to thrive in any economy. This is a time tested framework that has been delivering amazing results for our consulting agency clients. To build the foundation to scale a profitable, multi 7-figure business. This guide will tell you how to do that. If you’d like us to help you make these important decisions and accomplish this much faster, with less risk of failure, please reach out. The investment in support would be covered with just 1 new client.


Innovate and Scale Your Service in Any Market Condition

Don’t play the same fear game that the rest of your market is playing. They are retracting, cutting back, and watching and waiting to see what’s next. You can slide in, take more market share while they have their head firmly stuck in the ground.

A trusted market leader can command the highest fees. They can pick and choose who they want to work with. And they also get to work with the most desirable clients that support them to do their best work. 

That means less headaches, and that your clients are easier to work with. Using this strategy enable most businesses we work with to increase fees by at least double. And increase sales conversions attracting your most ideal clients. 

But, it will not work in all situations.

This strategy will only work if you…

  • Have a track record of delivering powerful client outcomes.
  • Are willing to stand by your results under the right ideal conditions.
  • Are trustworthy. Prospects can feel it.
  • Have the COURAGE to narrow your focus so you can dominate a market.

It’s funny that I have to say this. But to be at the top of a market – you have to actually choose a market and focus. CEOs of 8 figure marketing services that I’ve interviewed have gotten there because they focused.

Madeleine Silva meticulously followed this approach, and within the first couple months, her fee for a client went from $35K to $300K! 10X fee increase in her physician growth consulting agency! The new client will receive amazing guaranteed growth (not lame ”deliverables”) that she and her team stand by.

How clients put a value to services… 

  1. The pain of the problem they have. 
  2. And the perceived likelihood of your solution actually getting them what they want.
  3. Speed of results (usually)

** Increase value by eliminating risk for your clients **

It’s just the right thing to do. But it also creates a more sustainable business.

Jamie Birch did this and increased net profits 40% in 9 months in their affiliate marketing agency. It’s the foundation that has overhauled his whole team, and allowed him to step into the director’s seat.

Their new offer: “We add $10MM of new revenue in 3 years to beauty and skincare brands…” There is more to it, but this offer is selling like hotcakes and for over 2X the fees! Prospects are even making referrals!


Important side note:

>> You must be willing to up-level your sales game to get these kinds of results! 

>> You don’t have to be amazing at sales if you follow what I am teaching here. (Truth be told, I created this system as a crutch for myself to test bigger outcomes. And because I was terrible at selling once upon a time.)

>> These are ordinary people who’ve developed extraordinary courage and focus.

>> To be successful, we have to reverse engineer what it would take to deliver even bigger outcomes. You become the industry leader by doing this!

>> This requires your team to develop new approaches that go outside your comfort zone.

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7 Steps to Sell High-Ticket Services in any Market.

1)  Dig for gold.

Stop being an expert of [insert your specialty] and start being your clients’ indispensable growth partner. You can offer services to just about anyone. Results vary considerably though. And you aren’t quite sure why.  To confidently sell outcomes, you need to know who will get the best results and why.

Who is your best client that you can partner with to deliver your most impactful work? 

Look at your case studies. What do the most powerful ones have in common? What would it take to replicate those outcomes? Does it work better for consumer brands or B2B? High ticket, or high volume? Newer companies or established? How many years in business?

2) Quantify outcome 

What are the tangible outcomes of the work your team did from them? Too often I hear something like… “We help our customers grow by getting their internet marketing right.” 

That’s good enough to “close” an endorsed referral. But you can’t scale your business on that kind of offer. You have to get more specific, but in a meaningful way. 

Example: Let’s say you increase organic traffic 400%. How many leads did that bring? New customers? What’s the value of that per client over 12 months? If you did this consistently for… 2, 3, 5 years what would the total outcome be?

Use the brainstorming to really own your value

** This step right will likely make you uncomfortable! Lean in. 🙂 **

3) Focus on the problem

From the above you have what you need to focus.

SELL TO THE POWER OF 1’s

  1. 1 – Painful and relevant problem  (6-7+ figure problem)
  2. 1 – Client that has access to money and is willing to spend it
  3. 1 – OUTCOME client gets the work you are doing for them

There is your focused “market-dominating niche”. Keep questioning your assumptions and limiting beliefs. Push it farther and farther. Make it a game. Your mind will want to make up all sorts of lame stories like “if we did this we could only work with 3 clients…” “Our team would be bored..”

Ignore all that static! Recognize that 95% of your industry will be too chicken to accept this approach. And take on the responsibility of standing by outcomes vs. deliverables. This takes a new way of thinking that might feel scary. But sadly, the typical approach washes out 80-95%+ of businesses. Often because their marketing stinks and/or cash flow is weak (both are solved with this approach).

For example, we actively target consulting agencies positioned to solve specific painful problems. Why? They are bursting at the seams with business. Which is a great problem for us to help them solve since they are close to having to turn away business and their growth stalls.

4) Stack the odds in your favor

Look for every reason why your client would NOT get results.

Put together a Hazardous Client Checklist & Qualification Checklist so you are 100% confident that the client has everything needed to get them a great result. This includes psychographic characteristics as well. Here is an example of a part of what we look for at Hands-Off CEO™.

Many service providers get stuck in either hard-selling, or passive selling because they “don’t want to be that guy.” You can skip that whole game entirely by qualify clients based on the factors that will lead to success for clients. It’s no longer a guessing game to know who will get results. Now you will know. And what that does if give you certainty and enables you to more easily enroll new clients because you can paint the picture for what you see possible for their business, and why you know it will work.

Sales then becomes very easy and fun because you see just how much impact you can make. Selling is all about confidence. YOUR confidence first, then your ability to instill that confidence in your prospect.

This is what happened for Allison Wasz Lanier who was newer to sales as the new owner of the business. When we broke this down for her consulting agency, she went out and closed a 6 figure engagement! Allison said the sale was 100% due to this process.  

Qualify Clients to uncover reasons why you will NOT succeed. You then have 3 options to proceed:

  1. Transform it. Example below.
    • Barrier: Growth goals are too small to make the ROI make sense for the fees.
    • Possible Solutions: Paint a picture for your prospect of the possibility they see and inspire a bigger vision for their business.
  2. Eliminate it. Create a process in your business that prevents the barrier to success. Example below.
    • Barrier: Can’t guarantee results because clients can’t converting the leads you give them.
    • Possible Solutions: partner with a sales trainer, provide training to their team on how to follow up, partner with someone to hire an effective salesperson, find the breaking point and coach client through it, or automate the process.
  3. Move on. To create space for what you DO want, you must be prepared to say no to what you DON’T want. Most stay stuck in scarcity mode, taking on whatever scraps comes their way. Instead of choosing to create a remarkable company where you only work with your most ideal clients that support your reputation of being the top of your market. One of our clients Jamie Birch and his company made that choice, and it led to them becoming best in class. And also earning Agency of the Year Award and other marketing awards.

You might be thinking, “These are all the leads that I have! We need the business.” And that’s the problem. In the long run this approach I’m lying out will generate more organic leads and quality referrals. But by now, I am sure you’ve realized that you cannot sit around and wait for the next referral if you to thrive in this new market. Some would stay busy by taking in whatever business came in the door. But that didn’t mean it was the level of quality of clients that you wanted.

So I think we are now finally on the same page that you must be willing to reach out to connect with ideal prospects. The good news is with a fantastic offer, you now just have an awareness problem. Because your most ideal clients badly want what you are offering. (Notice I didn’t say need. People we sell people what they are willing to buy, and deliver them what they need wrapped into your service.)

5) Anticipate and sell to objections

** To sell a higher ticket service, you need to get much better at SELLING and communicating the value of your offer. **

Below are questions that your ideal prospects need answers to.

  • What do I actually get??? (Not deliverables.)
  • What will my business look like after working with you for a year?
  • How will you do that? (They are really asking what and why, not how.)
  • When will we see results?
  • What are the main general functional steps? What do they get from completing each step? (Prizes)
  • When do we get our money back? Months to ROI?
  • How do I know it will work for me?

When you are selling a service that you know will deliver 5-10X ROI for a prospect… You are then selling money.

6) Sell them Your Irresistible Service Product,™ and price accordingly 

Really go for it for your clients. Make them a great offer. Stand by it with a powerful guarantee. A weak one just erodes trust. Shoot for pricing to deliver a 5-10X ROI. When you sell based on value, pricing is less of a concern. Some of our clients even get creative with terms to get paid on the upside of the results you produce.

Our favorite way to communicate that is with a visual a Client Success Map.™ It answers those questions, making selling systematic, and simple. Our clients report that they can now communicate their offers in a fraction of the time, with higher conversion.

Like Madeleine Silva who I mentioned earlier who guarantees private practice doctors at least 6-figures in new net profits in the next 12 months. Her Client Success Map allowed her to company to double the cash collected upfront, and increase the total value of the sale by 860%.

This is the format we start with:
“We create [outcome] for [client type] [qualifier- time frame, without this painful thing, guarantee, etc.]”

We start to brainstorm ideas and it morphs into another more polished format. This is fine-tuned to a specific market and problem. So each business who walks through this process, looks very different at the end.

Examples:
“Expand your empire, faster, with double-digit growth– guaranteed. And with higher profit margins than you ever thought possible.”
“Add $1,000,000 to your food business’ revenue in 12-months– guaranteed! Without having to beg buyers to put you on their shelves.”
“We add $10M of revenue in 3 years for Fashion, Beauty and Skincare brands without incurring unearned affiliate commission costs.”
“We add 6-figures in new net profits in the next 12 months for private practice Physicians.

BONUS: A scalable service company that removes you as the bottleneck to your companies growth…

  • The CEO no longer has to SELL services – You’re lowered the level of expertise required to sell your services so it’s easier to delegate sales. (But if you don’t do these steps first, your salespeople will very likely fail.) 
  • The CEO no longer has to DELIVER services – Or, it at least it paves the way to you being a lot more hands-off. When you’ve streamlined what your business actually does for clients (and what you don’t do), it’s easier to create scalable systems to generate higher quality.

7) Cover your butt

In your contract and work agreements, you’ll have “Reasonable Conditions” they need to meet in order for you to guarantee the result for them. You need to qualify the prospect to ensure they will do their part to get results. Both of your success is dependent on it. 

For example, I bought a program from marketing mogul Perry Marshal. His team made me sign a waiver nullifying their guarantee before purchasing because I hadn’t run ads for the past year. It actually made me want the program even more. I knew they stood by what they sold, and they could articulate exactly the risks of me not getting the desired outcome. This gave me confidence as a client to dig in even more, and I did so well in their program that I won a performance award.

One of our conditions is that our clients are willing to invest at least 10 hours per week on sales. We make sure they are actually willing to follow a proven process to scale and generate more business. Some leaders want to just wait for the business to come to them, and we disqualify them in our sales process.

Bottom line: If clients aren’t willing to do what it takes to be successful, don’t support them.  


There you have it. A proven system to…

Innovate your services, continually command your higher fees, and attract amazing clients– in any market condition.

This is the path to a service that is more sellable. But it’s also the foundation for your services becoming scalable. There are much less moving parts and it’s easier to train. It’s much more profitable too!

It’s the foundation you lay to create a sustainable, scalable multi-million dollar consulting agency. A business that you have the complete freedom to work whenever and from wherever you want to.

I’ve just given away (a lot) of the farm. If you’d gotten this far, you probably have a lot more questions. Like… “How do I know what is the best market for us?” “What should our guarantee be?” “How do I make sure that clients don’t take advantage us?” “What should the steps be in our client success map?”

If you are looking for support implementing this into your business, we may be able to help. And it wouldn’t cost you anything because you’d make back your investment from just one new client which should happen within 30-60 days.

If you’re on your way to 7 figures or past it, and you’d like to accelerate growth, let’s chat. We can look at your best opportunities to thrive in this new market and how to make sales a lot easier for you or your sales team.

Apply for a Profitable Innovation Opportunity Session.

 

 

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Mandi Ellefson helps service businesses with the tricky task of becoming scalable. Her passion is helping freedom seeking entrepreneurs scale the better way– for success in their business and in the rest of their life. Out of a decade+ experience and testing as a business manager, and then building and selling a design business, Mandi has created a system that is responsible for generating tens of thousands of dollars of new revenue for businesses she's worked with.

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