How to Avoid Cutting Your Rates | Q & A


Question: How can coaches, creative types, consultants and speakers avoid cutting their rates in this economy?

Answer: Keeping your rates set is important for many reasons, but the biggest one is probably the most surprising: being ethical to your current clients and your own company.

How fair is it to cut your rates for new business and keep your prices high for existing clients?

I hear you thinking: Don’t businesses do that all the time?

Yes, there are “new client only” deals. And, having an intro offer is okay, but agreeing to ongoing discounts doesn’t work. That’s why your introductory rate rises to the going rate with services like cable TV and cell phone.

So, how competitive are you? Don’t undercut to match the competition – ever. You know what your time is worth, so charge for it.

Adopt the Exchange Value for Investment Mindset

Would you pay $10,000 for an hour of Internet advertising consulting? Yes, if you wanted one of the members of my Internet marketing mastermind group to advise you. That’s her going rate. The first time I heard that I said, “Wait a minute. Did you just say you charge $10,000 per hour?”

As she confirmed her rate, she explained that the companies who were willing to invest that much were serious about making money. So serious that they knew one hour would immediately recoup their investment in sales by improving their conversion rate and making smarter ad buys.

After we talked, I realized that although our hourly rate is a fraction of hers, we routinely make and save money for our clients. Yet, many clients get stuck on the hourly rate question. “You never want to charge more than a lawyer and that’s about $200 an hour,” someone once told me.  

I’m an advocate for equitable and generous hourly rates for most creative and consulting types, but only if their work results in closer client connections, clearer communications, more sales made or higher funds raised.

What if coaches, creative types and consultants were compensated by their direct impact on performance, revenue or behavior?

Before you think about cutting your rates, think about how an investment in your services is an exchange for enhancing your client’s business.

Capsulate Coaching, Creative or Consulting Credentials 

Come up with a quick bio that makes you stand out right away, like this one . . .

accelerating communications, marketing and PR results
for corporations, entrepreneurs and non-profits since 1990

CoryWest Media LLC Creating Business for Business

Ways to Keep Your Rates for Consulting, Coaching or Creative Services Intact 

1. package services into levels to cut through the time it takes to create a proposals, one of our most popular is the “60 minute second opinion,” a basic, yet thorough, marketing audit

2. give a project rate, not your hourly rate and match services to fit their budget, say here’s what we can do for $X

3. test coupons, offer an introductory evaluation or a brief consultation, be sure you have an expiration date

4. make a donation to a local charity, gets you both attention and helps a worthy cause

5. compare value – what can you save them or earn them when they buy your services?

6. partner up with other vendors and put together a giveaway promotion, they buy from you, they get discounts to other places

7. shift the budget- find ways for them to fund your services by shifting the budget away from under-performing investments to your high-performance services

8. guarantee that they will be thrilled with your services

9. demonstrate success: show them how other companies benefited in before and after case studies with testimonials from happy clients

10. reward referrals from your clients

11. slim down: trim extra time from processes

12. publish results, both past and present

Your Turn

How is the economy affecting your business – what steps, if any, are you taking to modify your marketing?


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