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Is My Pricing Hurting My Business? A Pricing Strategy Workshop for Entrepreneurs & Business Owners

Online • November 24, 2020

​Whether you are "fresh out of corporate" or have been at business ownership a year or two, learn the 5 most common pricing mistakes and how to price your services for maximum profitability.


Deb Boulanger 22:23
Welcome. I am the CEO of the great duo over founder of the launch lab for women entrepreneurs hosted the life after corporate podcast, and the chapter leader for elevate entrepreneurs, which really started out as a New York City's chapter for a segment for entrepreneurs. And we've been doing the programming for that. And in March, when in person events were no longer an option. We opened up that programming to everyone around the globe, we meet twice a month on the first and third Thursdays. The first Thursday is and elevate entrepreneurs Roundtable. And the third Thursday is a more formal presentation. But our our goal and mission is to move the entrepreneurial mission forward and help you grow your businesses and support you in that fundamental way so that you can achieve the revenue goals make the impact that you want to make with the world. So with that, I would like to know who feels they have a challenge with pricing their services. And today's discussion. Yeah, just raise your hands. Right? You have a challenge with pricing your services. Yeah, so pricing your services is hard.

Unknown Speaker 23:35
Especially as a service based entrepreneur, it can kick up all your stuff. It challenges your own self worth and your version, your vision of yourself worth. And we'll talk about the five pricing mistakes that most new women entrepreneurs make, and three pricing strategies that will increase your profitability. So I have some slides to share. And if you have questions or comments as we're moving along, feel free to type them in chat. But we're will open this up for q&a and actually workshopping your pricing challenges with respect to your individual businesses before we're done today. So does that sound good to you? Um, are we on the right page? All right, I'm sitting head nods I don't have to say type Yes In chat. This is great to have everyone in the same room. So without me and share my screen

Unknown Speaker 24:31
All right, is my pricing hurting my business? So this is the pricing master class. Um, so Joanne, if you could just pin a spotlight my video I'm gonna try and move myself somewhere else so that it's in speaker view mode. There we go.

Unknown Speaker 24:49
Alright, so you are in the right place today. If you're just getting started and perhaps you are fresh out of corporate, or you've been at this a while and you're not so fresh.

Unknown Speaker 25:00
Shouldn't you really thought you'd be further along financially than you are right now and you're ready to release that struggle, or you're thinking about making the leap. And perhaps you want to make sure that you can replace that corporate paycheck. So that's the number one challenge. I hear from New women entrepreneurs who want to make the leap. And what you can expect from me today is some real insight around pricing. I'll share with you the five pricing mistakes that I see most new coaches, consultants and other service based businesses make and how to avoid them, and share three key strategies that will enable you to charge a premium for your services and feel totally confident in your offers. And I'll share with you the three foundations that will shift how you think about your business going forward. And the bonus is we're already in the live room, I said to Joanna Oh, after our, our formal presentation today, I'd like to invite everyone into the live room for q&a. And surprise, we're already here.

Unknown Speaker 26:00
If we don't know each other, um, this is not my first rodeo, I have been launching services for the better part of 25 years, it became my my secret sauce. And, um,

Unknown Speaker 26:18
you know, it's

Unknown Speaker 26:20
I'm not a coach who founded a methodology for launching services. And that's giving you a cookie cutter approach that likely doesn't work for everyone. So I've literally been launching services for 27 years in the corporate world. And in my own business, I've been an executive leader in corporate, I've been a group vice president in charge of product management, Product Marketing, I launched and grew a business from concept, which is something I tested out, and I'm a big fan of testing instead of guessing whether something is going to work and we grew that baby to $32 million in 30 months, and then I was exhausted, burnt out. And a lot of other things happen that actually led to me becoming an entrepreneur from my entrepreneurial experience. If you know me, I am a webinar lover. There's nothing I love more than hanging out with you right now. And, and understanding what are some of the challenges that you have and giving you some strategies to get beyond that. My brands are the great do over which is my Corporation, the great day over when I initially started, I was working with women in leadership roles I'm helping them do over their careers, or make that leap to entrepreneur. And when I saw where most women entrepreneurs were struggling with creating a profitable business model, I created the launch lab Academy for women entrepreneurs. As I mentioned, the coast, the host of life after corporate podcast, which I would love for you to subscribe to. It's quick, as easy little bytes of information that will help you move along your journey. So diving in to the sobering statistics, if you're familiar with the American Express report on women owned businesses, women are it's probably even more than this at this point. Because this was

Unknown Speaker 28:13
now 11 months ago that this report came out. But they're at that point, it was 1871 new businesses launched by women every single day. And that represented 45% of all small businesses. But here's the real kicker, that if we think there's a pay gap in the corporate world where women are earning 70 to 80 cents on the dollar, are black woman sisters are women of color even less than it's 30 cents to every dollar for a male owned businesses. So women entrepreneurs are only earning 30 cents on the dollar. If you'd like to see that change type Yes, in chat. It's become my mission. And part of my

Unknown Speaker 29:00
really focus on the business is to really help you stand in your value and stand for what you're worth 88% of women owned businesses will earn less than $100,000 and 75% of all businesses will fail. And the number one reason for failure is no market need. And I'll go into that a little bit later. Because you think you know, why would anyone risk their financial future, launch a business when there was no need for it? And they had problems with getting people to buy and that's what I saw as I was going on this entrepreneurial journey, really relearning my skills to go from corporate leader to entrepreneur. And those of you who have made that leap know exactly what I mean. The skills that you learned in the corporate world aren't necessarily the same skills that will help you succeed as an entrepreneur.

Unknown Speaker 29:57
And pricing is hard because it

Unknown Speaker 30:00
forces you to assign a monetary value to the results that you're delivering. There's nothing like that, that's going to just kick up all your stuff. And there's part of you that's afraid of overcharging and being rejected. And there's another part of you that's afraid, but a little bit less so of undercharging and leaving money on the table. So given those two choices, most women I know, we'd rather leave money on the table and undercharge rather than overcharge and be rejected. So the issue with pricing is you need to mentally

Unknown Speaker 30:39
and I would almost say spiritually, line up behind your value. And most of the time you back down.

Unknown Speaker 30:48
So it's easier to make your offerings a steal, then stand behind a bigger value proposition for your clients. And we'll be peeling this apart, and creating new strategies for you to stand in a different way. And if this feels like a good use of your time, I'm just going to head over to chat, see what's happening over there. Just type yes in chat, if that's a good use of your time. I'm sure Rosa, happy to connect with you afterwards. Yes, Lisa. Right. So let's dive in. Yep, yep. Good, good. Good.

Unknown Speaker 31:26
All right.

Unknown Speaker 31:28
So here are the five most common pricing mistakes. And if you see me looking away, I'm also going to pull up my notes here, so I don't miss anything that I want to share with you today. So there's five pricing mistakes that undervalue your impact. And the first one is matching your price to your competition. So sometimes when I start working with a client in the launch lab, or maybe even a private client, we start pricing and they want to look around and benchmark what all the competition is doing, because they're afraid of pricing myself out of my market. So you don't want to price too low. And you don't want to price too high. So you sit smack in the middle. And the problem is, if you look sound and price, like your average competitor, you will look average to your market. And then you create this self fulfilling prophecy of growing an average business and struggling to get new clients. So feel free to drop any mics for whichever one of these actually hits home with you today. This one happens to be my very favorite. And if you're a client, and you're here, and I know there are a couple of clients here, you've already heard this from me already. And that's pricing based on what you think your customers can afford. So first, get your head out of your clients wallet. It doesn't belong there. The value of what you deliver is in the eyes of your potential client. And when you undervalue your offerings and you charge less, it's because you believe your clients can afford less. And when you do this, you undervalue them, and you undervalue yourself. So I'm going to rephrase this for you. You actually Rob these people from valuing themselves at a higher level, at the same time you rob yourself of much needed income, so give me a boom or an aha in comments if you if you just got that? Because when someone decides to invest in themselves, invest in their business, invest in their future, through what you have to offer, then you're valuing themselves at that level. And if you underprice, or perhaps you don't even make an offer, because you feel like they can't afford it, then you've just robbed them of valuing themselves. So who who can relate to that? If that is something that you've seen, or you feel that you do? make a comment in chat for some reason. I'm not seeing my chat box here. There we go.

Unknown Speaker 34:04
Yeah, okay. Yeah, that makes total sense, right?

Unknown Speaker 34:08

Unknown Speaker 34:10
The third is charging an hourly rate. And this is something that people do when they leave the corporate world. I see this less with senior people than more junior people, but you can sometimes they divide up the former salary into what you were making and translate that into an hourly rate. And that doesn't work either. Right? I mean, it should be obvious. First, you're making much more than your salary when you take into account your benefits your bonuses, and most consultants and coaches and service providers. Don't spend 100% of your time on client work. So not every hour is a billable hour. So if you are pricing by the hour, it's likely that you're really under charging for your services and even

Unknown Speaker 35:00
More important when you price by the hour and your customers know, and I'm working with someone privately right now, when you price by the hour and your customers understand that you're charging by the hour, they will try to nickel and dime your time, they'll want to schedule like half hour increments to save money, or they won't leverage your expertise as much as they should. Because mentally they see that clock ticking and the dollar signs flying out. So in these cases, you won't be able to make the full desired impact of the work that you want to do with them. And you're going to be aggravated in the process. So pricing by the hour just simply doesn't work.

Unknown Speaker 35:41
The next and maybe you've thought about this, and maybe you haven't is bringing some leverage into your offerings. So when you're, excuse me.

Unknown Speaker 35:56
So when you first start out, you may be offering only one to one services, right. And that taps out pretty quickly, you'll rapidly run out of time you run out of money. And this is true if you're selling to individuals, or if you're selling to corporations, even if you're a b2b business, and you're selling to corporations, you can still take only take on only so many workshops, so many consulting assignments, and before you tap out of your income. So leverage can mean one to many offerings or products that are aligned to your services. So I talk a lot about building leverage into your business model. And this is important because your income is limited based on your time. And leverage brings in exponential margin beyond adding more bodies to your team. So as a sole business owner, you can actually generate up to low six figures with minimal with a minimal virtual team. If you build leverage into your business, as you add team, your market, your margin actually decreases. If you're adding bodies to your team, as you add products, your margin increases even more. So here's a question to get you started. How will you build leverage into your business model? So if you're taking notes, I highly encourage you to write that in your notes. How can I build leverage into my business model.

Unknown Speaker 37:28
And then the next one is um, undervaluing your services. So this is the juiciest one of all. Because if you are under charging, it's because you're not seeing your own worth on the inside. And you're undervaluing what you provide on the outside, you might not even be putting in the effort to find out how how you can increase your clients value. So the problem is when you undervalue what you offer, and the results that you provide, your clients will too, they won't pay premium prices. And in fact, you will not reach that level of transformation that you aspire for them, right, and you limit your ability to grow, and you limit their ability to grow with you. So here's what I mean by that. So if you have a client, and you're undervaluing your services, then you're not feeling like oh my God, let me pour everything I have into this individual. you're measuring your value into doses based on what they've paid you. So if you can carve out a differentiated value proposition that exponentially increases the value that your clients get from you, and you can charge according to that value, how would you feel you would feel like oh, my God, let me give you everything that I've got, because I am committed to your success. I am 100% committed to your success, and you have all of me. So I think that's what is missing in the market today. And this can be true, even if you are delivering a one to many product, you want to be able to deliver that transformative value that your clients are seeking, even in a leveraged product model. And this is why many cookie cutter DIY courses don't work because it's like okay, I'll charge you this much. And you're going to get like this much value as opposed to and you can stack up and and give me an Amen and Chad if you've done this, you can stack up 10s of DIY courses and end up spending, you know, 10s of thousands of dollars and not end up where you want to be right so if that's been your experience, just type in chat.

Unknown Speaker 39:53
So you underprice your services because you undervalue your impact who

Unknown Speaker 39:59
I mean

Unknown Speaker 40:00
Give me a boom on that. I mean, let me just stop the share right now. And since we're all in the same room, I would love to open it up. One of the, which of the five pricing mistakes Do you feel is hurting your business most anyone can jump in.

Unknown Speaker 40:19
Hi, Deb. Um, for me, it's getting out of the hourly rate mode. So right now, I'm inside gig mode. And most of the work that I do is resume and career coaching. And so I have a set price for the resume because it's a product, I have a set price for a cover letter because it's a product, but then the service of career coaching, interview prep all of that I do on an hourly rate, and I haven't figured out how to get out of that cycle for myself. That's a challenge for me.

Unknown Speaker 40:49
Okay, that's great. So we're gonna talk about how to create a value proposition around that. So for right now, just start thinking about what is the value proposition? What is the the return on advantage? We'll talk a little bit more about that. What is the return that someone gets when they have a resume that really sings? Mm hmm. Right? What is that worth to them? Right? Yeah. Anyone else want to pipe in which of the five pricing mistakes Do you see yourself making? Deb I thought you're assuming what people can afford was brilliant. And I think especially now, because there's so many unemployed people. So I'm, I'm my business is midlife tech geek, and I help businesses get their businesses online fast. And I'm in that process of like structuring the pricing system for the program and going forward. And it's hard to kind of figure out what people can afford, because often people don't tell you. They also can't tell you, but I love what you're saying about what is your value proposition? And how how, what value are you bringing to them, that is going to be huge for them and their business and then pricing it accordingly, as opposed to just trying to guess what they can afford. Because we really value right, like, if we really value it, we're going to afford it. We're going to make

Unknown Speaker 42:10
people make away, they will make things happen. You know, when I was working in the gray do over I was doing weekend retreats, sometimes people would, you know, get a side consulting gig to earn the money to come on retreat, they would borrow the money from a parent or a sibling, when there's a desire to get the value people make away. And that's why pricing is so much of an inside job for you to really understand what is the differentiated value proposition that I'm presenting to my clients that they can really grasp, because you have to not only understand the value proposition, but be able to communicate that well in a way that people can can grasp the concept. Anyone else want to share? I'm sorry, Deb is also about knowing what their pain point is.

Unknown Speaker 43:03
And yeah, so

Unknown Speaker 43:05
I mean, yeah, that's marketing. 101. Right. So understanding where your clients struggle and where they need to be call it the pain point. And then the point of desire, and the rest in the middle is the customer journey.

Unknown Speaker 43:21
But absolutely. Anyone else? Which of the five pricing mistakes Do you feel like you're making? Before we start jumping into solutions?

Unknown Speaker 43:30
I want to pipe in, I'm a career coach also. And I have tried some leveraged offers in the past and spent, I remember one time I spent $7,000, getting a program online and getting the landing pages and everything lined up. And I earned $7,000 in income

Unknown Speaker 43:56
from that launch. So luckily, it was a breakeven, but I had to deliver all that service for nothing, you know, yeah, it just paid my cost. Yeah. So um, yeah, not really, because it didn't pay for your time, right? So, right. So it's hard to say because we just meet each other, but there's something that I call fake progress, and it's doing the right thing at the wrong time. And it's not that putting that course online was the wrong thing to do. It just might not have been the right time in your business maturity. And there might have been something else missing with the customer journey, or the differentiated value proposition or the marketing around it. Because when we're talking about launching a service based business, I mean, it's like spinning a lot of plates, right? So it's important that you do things in the right order, so that you build out the infrastructure and I'll talk about this actually today.

Unknown Speaker 45:00
And give you a sense of what the right order is. Because then we end up guessing. And when you you're guessing at your market guessing at your business strategy, then you're in for the trial and error experience, Katherine that you've just had, like, oh, okay, so now you know how to build out an online program. But let's, let's take that knowledge. So it wasn't completely wasted. You might use it again in the future, but not right now.

Unknown Speaker 45:30
All right. Lisa, did you have a question? Um, I'm in a process actually, of building a business that has never existed before. And in a way that people feel that they have been able to get it for free from sources that aren't really legally allowed to provide them that information. Um, it's just not to be vague. It's a lifestyle consultation. So it helps people decide what neighborhood they should really be moving to. Um, and I'm having trouble just even trying to wrap my rent around pricing, because there's nothing out there mop from a model standpoint. So starting from what people think they can get for free, and versus determining what that value aspect really is. That's sort of my struggle at the moment. Yeah, so let's talk about that. I'm just going to put that one on hold for a little bit, because it's about how do you get to the value proposition?

Unknown Speaker 46:26
And thank you, Katherine. Fake progress is one of your mantras. I love that. All right. So let me

Unknown Speaker 46:34
continue on, and then we'll break again for some q&a shortly.

Unknown Speaker 46:40
All right, so I'm underpricing your services, because you undervalue your impact. So let me tell you about return on advantage. And this might help you I'm sorry, I forgot who was just asking that question. This might be the answer to your question about how do I price when something hasn't existed before. So return on advantage was something that I came up with when I was speaking with my copywriter. And we were going over in this campaign for this masterclass, and I said, you know, we need to have people really embrace something that's more than just return on investment, because the return on investment is, you know, like, like, we're saying, you know, I paid you 7000, I got $7,000 worth of value. That wasn't even really a complete return on ROI. But I can say that, you know, I'm flush, I devoted some time to it, but I didn't really earn anything, return on advantage is something completely different. It's how does your clients life change? And what is the value of that life change to them? Whether it's a career change, or a life change? What is the value of that to them? And what advantage does that bring them and this applies to a corporation. This applies to individuals. So it, it works, regardless of your scenario. And Nicole is here, so shout out to Nicole. She is an elevate chapter leader. She's also a graduate of the launch lab. And now in the six figure accelerator, and Nicole has spent, you know, a good deal of time in the corporate world as a senior HR leader, she's a career strategist, she can give you the inside scoop on how to negotiate your next big move, if you're in a career change, she helps her clients get focus and purpose and the outcome is actually building confidence. And she has this unique perspective of an HR Insider. So it's like Nicole can whisper in your ear and say, you know, here's how it really works. This is what people are looking for when they interview you when they're they're looking at your resume. And so she is helping her clients ask for more money. And we all need that. Right. So closing the pay gap. So what is the return on advantage for a $15,000? bump in salary? Right? So if you get a 15 k bump in salary, then and you get a bonus, say most executives are bonus for their performance. And that bonus is a percentage of your salary. So if you're getting a 15 k bump up in salary, and your bonus on that, that means you get a bigger bonus, you know, and over time, as you move up the corporate ladder, that 15 k bump can turn into $200,000 worth of value. And let's say you took all those bonuses and you invested them in 10 years, that turns into $2 million. So these are the types of conversations that you need to be having with your clients and with your customers. And this is part of the conversation in the sales process. First of all, you need to have this internal conversation with yourself is what is

Unknown Speaker 50:00
My real value that I'm delivering to my clients, and then you need to be having this conversation with your clients in your sales conversations. So who just got an insight from that? So I'm going to go over to chat. I saw the chat roll going. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 50:19
Yeah, right. Awesome. All right. So what insights and takeaways do you have so far today, just go ahead and type them in chat. And I'm gonna keep rolling. So that we can get to the three successful pricing strategies. But take a moment and either write in your journal or write in your notebook? What is the insight? How, what am I going to apply to my business that I've learned today, because I'm not here just to hear myself talk or beyond the big, the small screen, I am here to really help you move the needle of success in your business to be better paid to make more of an impact with your work, and really fulfill the mission that you're here to do. Because let's face it, if you can't get paid for what you do, you're not going to be able to survive or thrive, for the long term. And it's my mission to make sure that you're in a position where you're developing a business that not only survives, it thrives, we don't want to just be surviving and being hand to mouth. We want to be successful, where there's more than enough to reinvest in our business, to reinvest in our communities. And one thing I know for sure, when women are successful, they invest in others, they invest in other women they give back to their communities. So I want to see everyone who's here today make an impact through their work. So number one is to add leverage to your business model. And I'm just going to move over

Unknown Speaker 51:57
to, yes, add leverage. So we talked a little bit about developing leverage into your offerings by selling one program to many people. It's important to build leverage. And by the way, this works in the corporate world, too. So I if you're saying to yourself, yeah, but Deb, on b2b, this doesn't leverage doesn't work in the corporate world, it absolutely does work in the corporate world, that one product that I launched, was a one to many product in the corporate world that we sold for 50 $45,000 a pop, and built that into a $32 million business by finding the gap in the market and offering something that was differentiated that competitors didn't have. And companies were willing to pay a 50% premium for that offering over a similar offering from the competitors. So it's important to add leverage to your business model, so that you can serve many people at once and not tap out of your time or your income. Another way this works in the corporate world, is if your packaging your workshop offerings, and building leverage into your business model, by rinsing and repeating things over and over again, as opposed to everything being a custom assignment. So here's a second example. So I want to show you how another graduate of the launch lab has brought leverage into her business. So Julia Firestone is a leadership coach. She's a social impact leader, a nonprofit strategist. And she is bridging the gap with badass do gooders from one on one coaching and leadership retreats, which obviously once COVID hit, we weren't doing leadership retreats anymore, to community solutions that eliminate the isolation. So when, when Julia did her research, she found that these these new leaders, so she newly appointed leaders in the nonprofit world didn't have a whole slew of role models to look to to see what success looks like. So by getting these leaders together, you end up with collective strategies that move the needle of progress forward for all female impact leaders who are new to their roles. And this is a quick way, especially if you're leaving a six figure salary and you want to create something that delivers impact if you can do a one to many offering that is differentiated in your marketplace that delivers high value. That's a great six figure business strategy. That's easy to sell. And we're looking for things here that are easy to sell. Does that make sense? type? Yes In chat. So when I work with clients in the launch lab, we're looking at your business model individually to find something that works for you, that meets your revenue goals.

Unknown Speaker 54:55
So and the next strategy is to create

Unknown Speaker 55:00
repeatable frameworks. And I just alluded to that.

Unknown Speaker 55:05
So repeat repeatable frameworks that you can rinse and repeat. So every engagement is in custom design. So this is important, because if you're not creating frameworks and your business model, and even if you're a coach, and you're a life coach or a health coach or leadership coach, the concept of frameworks applies to you too. So you don't want to always be reinventing the wheel. And yes, we're coming to each client engagement, meeting them where they are giving them what they need. But you should have a framework in your toolbox so that you're following your own process that you know works, and you're not reinventing the wheel and wasting time and money that you could be using to generate additional revenue. So repeatable frameworks make it easy to communicate the value of your offerings and give clients a clear step by step process to follow in, and that you actually can package that into a product. So I'm a huge fan of packaging your services as products, because it's so much easier to market them to message them to communicate the value proposition. And this works for you. If you're doing consulting work in the corporate world, or coaching individuals or groups of clients, your frameworks are important because they allow you to generate more consistent results. And you can improve upon them over time. And once it's done, it's like, let's just rinse and repeat and use as many times so here's a question to get you started. If you are creating a framework for your business, what would be the step by step process that you would bring your clients through? So let me give you an example. And using our very own launch lab methodology to do this. So step one, and oops, step one in the launch lab is to discover the gap. So I forgot who I was talking to earlier today, but we were talking about what is that gap in the marketplace? What is that differentiated value proposition. And the second thing you want to do, and this is before you build out a course or invest $7,000, in a course, you want to find proof, you want to find proof that people will pay for the solution that you have. And there's a way to do that, because you just don't ask people, how much would you pay for this because they have no frame of reference. But there is a process for seeing what the value proposition would be to an individual or company and finding proof that they would invest in your idea. Then once you have proof, you can package and price your services. And then it's like going up on the roller coaster, you have proof. So now your packaging and pricing, we're developing the messaging the marketing plan, and you've validated your money making model and you can reverse engineer your revenue goal, you have a direct path to the cash. It's my favorite saying. So this is the launch lab methodology. This is a methodology I put in place three years ago, that hasn't changed. And right now it's a rinse and repeat. And as I learned from clients, if they need something more, we add in additional components into the launch lab. But this is the basis for creating a business once you leave the corporate world.

Unknown Speaker 58:24
So what would be your methodology, your framework, your system, your formula for delivering the transformational value that deliver that you deliver to your clients. So this is the opposite of the empty wallet you saw earlier today. And this is the third strategy for profitability is to price your services based on value. So your pricing should be in alignment with the value that your clients receive. And this might mean avoided or recovered costs, it could mean the projected value of a new opportunity. So as we were using the example with Nicole, if she helps a client negotiate an increase in salary, and by the way, men negotiate all the time, and women hardly ever do. I don't remember what that statistic is. Maybe Nicole can share it with us later. But women really negotiate on salary. And it's expected all the guys do it. So once you negotiate a bump, bump up that that has a compound effect over time on your earned lifetime earning potential. So you don't want to always justify the time you spend with clients, but you're focused on the end result for them. And this is a critical strategy for consultants to master but also applies to coaches when you're pricing based on value. You're making it easy for your clients to get your projects approved because there's a direct path to the cash

Unknown Speaker 1:00:00
for them.

Unknown Speaker 1:00:01
So I'll give you one more example of how a client in the launch lab has accomplished this. And this is an example from the corporate world. Lauren is Lauren Robbins, also an elevate member, it came from the corporate world, she was a corporate Senior Vice President and consumer goods. She is a transformational leader. She is an expert at infusing transformation into the process and the development of new products, new systems, new technologies, and she's an expert at streamlining operations. And so when the pandemic hit in March, we were talking about oh, my God, what you do is so needed right now, because we had the pandemic, everybody was working from home, we also had this focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. And corporations were looking for how are we going to fund those dei initiatives, especially in a down economy, and Lauren has something called zero based budgeting. And so she can work with companies to pull out funds from other initiatives, streamline those initiatives, and divert funds to something that really brings transformation to the enterprise enterprise. So the result is funding enterprise transformation at zero cost. So that delivers, and we just took an exact shot at this 10 X, the investment of the cost of engaging Robyn, engaging Lauren in this process 10 x 10 x return. So here's a question to get you started, what would be a 10 x return look like for your clients? How would you get to that conversation of, hey, listen, the return that you will get from this work together is 10 times what you've invested. Because let's look at the advantage that you get in the marketplace. Because one is the long term investment advantage of a company that does a really great job of DNI, the advantages you get to stand out in the marketplace, you get diversity in your workforce diversity in your talent pool, and you're accomplishing so much more.

Unknown Speaker 1:02:11
So there were some basic business foundations, you know, you wouldn't build a house without a foundation, because this is this is what happens we dove deep into pricing. But none of this works unless you have the basic business foundations for what success looks like. Because no matter how good you are pricing, if you haven't put together a sound business model to begin with, it won't matter what you build on top of that, or what you charge. So quickly, I'll go through the foundations foundation. Number one is find the gap. What is that? What is that one need in the market that all of your competitors are missing. So the good news is, coaching is a $17 billion industry right now, the bad news coaching is a $17 billion industry right now. So how do you stand out in a really crowded market, and the riches are in the niches. So finding that narrow gap. And many people are hesitant to do that because they say I don't want to leave money on the table. But I will tell you, if the first words out of your mouth when people ask you what do you do, or I work with anyone who the anyone whose strategy is what will make you broke.

Unknown Speaker 1:03:28
So you need to differentiate yourself in a crowded market. So before you start marketing your services or building out courses, find the gap. foundation number two is to test test, don't guess, don't guess test. So test your business idea. Make sure that people are resonating with your value proposition. before you launch. You need to create something your ideal clients won't. And if you have trouble selling your services, right now, it might not be your pricing. It might be that you've created your products in a vacuum, right. So you've developed it in your head and guessing at the packaging and pricing. And you need to really focus on finding proof and testing. So testing, get your proof you need you can find the demand for your offer your defined client niche. Make sure your market is big enough to pursue because without proof, you have an idea but you really don't have a business. And foundation number three is validate your pricing. So that's super important.

Unknown Speaker 1:04:35
Because this is for you who have already started but you're struggling with sales. And perhaps you've made the leap with a full intention of replacing your pain. Corporate paycheck, you drank the kool aid of that six figures right out of the gate, only to end up disappointed and you feel like you may have failed at marketing. But the truth is you don't have a marketing problem. You have a mission

Unknown Speaker 1:05:00
messaging positioning and pricing problem. So in order for you to succeed at this, you need to have that compelling value proposition so clients can easily see your value, easily saying yes, because without that distinct value proposition, your business is a struggle. So let me

Unknown Speaker 1:05:22
This is our bonus session next. So let's, let's dive in. Since we have a good 10 minutes or so here, let's just open it up for questions or comments.

Unknown Speaker 1:05:34
Was this like drinking from the firehose? Or did you really did it? So can?

Unknown Speaker 1:05:44
Anyone can jump in?

Unknown Speaker 1:05:48
Yeah. Hi. Oh, hi, waste. Fantastic. Thank you. It's lovely Jason musings in a great refresher as well. And one of the things that really struck me

Unknown Speaker 1:06:00
was relates to an experience I had last week with a client, we're talking about 2021 planning. And they've got some big ideas, it's going to be significantly more money than they've spent with consultants, consultants around professional development and career pathing in the past big engineering fun. And using that concept of return on advantage almost tend to Inside Out of sort of lack of return on disadvantage. And

Unknown Speaker 1:06:32
the compensation with them was,

Unknown Speaker 1:06:34
what if you don't do this, we're looking at spending about $100,000, it's going to cost them at least that much to replace one senior engineer. And that's if the engineer just needs replacing not takes clients with them. Not takes them six months, and they lose six months of billing. And being able to frame it out that way for a large professional services organization, in a b2b sale was incredibly helpful. So thank you very much. For the model. I think it really, I had the concept before, but I didn't have the framework to execute that conversation. It's really very helpful.

Unknown Speaker 1:07:15
Oh, that's so great. Joanna, it's great to see you here, too. I missed you.

Unknown Speaker 1:07:20
So yeah, so the return on avoided disadvantage, it took me a little while to wrap my head about that, around that, but I've followed you It's, um, you know, cost avoidance, you know, or potential lost opportunity, you could look at it that way to lost market opportunity. So it's interesting to frame it that way. So it worked. Yay. It works in practice. That's wonderful. So you got the hundred k assignment. I've got the next conversation about the hundred k assignment. But I've never actually watched someone go pale on zoom before. And I think what was really impactful was when I said to her sort of this is the risk. She She visibly Peled. And what she said that I thought was really impactful was she said, Yes. And the name of who the engineer that leaves will be is in my head. Now, this was very real and very specific for her, she knew exactly the risk that we were talking about. So I have my phrase on the cross. Yeah. So Joanna, can we share that we've worked together before? So yeah, so we've had this conversation. So you know, that's it in our application. So Joanna, thank you for sharing that very valuable example about how ROI brought into a sales conversation really works. Anyone else have a question on their pricing or packaging or?

Unknown Speaker 1:08:50
product? I have an elephant in the room question. You mentioned earlier. Hi, I'm Lisa. Lisa, a you mentioned sort of at the outset of your your presentation. And I actually I knew it was low, I actually didn't know it was this low that that comes in the consultant worlds women make 30 cents on the dollar. That kind of blows my mind.

Unknown Speaker 1:09:13
I can kind of relate to that. I there's been a couple of new business pitches where I really, you know, we all been there where we thought we were on fire. And we had the client in the palm of our hand. And the chemistry was great. And then the deal goes to someone else. And I always like to ask for feedback. And what I found in a couple of instances were they went with someone they knew who their you know, their friends, buddy plays golf with or whatever. And it's that sort of old all boys network thing, and I've run into it, not all the time, but you know, regular enough to mention it. I wondered if you had any thoughts on you know how to I don't know how to alleviate that that issue when you're dealing with new business opportunities. The old boys network, you me

Unknown Speaker 1:10:00
Yeah, I mean, I pitched this new client, they love the proposal, they said they, they were really it was really close. They were gonna, they liked my ideas much better. But in the end, they went with someone they knew. And this guy who was way more junior than I was probably, you know, he called me about a month later and said, Oh, we really loved your proposal, would you walk me through it again? Tell me, and they had hired him.

Unknown Speaker 1:10:25
So Oh, my God, you know. So, you know, Lisa, obviously, there's not an easy pad answer to that. So one, you know, one is that, you know, and we talked about it in life after corporate podcast with Kelly Haley, who wrote the book, build your dream network. Part of it is the whisper network, you know, of men, passing opportunities to each other. There's also the psychological thing of people hiring people like them, you know, same reason why women aren't at the boardroom tables, you know, right. So I think one thing that we can do better is to create our own curate our own powerful networks of men and women leaders, but we're doing that proactively by having conversations when we're not in the sales conversation. So that builds up the referral partnerships, when you're in situations like that, um, you know,

Unknown Speaker 1:11:27
you know, how do you not exceptive Yeah, be mad for Mother's Day, call it a day. Yeah. And then and then kind of move on. But also, you know, part of the the, the sales conversation is really standing out from a value selling perspective. And if you don't have the book value selling, it was written by Julie Thomas Julian, I used to work together, Gartner that was my corporate job. And she bought the company shortly thereafter, from Lloyd sappington, who created it, but the value selling methodology goes along a similar line to that I'm talking about here with return on advantage.

Unknown Speaker 1:12:06
But that's a process. I think, when you're in there, you really have to get your hooks in deep. Yeah, this is the value that I can provide. And I think I should have someone on area for sure. Yeah. Thank you. I have a conversation no one else is having Go ahead. I was gonna say it sounds like a red flag client anyway. Like, if you're not going to value you from the outset. Like, it just doesn't seem like it just seems like you'd have another set of issues with them, even if you'd won that, that pitch.

Unknown Speaker 1:12:40
Because they clearly didn't actually value you. They were probably just giving you lip service. Like why would you if they evaluate you, they would have hired you. So I am so we can we can take one more question. So that's a good point. Carmen, thank you for chiming in. We can take one more question or comment? I have a question. So I'm new to all of this having just recently stepped away from a nonprofit leadership position. And I hear what you're saying about not pricing on hourly rates that scales to not pricing on daily rates, and presuming also maybe the monthly retainer model. And, and I like the idea of pricing on products or services, but I also something I really value about myself as the the highly tailored boutique like, No, you know, no two clients are going to need to have the same needs. I'm wondering if you can just play play with that tension a little bit like how to think about wanting to bring this highly customizable, like this is the value without needing to repeat?

Unknown Speaker 1:13:38
Or what's being able to repeat some of the formatting and structures?

Unknown Speaker 1:13:43
Yeah, so um, I think it comes from dealing with one on one clients, when you first start out is that you find yourself repeating yourself in different clients situations. And that's a key indicator that, Oh, this is something that I need to systematize. So I'll just give you an example. So when I before I launch the launch lab, I always like to test things out, you know, so I worked with clients individually. And I was repeating myself over and over. And all those times that I was teaching someone a concept was a time that I could have automated that and used our time together to apply that concept to their business. So that's an example. That's where the launch lab came from it kind of automated all those teaching moments of I'm teaching your concept here, instead of applying it to your business. So that made the value of the time that I spent in the one on one relationship for those that I do take on that much more valuable. And it also increased the value of the weekly sessions that the launch lab members went through together those those 90 minute masterminds, because then we were we were applying it and we were looking at everybody's business model and everything

Unknown Speaker 1:15:00
Anyone got to contribute? So it increase the value actually. Yeah, that's helpful. Thank you. Okay. Um, so I want to be very mindful of our time here. And I want to thank everybody, I know that you have a lot of things that you could have been doing with this hour. So I don't take it lightly, lightly that you chose to be with me and learn about pricing. If you would like to go further. And let me just put my email in here, as well as a brief assessment that I have.

Unknown Speaker 1:15:39
It's called the launch lab assessment Comm.

Unknown Speaker 1:15:49
And if you take that assessment, you will see all the various aspects of your business. It's, you know, your vision, your marketing, your product strategy and pricing strategy. And you'll see where are you really rocking it? Where do you have it nailed? And where do you need to focus, especially now, since it's the end of the year? And we're focusing on what do we want to change for our businesses in 2021. So the assessment, we give you direction, and it's also how you qualify for a one on one conversation with me. So it's been my pleasure to support members and friends of the elevate network for the last several years. And if you would like to have a one on one conversation with me, take the launch lab assessment, you'll get an email response with the link to my calendar. And we can take it from there. So Joanna, I just want to turn it over to you with a minute to spare.

Unknown Speaker 1:16:47
Perfect timing. Thank you, Deb, thank you so much for taking the time to be here with us today and leaving this presentation. And thanks everyone for tuning in and joining us and for being so engaged both in the chat. And in video and audio, we really appreciate that. If you're looking for more programming, like today's workshop, as business owners, Deb also hosts a

Unknown Speaker 1:17:11
workshop or a roundtable for entrepreneurs and business owners every other week. And I'm going to actually post a link to that where you can find those on our website. And if you're not a part of those already. I know a few of you already are but if you're not if you haven't checked those out yet, please do. They're a really great space for safe conversation between business owners about any and all topics that you'd be interested in. So I believe the next one is, is on December 3. So please do check it out. Register for a more private programming just like Chase. And thanks again, everyone. I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful holiday this week. And I hope to see you at an upcoming event. Thank you, Deb.

Unknown Speaker 1:17:55
Yes. Happy Thanksgiving for everyone in the states and see you real soon. December 3 is understanding your business finances. That's good. Good session. Talk to you soon. Bye bye.

Transcribed by

Tuesday, November 24, 2020 12:00 PM - 12:45 PM EST

Whether you are "fresh out of corporate" or have been at business ownership a year or two, it's likely you are undercharging for your services. In this new training from Deb Boulanger, you will learn:

  1. The 5 pricing mistakes that cause you to leave money on the table and unknowingly cap your income.
  2. The 3 pricing strategies every service-based entrepreneur needs to virtually guarantee you’ll replace your salary.
  3. The simple way to raise your rates, quote your new fees and get a “Yes!” on your next sales call.


Deb Boulanger is the CEO of The Great Do-Over, founder of The Launch Lab for women entrepreneurs and host of the Life After Corporate podcast. She helps smart, accomplished women leaders make the leap from Corporate to entrepreneurship. 

Over the last 20 years, Deb has launched dozens of services that generated hundreds of millions in revenue for her clients and launched and grew a single division from 0 to $32 Million in 30 months. She has taught and advised hundreds of new and aspiring women entrepreneurs to use these same proven strategies to test their business ideas and validate their money-making model.  

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CEO at Ellevate Network

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VP Operations & Strategy at Ellevate Network

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