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Last week’s message was to get paid what you’re worth where I encouraged you to put up your prices (if appropriate) from July 1st. However, if you’re in the start-up phase, charging a little lower than the recommended top quartile can be a good strategy to fill your books. What’s really important though is how you position yourself from the very first meeting.

Let’s look at two scenarios. Scenario one. You meet with a prospect, you don’t have much confidence, you don’t go prepared and you decide at the meeting what you think they can afford and apologetically tell them you are just a bookkeeper and charge $40 per hour.

Scenario two. You meet with a prospect, only this time you’re prepared. You know you need charge in the top quartile but you don’t have the confidence or the experience to justify that at the moment. But you’re keen to fill your books fast. You have a PowerPoint presentation prepared explaining your experience, qualifications, the systems you use and something about your team. “As my business grows I will replace myself with a qualified bookkeeper on my team and because they are all following the same systems, I can guarantee the quality of the work”.

Then next sentence is the key to positioning yourself  – “I normally charge $65 per hour, however I’m going to discount that for you to $50 an hour (about the average rate across Australia at the moment) for the first 12 months. If you’re happy with my services I would appreciate referrals, but please don’t tell them what I charge because I may not offer them the same discount.”

That does two things – you start to get used to hearing yourself say $65 (which can be daunting when you’re starting out), and the client is happy because they are getting a discount.