So how do you price your coaching services and consulting packages?
Follow your competitors’ lead?
Work out your costs then add a bit of margin?
Wet finger in the air? Shake the magic 8 ball? Ask Zoltan??
You may be relieved to hear there’s a solid process that can pave the way to easeful and feelgood pricing for your coaching packages or consulting services.
But before we dive into the details, let’s get clear on exactly why pricing is so difficult for high-touch services like coaching, consulting and mentoring.
Why is it so hard to price coaching services?
If you find pricing your services difficult, rest assured you are in good and extremely numerous company! Practically all of my clients find it a sticking point before we start working together.
When you break it down, it’s quite clear why:
Emotions are involved when serving in a high-touch way
When you work closely with people on a 1:1 basis, you are doing everything you can to help these people. It’s more difficult to view your business as a cold, hard, cash-producing machine.
And you’re more likely to have emotions swirling in the mix of decision making, making charging high-ticket for something even trickier.
Your self perception and pricing mindset
“I’m a nice person. Nice people don’t rip people off.”
The beliefs you have about yourself and charging more can hold you back when trying to engineer your business to work FOR you instead of you working for it.
No one set up their business to work like an unappreciated employee with no holiday pay or benefits.
But running your business is essentially a money producing enterprise. And you deserve to be compensated. Not only for your skills and knowledge. But the effort, sacrifice and worry that it’s taken for you to get to where you are. You should be able to cover all your essentials and have enough left over for you to enjoy your life too! Saving for a rainy day. Paying for that big holiday. These are reasonable expectations from your business. In fact, it’s the minimum to aim for.
And if you’ve ever had thoughts similar to ‘nice people don’t rip people off’ in relation to charging higher prices, then you need to do a bit of work on your money mindset. Download my free workbook to Charging more with 100% Confidence that’ll walk you through a reframe of what you’re charging versus the massive benefit you bring to your clients.
Lack of pricing transparency in the coaching and consulting industries
Not everyone’s transparent about their pricing, so you can’t just look at all your competitors and use the average as a guideline.
Actually, I think this is a good thing.
Because you don’t want to be in direct competition with anyone. The way to do this is how you position your services as ‘offers’. I’m going to talk more about this later on in this blog.
Handily for me, I’ve worked with tonnes of coaches and consultants so I’ve seen first hand the wide breadth of pricing structures that are out there.
One of my clients charges on average £200 per hour, another charges £6,500.
What’s the big difference?
The perceived value of their services in the eyes of their target market. In other words, their clientele are very different!
PLEASE NOTE: Neither charge by unit of time though! I state per hour figures to make a comparison easier. This is an absolute no-no for coaches, consultants and mentors. More on this later.
You might be targeting the wrong people
If I had a penny for every time someone said to me ‘well the problem is Janine, my ideal clients don’t have any money’ I’d be able to afford several Dip Dabs by now. Maybe even a Curly Wurly.
Offer development 101 is that you target people who have the money to pay you and who are in the market for what you are selling right now.
If you don’t do this, you’re running a charity not a business.
You’re new to coaching or consulting
Pricing your services gets easier the longer you’ve been running. The more you say higher prices out loud to potential clients, the more used to it you’ll get. Like exposure therapy.
That said, I do still see seasoned coaches and consultants selling very short-term packages and charging under £1k for them- on the assumption that people will not be up for committing to a higher price or longer term commitment.
These little mental trip-ups get easier if you remind yourself that you are the expert guide.
People come to you to help them navigate their problem(s).
You guide them through your process.
Therefore you know how long it will take, not them.
And you need to work out how to charge the kinds of prices that mean that your business is viable long term so you can carry on helping people and not have your home repossessed and live in a squat.
Nine out of ten clients will need to work with you LONGER to get the best results. Go on, try and disagree with me punk, make my day! : )
Lack of confidence in the results you think you can get for clients
There’s also the question of confidence.
How confident are you that you can get the results your clients want?
If you’re not confident in the services you’re providing, you will undercut yourself.
Do you know what can really help with this area? (Aside from extensive therapy and/or mindset coaching.)
Not standardising the types of clients you work with
I know this is scary. And it feels like we’re entering the realms of extreme niching, but my approach is different.
You don’t ‘niche’ your whole business, you take your most enjoyable-to-deliver and lucrative service first and get clear on your one ideal client FOR THAT OFFER. You don’t have to niche your whole business, but each offer has to have a singular ideal customer. If you have too many, then you probably have several offers.
You have limited experience of pricing services
Pricing coaching and consulting isn’t a common skill. Especially among coaches and consultants!
It’s not like there’s a simple guide to pricing your services is there?
Oh, if only a talented and experienced offer positioning and sales expert would write a step by step guide to pricing your coaching services or working out what you should be charging for consultancy…
Hang, that’s what this is! : ))
But before we get into the step by step bit, I want to cover the worst pitfalls that people fall into when setting coaching pricing packages, so that you can avoid them.
Common mistakes when setting coaching pricing packages
1. Pricing by units of time or as bundles of sessions
I really really hope that if you’re reading this blog that you’re not still charging per hour or per session. Are you..?
Charging by the hour or by the unit can work for some types of service, but it’s an absolute no-no for coaches and consultants.
Nobody wants an hour of your time.
I don’t care how good you are at holding the space for someone or how excellent your questioning skills.
They want the result.
What will they feel like when they’ve finished working with you? What will they be able to do that they couldn’t even dream of doing before? How does that make them feel? What does it enable them to do that they couldn’t before?
This is what you should be basing your price on.
Not how many hours you’re sat in a chair for.
This includes providing an invoice which includes the number of hours you’ve worked for.
It gives clients the opportunity to question whether you really need all those hours. What happens if we have 5 sessions instead of 6? Couldn’t we get the same work done in less time?
No. You’re the expert. They come to you for your help, and you need to be in the position of authority to tell them ‘to get X result, we need to follow my programme of work, which costs Y’.
2. Not pricing based on the value you offer
So. Hopefully we’ve established that people aren’t buying small portions of your life. And that instead they’re buying some sort of result.
The value of your offer includes the journey from where they are now to where they want to be.
It’s like a plane ticket to the destination of your dreams.
You’re not paying for the time you spend on the plane. You’re paying for the transportation. And yes, you’re probably looking forward to some in flight entertainment, nourishment and service.
Journey + Destination = Value
I get it- it’s easier to structure your pricing by the unit isn’t it! Or base the cost on what others are charging.
But easy won’t bring you the kind of income you need as a caring and skilled professional who needs to keep a roof over their head and food on the table.
Oh and wanting the odd holiday, daily luxuries and a comfortable home doesn’t make you selfish. It makes you human. AND it’ll make you a better coach/ consultant too.
3. Assuming people can’t pay very much
For the last decade or so, we’ve been fed a constant diet of recession, COVID and cost of living crisis in the news.
YES, people are struggling. But not everyone. That’s why you need to be very careful about who you’re calling to when promoting your services.
And this is what can trigger people.
‘I’m a nice person and nice people don’t abandon people in need!’
So this is a tough-love message for you if that’s how you’re thinking- you are running a business not a charity.
You need to make money to serve your business goals. The easiest and quickest way to do this is to serve on a 1:1 basis and to charge high-ticket for those services.
Then when you’ve got plenty of revenue rolling in, you can create valuable lower priced options and free items like books, courses and higher volumes of your free content.
You can’t pour from an empty cup.
4. Assuming people won’t want to work with you for very long
Another classic is assuming people don’t want to work with you for very long and assuming that potential clients will want to try before they buy.
The truth is that if you show up in their world, exactly matching your messaging to the thoughts and feelings they’re having, they will see that you can help them.
Then they come to you as the professional to prescribe a course of action that you know from experience will work with people like them.
In other words, if someone goes to a business coach and wants to get from £3k a month to £10k a month, working with them for 6 weeks to ‘see how it goes’ is not going to engender the kind of attitude and commitment to the depth of work that will be necessary to effect such a marked uptick in income.
This is why defining your target audience is so important at an offer level.
There is too much airspace given to niching and not enough to making sure that exactly who you’re serving is clear for each individual offer.
The most successful people I know have quite a broad overall target market or ‘niche’ but the profile of who they’re aiming each offer at is razor sharp.
What happens when you undercharge for your coaching service?
And finally, before I pull back the curtain on the ‘how’, a cautionary warning.
Pricing your coaching services and consulting packages correctly is the key to success when you’re working 1:1 with clients.
It makes everything else work.
Take Jessica for example. When she came to work with me she was putting in ten or eleven hour days, seven days a week and still not making enough to put money away for a rainy day and have a nice holiday once a year. It was all going on bills and even then, only barely.
I took her through my Sizzling Hot Offer Creation Process and she could soon see the massive value she was delivering for her clients.
She stopped selling one offs and instead sold high-ticket packages which more than doubled her income while reducing her working hours.
And hilariously, her clients respected her more, worked harder and so got even better results!
Then because Jessica was better rested and felt better compensated for all her hard work, she was able to show up with the best attitude and energy possible for her clients- accelerating that virtuous circle.
Flipping it the other way?
This pernicious belief still lurks in the backs of most people’s minds:
‘If I charge less, it’ll be easier to sell!’
Do people always say that they want it cheaper? Yes.
Will they definitely buy if it’s cheaper? No.
Because as we’ve already explored, people buy based on the value to them, not the hours. And not because of the price.
Do you know what is an absolute fact?
The less you charge, the more you’ll have to sell.
And the more you sell, the more you’ll have to work.
This is the polar opposite of what every single service provider I’ve ever met wants.
We all want to work less but earn more.
We want to spend time with friends and families. To have our weekends to ourselves. To enjoy our lives!
Yes, work hard for your clients but there’s a way you can do it that doesn’t involve you slogging your guts out.
So let’s dig into how we do that shall we!
How to create coaching pricing packages
Wouldn’t it be lovely if I just came out with a nifty algorithm that you could plug a few numbers in and it would spit out the perfect price for your packages?
It doesn’t work like that I’m afraid.
That’s because people buy when the perceived value surpasses the perceived risk in their eyes.
In other words, it’s less about the price and it’s more about how the service package is positionined.
So rather than this being a quick, one sentence jobby, it’s a slightly more detailed 4 step thingamo that takes you through the process of making sure you’ve crafted the coaching programme or consulting package in the right way so THEY can see the value and YOU can feel the value.
Then and only then can you put a price on it that you’ll be comfortable with.
Here we go!
The first thing you need to do is take your offers one by one
Start with the one that helps people the most and that presents you with work that you love doing.
Bonus points if it’s the one that people buy most from you too!
Now follow these steps:
1. Get clear on who you want to work with for your one offer:
Figure out who you love working with the most, who has the money to pay you. When you first approach this task, you’re likely to come up with several types of people. Jot them all down. Leave it for a day or two then come back to spot the themes.
On the surface of it, it may seem like the people you’ve enjoyed working with are an amorphous jumble with nothing in common.
You may even hear yourself say ‘oh, I love the variety!’ I promise, you’ll prefer the feeling of being able to attract A* clients with ease to your higher-priced services than having a mish mash of clients who pull you hither and thither and mean that you’re no longer clear exactly what problem you’re solving for who.
2. Get clear on the problems you solve
Get crystal clear on the problems you solve for these people.
Where are they now? Where do they want to get to? What words and phrases do they use to describe their struggles and their vision of success? The clearer you can be with your messaging the more on-point clients you’ll attract.
Yes, this step is essential for your messaging and to help you position your coaching or consulting as a must-have not just a nice-to-have, but it’s key that you do this before you price it because you’re reminding yourself on what your clients are actually paying you for.
Remember the formula from earlier:
Journey + Destination = Value
The price has to feel right to you as much as the clients.
3. Deliver repeatable formats for 1:1 clients
If you have a step-by-step process, make sure it’s laid out in an easy to digest fashion that explains the benefit of each step. You can even brand it so that it becomes a valuable business asset and an identifiable solution to your niche’s problems
Don’t have a step by step process? This is very common for coaches.
In this case you’ll probably be meeting people where they are every time you meet and draw on your toolbox of skills and techniques as and when they’re needed.
These can become pillars of how you work with people and can also be turned into a branded ‘method’ that is unique to you.
Again, this step helps make the value clear both to your potential clients and to you as the ‘seller’. It helps you realise the full value of what you’re offering.
4. Package them up so you have zero competition
By being specific about who you’re serving for your main 1:1 offer, using messaging that calls precisely to them and by having a repeatable, branded framework you now have effectively eliminated and direct competitors.
What anyone else offers simply can’t be the same and is therefore incomparable.
5. Pick a price that makes you excited to serve
Ever quoted a price to a client hoping they’ll buy, then when they do your heart sinks because only then you realised you’ve priced it too low? Yep. Been there done that.
I promise, when you have worked through all of these steps, the question of what to charge become so much easier.
And you’ll be able to pick a higher price that feels natural and ethical to you.
- You’re now calling to people who have the money to pay you.
- They’re now fully aware of the value of what you’re selling.
- And YOU are now fully aware of the value of what you’re offering.
Examples of coaches that price their packages right
It’s always good to see how other people are doing it!
So here’s a small selection of coaches and consultants who have done a great job packaging and pricing their coaching services:
Katie Duckworth- CEO Coach for Not For Profits
Katie is a highly skilled leadership coach within the not-for-profit industry. In her Smooth Operator programme she’s gone laser precise on her target market and has cleverly handled the objections around spending on self coaching when working in organisations where every penny counts.
Fiona Brennan of Indie Essentials
Fiona is an expert copywriter and content coach. Her PIMP My Content package takes business owners through the process of crafting a content strategy and plan that suits their business goals.
Virginie Ferguson of Resilience For Modern Life – wellness coach and corporate trainer
Virginie is a resilience expert and coach for individuals and organisations. Her 1:1 resilience coaching. programme rests on her six pillars of ancient wisdom and modern science.
Did I mention that they are/ were all clients of mine..? 😊
Ready to charge more and work less?
The long and the short of it is that pricing is the crux of allowing you to work less without sacrificing your income.
Yes, you could absolutely whack your prices up today.
‘Stick a zero on it’ as I’ve heard some business coaches say. 🙄
But this approach doesn’t work if you haven’t been able to position your services as a must-have in the eyes of the people you love working with and who can afford to pay those higher prices.
It just so happens that I have a programme that can help you navigate the path to perfect positioning and that supports you through non-sleazy sales.
It’s called The Freedom Giver and it’s for coaches, consultants and service providers who earn most of their money from 1:1 services and who don’t want to move to a more complicated business model yet. And, here’s the key- without slogging your guts out!
If this sounds like you, book in for a free 15 Gameplan call where I’ll apply my Sizzling Hot Offer Creation Process to your business to arm you with a punchy 3 point plan so you know your exact next steps.
If it looks like we’d be a good fit to work together we’d then book a longer discussion call where I can map out what that would look like for you.