This will help people understand and know what they are paying for.” This comment on my recent LinkedIn post
about publishing our prices missed a really important point.
What? Prices don’t define scope, depth, and value of services. Pricing transparency opens the conversation door and gradually builds trust.
Let's Break This Price-Sharing Post Down
1. We Explained the Problem
"We decided to experiment with Marcus Sheridan's approach to transparent pricing for our business technology services.
One of the challenges with providing technology services is the perception that technology is complicated and expensive. We hear it all too often.
Both of these can be true, especially when there is no real long-term plan. We see a lot of IT decisions being made ad hoc without strategic guidance."
2. Then We Designed a Different Solution
"Here's what we did.
1) We grouped our ideal clients into 3 mindset categories:
• DIY for those who just have to do it all themselves
• DWY for the collaborators who are ready to share the load
• DFY for those who are ready to build a deeper partnership
2) We created a working list of all the services we provide. These run the gamut from day-to-day backend infrastructure services to strategic initiatives.
3) We organized all of the services using descriptive words that clients would relate to.
4) For each service, we determined what we would provide for each of the 3 groups.
5) We saw this as an opportunity to subtly communicate the value of these services by including/excluding them in the various groups' offerings.
6) Some of our services can be priced as a per unit/user/deliverable/something. Others require discussion and discovery before pricing. These became "bespoke."
7) We published this information on our website as well as in our weekly subscriber email yesterday. We're seeing some interesting engagement already.
By the time we reached the end of this exercise, we felt comfortable making the numbers shareable."
3. We Were Clear About the Client's Benefits
"By making more technology pricing transparent, our belief is that greater trust will be built earlier in the relationship. Clients will have a greater appreciation for actual costs and scope of services.
When we do need to have a deeper conversation and discovery first, we think clients will be less skeptical of the magic behind the complicated and expensive pricing.
It's the beginning."
Engage the right audience. I mentioned Marcus Sheridan in the first sentence of the post. Marcus is a sought after speaker, author, entrepreneur, and creator of the They Ask, You Answer method for customer-relationship building.
Drawing Marcus into the conversation was intentional. I wanted to gather feedback from business leaders who actively engage with Marcus. I have never met Marcus Sheridan in person. I don't teach his methodology. We're simply a firm believer in treating clients with the transparency he supports.
Get worthwhile feedback. If you've spent more than a minute on LinkedIn, you know it feels like diving into a hot dumpster. There is a lot of noise, spammy salespeople, pointless comments, and notice me fluff. You have to dig through the garbage to find the dumpster gold.
But when you post with purpose and engage the right audience, there is tremendous value.
It's easy to think you're right. We needed to learn from unbiased readers if our thinking made sense. We got valuable feedback and more. Commenters understood the transparency-trust connection, and they told me so.
Marcus is an example of walking the walk. He replies to comments on his posts. He engages with his followers. He generously shares useful information often. So his speedy comment to my post – "Wow, now that's how you do it!" – was valuable feedback.
Sure, praise feels good, but his reinforcement that our step-by-step thinking made sense was far more meaningful.
Gain the right new connections and followers. We quickly earned new connections and followers. This was an unplanned outcome.
Offer something of value to your new connections. New connections visited our website and downloaded the 18 Questions to Ask Your IT Team ebook. We gained new subscribers as a result. There was no link to this. No selling. Yet another unintended result.
Invite new visitors to your website and the pricing page. Since there were no links to our website, this could only have occurred because people were curious enough to search for us.
One More Thing
When your services require a one-on-one conversation before pricing like many of ours do, find a small service that you can price and transparently share. The trust that single price earns just might make the difference in a client relationship.