How To Tell Clients You’re Raising Your Rates Without Ruffling Any Feathers

how to tell clients you're raising your rates

Your business will likely undergo a series of changes as it grows and matures. Some changes are easy… others might be a bit more painful.

Raising rates especially can be a tricky matter. Even if you're certain that it's the right thing to do, there are a few roadblocks that might get in your way, like how to tell your clients you're raising rates without ruffling any feathers.

What if your clients leave… and worse, what if you can’t sign on new clients at the increased price?

Here are a few tips to make the transition easier:

1. Exude Confidence

Here's a question for you:

You're on a road trip to New York City and are driving in an unfamiliar area. Who would you rather have sitting in the front seat next to you?

 

We might not always think of it this way, but our clients are looking for a confident leader who knows what they're about.

The more confident you are in your own decision to raise rates, the more that will shine through when you share the news with your clients.

Exuding confidence will also increase the trust your clients have in your decision.

But sometimes, in order to act confidently, we have to have something else straightened out first:

2. Be Totally, 100% Honest With Yourself On Why You’re Raising Rates

I think sometimes we’re afraid to be honest because, deep down, we might feel a bit greedy. (“I could get by with less…”)

But here's the thing: that fear or guilt distracts us from all of the good effects that come from a well thought-out rate increase. It distracts us from the need to embrace an abundance mindset that we can then share with others – from clients to our closest friends.

If you're struggling to be confident, ask yourself a few questions to get clear on why you're raising rates… and how it will benefit your business:

Am I raising rates because…

  • I'm feeling burnt out and need to reduce my workload (without reducing my income)?
  • I need a boost to stay competitive within my niche?
  • I've grown in knowledge and am worth more than I'm currently charging?
  • I want to appeal to a different audience/higher budget clients?
  • I'm able to provide deeper value services to my clients than when I started out?
  • Or something else?

Know where you stand, and spell out the benefits for yourself and others! (And here, family totally counts! When you're a mom or dad, you might need to maintain a better life balance that allows you more time for family matters…)

how to tell your clients you're raising your rates

And hey, a bit of confidence in your own abilities is always a good thing!

3. Take Your Reasons And Create A Script

There’s no need to wing it! Take some time to write a script that you’ll use when sharing the news of a rate increase with your clients.

This script might include 3-5 sentences that you’ll fall back on for email announcements and when replying to any follow up questions.

A little bit of prep will save a lot of headache when it's time to communicate the new rates.

4. Know That Not Everyone Will Stay… And That’s Totally Ok

Yes, you might actually lose clients in this transition… but that’s a good thing!

One of the main reasons we might decide to raise rates is to get out of the range of the penny-pinchers, who are time-consuming and emotionally draining.

So if you lose some low-budget clients, make a point of being both gracious and helpful as they leave. Thank them for working with you and create a list of resources that they can use during their time of transition.

Of course, you might also lose some clients that you loved working with who just happen to have smaller budgets. It's ok to be sad about this… but be confident in your decision to embrace a new era in your business.

5. Budget for a Time of Transition

Sometimes, the best policy is to give clients a fair warning, then raise your prices across the board.

Other times, you might decide to “grandfather in” the old prices for those who signed up for retainer services or “lifetime access”.

In either case, how you deal with this time of transition is up to you… just budget a bit of time and patience for the switchover.

Yes, you'll probably get some clients who ask for a discount, but have a policy prepared ahead of time that you stick to!

6. When Announcing Your New Prices, Always Emphasize The Benefits

When planning how to tell your clients you're raising your rates, always emphasize the benefits for them.

For example, you could just be blunt and say:

“As my business grows, I've decided to raise my rates from X to Z as of March 1.”
 

 
OR you could say it like this:

“In an effort to give you my very best time and attention, I’m raising rates from X to Z as of March 1. This is going to allow me to continue to give you the high quality services you deserve, along with adding a few extra perks, such as…”
 

 

Make it sound exciting and prestigious! Because truly, it is an exciting time for you, your business, and the people you serve.

7. Be Kind, but Firm When Dealing With Feedback

It seems to be human nature to want to find a “great deal,” which prompts us to ask for lower prices, etc.

So one of the hardest things can be turning down someone who pushes back after receiving your rate increase notifications…but this is where your script can come in handy!

Always stick to the boundaries you set ahead of time!

For some people, “it doesn’t hurt to ask” might be the reason why they hit reply and plead with you for lower prices and understanding… for others, they’re just deal shoppers and might not be your ideal customer.

Try to stay polite and understanding when you respond. Reiterate that parting ways might be the best option, if their budget and your prices no longer align.

When you allow yourself to let go of clients who push back, you give yourself more space and freedom to sign on a new set of ideal clients!

Have You Raised Your Rates Recently? Share Your Wisdom!

Learning how to tell your clients you're raising your rates can be a delicate process… but we've all been through it at one point or another!

Share your lessons and wisdom below!


Maria MyreMaria Myre is the word person at AccessAlly, where she spends her days sipping on espresso and exploring new, intuitive ways to connect entrepreneurs with the tech tools and training that will best fit their business needs. When she’s not writing tech-y business stuff, Maria enjoys art and horseback adventures in the Great Outdoors.

6 Comments

  1. Rachel Stones on July 19, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    There are some really good points here. I think preparation and planning are the top two. With a husband in purchasing, I’ve learned it’s so important to give clients a heads up and communicate with them when rates will change. He frequently works with contractors who raise their rates and he’s more likely to work with them and continue the relationship when he knows an increase is in the pipeline. When someone springs an increase last minute, he’s likely to shop elsewhere.



    • Maria on July 20, 2017 at 5:53 pm

      Love hearing your thoughts, Rachel, and the perspective from your husband! I totally agree that communication about rates helps to preserve the “relationship” factor that is so important to develop with our clients.



  2. Neale on July 19, 2017 at 10:58 pm

    Great advice, Maria. My experience is that a series of small rate increases is far easier to implement than one large increase. After all, if you can’t get acceptance of a small increase, then what chance do you have of implementing a large increase?



    • Maria on July 20, 2017 at 5:55 pm

      Ooh that’s an interesting point! I think you’re right: if you want to be sure to stick with the same clientele, small increases are important. A big increase might mean that you stop appealing to your current customers and have to start marketing towards those with a bigger budget. Really, it all depends on where you want this rate increase to take you & your business…



  3. Jessica Bodin on July 20, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    Maria, I love this post! This topic came up with one of my clients just a few days ago. I think the factor that’s so often missed is #1!! Thank you for sharing.



    • Maria on July 24, 2017 at 1:31 pm

      Thanks, Jessica :) I’m glad that this is hitting home. It’s such a big part of running a growing business, but can be tricky to navigate!



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