Value-based pricing is rapidly becoming the pricing method of choice for professional service firms from law firms to chartered accountants.
The premise of value-based pricing is that you set prices based on the value the client perceives they are receiving. “Value is in the eye of the beholder. For any transaction to take place, both the buyer and the seller must profit from the exchange and receive more value – in their subjective perception – than what they are giving up,” says Ron Baker, author of Pricing On Purpose: How To Implement Value Pricing in Your Firm.
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For example, a client calls with an urgent problem that you, with all your experience, can fix in a half hour. Do you charge the client for half an hour, or do you charge based on the value you are creating for your client? This concept is difficult for many accounting firms to come to terms with…charge the client for a value perception? Isn’t this deceptive? Isn’t it unfair? Won’t charging the client less make them happier?
In fact, pricing for the value you are creating for a client has farther-reaching benefits than just increasing of the worth of your work. This is primarily because to establish a value-based price, you need to involve the client in working out that price. You need complete information from the client, which necessitates greater interaction with the client, which in turn builds a stronger relationship with the client.
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Here is a scenario that most of you will have come across. Its tax time and you have a returning client from the previous year. They are expecting the tax return will cost the same as it did last year, but the work has taken much longer than it did last year, and so the client gets a shock at the bill. They call, upset, trying to negotiate their invoice. You are under pressure to keep the client for repeat business, so you cave, losing money. During the negotiation there is no cash coming in for the work done, so your cash flow suffers; worst of all, your client relationship suffers.
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Now consider this. Its tax time and you have a return client from the previous year. You arrange a meeting to discuss their tax return, giving them a list of all the documents you will need to complete the tax return and ask them to bring it to the meeting. You spend a little time going through this with them, and then provide them with a value-based quote for the job. They might say that this is more than last year, at which point you can explain that there is more work in this year’s tax return, and can show them where. You might request upfront payment, or maybe bill for half upfront, half upon completion. You and the client are on the same page at the beginning, you have everything you need to complete the job quickly, and your cash flow is not impinged and your relationship is stronger.
Continued in Part 2/2 How Value-Based Pricing Works For You
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