Giving the Awkward News That You're Raising Your Prices

09/13/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Mark Silver Author, consultant, healer. Heads up team at Heart of Business, Inc.

Bad economy or no, the time has come. You've been waiting for it and dreading it at the same time. The time when you must, absolutely must, can't avoid it.

You've got to raise your prices in your business. You're sure about it, 100%, and it feels good when you think about it all on your own. Except...

How do you tell your current clients that your prices are going up, up and away? Your belly is flip-flopping, and your palms get cold and sweaty...

Here's the thing: your clients probably already know.

If your price rise feels that great to your heart, it's probably been coming for awhile, yes? So, your clients have just been waiting for you to tell them. For many of them, it will actually be a relief.

It's like a buzzer at 6am.

Sometimes a price rise helps unstick something or someone from your business. You may have clients that have been sticking around out of habit. You're used to working with them, they're used to working with you. You keep working together.

But there's no juice. There's a blaaahhhhh feeling to your work together. Hum-drum.

The price rise is like an alarm clock going off, waking both you and them out of a sound sleep. "Is this where we both want to be?"

You may find that once they wake up, they no longer want to work with you. And, it's scary at first to let your client go. But, admit it- there is also a sense of relief. That openness in your schedule can let someone new in, at your new price, bringing in the fresh breeze of aliveness.

But, here's what I've discovered is a more common 'price-raising' experience: your client still wants to work with you, at your new price. What's more, the juice has come back, because you've both woken up and have a renewed sense of purpose to why you're working together.

Errr... but the conversation itself?

All this sounds good, in theory. And you're willing to trust your heart. But how do you have that conversation, when you tell them "Hey buddy, cough up a little more.... er, I mean to say, my prices are going up..."

Well, here are some ideas...

Keys to Raising the Price on Them

• A time-lapse is okay.

You can raise your prices for new, incoming clients, and keep your current clients at their current prices for awhile. Then, once you've seen new clients come in and pay you the new price, you'll have more confidence for the conversation.

Then, when the timing feels right in your heart- one month, three months, six months later- you can let them know that you raised your prices awhile ago, but kept them at their current rate as a courtesy. And now it's time for the price to go up.

• Negotiation is okay, too.

If your client is especially valued to you, and/or is a great referral source, you can have a conversation with them about it.

Tell your client that your price is going up, but that it doesn't feel right in your heart because of the relationship you all have to just jump them up. Ask for a conversation with them to find a price between the old price and the new price that feels good to both of you.

This will only work if your heart is truly okay with a lower price. If it is, use your heart to find out what the new price is for this particular client, and don't go below that.

When you're in business for more than a year, raising prices is just a normal part of life. Your experience changes, the type of service or product you are offering changes, your confidence increases. Your clients know this, and expect it from time to time.

With the economy the way it is, it can be nerve-wracking to think about raising your prices. And yet, when it's time, it's time. Trust your heart, and let your clients know. Chances are, they've been waiting for you to tell them.

And you? What's been your experience with raising your prices?