Welcome to episode 8 of Dreamchasers! Chris Askew runs his own marketing agency and podcast, with a background in business.

We talk about service-based businesses getting away from discounts, and focusing on delighting customers – so that you can raise your prices!

Don’t discount your cashflow, delight your clients.

It’s a huge temptation – discounts to get noticed. Trying to compete on price means a dramatic drop. You’ll never grow, or expand, or build the business you want to start.

Dreamchasers is the interview series for people who want human marketing on a zero budget. I’m your host, Dominic de Souza. Listen in for tips and insights, for 15 minutes a week. It’s the dreamers who make the future. Chase yours.

Resources

Summary & Notes

Don’t discount your cashflow, delight your clients.

It’s a huge temptation – discounts to get noticed. Trying to compete on price means a dramatic drop. You’ll never grow, or expand, or build the business you want to start.

For most small businesses, price competition is a losing strategy. It’s a very difficult to maintain your profit margins if you keep undercutting them. Many do because they’re giving in to fear – not because the market can’t afford it.

Branding can be like a therapy session!

You have so much heart and soul in your business. It’s a representation of your personality and my dreams, and your weaknesses.

If you’re not confident, those weaknesses will be exposed. We often lower prices to bring in business. But it’s better to have fewer projects that pay well, than a ton that don’t pay as well.

Many businesses don’t really value their time and expertise.

They think about their product costs, and perhaps direct labor costs. But few think about their marketing costs, rent, taxes, overhead, etc.

Hobby-based businesses rarely value the time they put into it. If you’re every going to make money off it, you have to get out of a pricing war.

Discounts (or loss leaders) work fine for bigger brands where multiple, low-cost products are being sold. They are big players.

Service-based businesses play a game with their pricing, and it can demonstrate their quality. Freelancers frequently try to undercut competition to stay in business.

Wherever you are in your life, your circumstances don’t dictate the value you can bring to a client. Even if you’re straight out of college living in a basement.

Business is a reflection of your true self.

Instead of focusing on dropping price, focus on increasing value. Improve customer experience. Keep your prices on a level, or even raise them. Do an amazing job, so that clients are happy to pay you what you charge.

Change the game to value, and how you’re bringing it.

Chris’ Story

Started as a youth pastor, and discovered that Church marketing needed help, just as Facebook was coming out. He helped them capitalize on social media. He went to get degree in graphic design, and then realized how competitive the industry is with sites like Fiverr. So he switched into programming and then a business major, and went to work with an ad agency to help with branding.

He believes in long-term relationships with clients, and providing more value than what they pay for.

You can outsource commodified services, but things like strategy and insights are your unique value.

‘Start with Why’ by Simon Synek should be at the forefront of any discussion being had about branding. As you’re answering those questions, you’ll realize that discounting your services is hurting you.

Focus on providing highly detailed quotes, or showing up after a service call to check up. Don’t lower the bar. Redefine the bar of what people normally expect in this industry.

Customer experience is the new brand. Solidify your relationship with your customer, in a way that your competition isn’t. A small gesture. Use your personality!

Try recording more videos of yourself with your pitch, or your contracts. Humanize your touchpoints. Think of creative ways to make an impact.

With that kind of layering in of value, you can mark up your services a good deal.

Because certain things can’t scale, you’re able to make a lot more magic. Pay more attention to the client instead of discounting. Handwritten notes. Unexpected gift cards. A bag of candy.

These are all things that help you with referrals, because they inspire people to talk about you.

The more and better customer experience that you can provide, the more they’re going to be able to buy into who you are, what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it. And the most business you’re likely to generate.

Don’t take it down by 10%. Think of how to take it up by 100%.

Having a giving attitude earns the trust of your customers. When you earn their trust, you earn future customers by them coming back and referring you to their friends.

Last Tip

Take a moment, think through your business, and start with why.

Look at what your competition isn’t doing, and what your customers’ need emotionally.

Figure out their felt need, and address that. Invest in customer experiences initiatives.

You can double your income in 6 months.

Dominic de Souza

Storyteller, Marketer

Born in New Zealand, raised in Australia, studied in Fiji and France, now living in the United States. After writing my first novel at 13, I spent 15 years in marketing and design. Today, I help wildly-passionate small businesses clarify their story to spellbind audiences.  Sign up for my weekly digest!