“How much is a one hour massage?”
“That’s too high, do you have any discounts?”
“Just my package deals, buy 5 and get the 6th free.”
“Can I get a single massage at that rate?”
“No, you have to buy the package.”
“I don’t know how you can charge so much. Can’t you bring the price down to $55?”
And on and on the conversation goes. Every week on Facebook, another massage therapist posts about a similar conversation. They end up either reducing their rates or feeling icky because they stood their ground. I’ve even seen commenters suggest that the therapist who stands firm “forgive yourself and move on.”
What the What? Forgive yourself for not budging on your published price? Nope, don’t forgive yourself. You haven’t done anything wrong.
If you discount the massage for every random caller, how do you justify charging full price to your regulars? Don’t you think they might get a little unhappy if they find out that you charge them full price, even though they are loyal repeat customers, but new clients can negotiate a different price.
How long before all of your clients start negotiating better prices? How much time do you want to spend negotiating prices on every massage you give?
Charging what you are worth is only half of the equation
The other half of the equation is that you are worth what your charge. You have expenses to pay to keep your business running. You need a decent income to support yourself and your family. You have mad skills, yo! You are not obligated to discount your massage because the client thinks the price is too high. If the caller doesn’t have the money to pay your full price
It’s the client’s problem to solve
Not yours. By haggling, negotiating and generally trying to please them, you are making the problem yours. The caller wants a massage. The caller only has $55 to spend on massage. The caller has two choices.
- Get more money -OR-
- Schedule a shorter massage
I’m giving you permission right now to decline to discount. My friend Allissa Haines, from Writing a Blue Streak, once told me ” ‘NO’ is a complete sentence.” She’s really brilliant about that kind of stuff. So you have my permission to tell this caller, “No, I cannot give you a discount.”
What about the aggressive, bullying caller?
Oh, you know the type. They don’t just ask for a discount, the demand one. And when you decline, they start pressuring you with insults and accusations.
“How dare you charge so much! Don’t you know how much I need this massage?”
Sound familiar? I’ve gotten those kinds of callers, too. By the time I get off the phone with them, I’m furious and so pumped up with adrenaline I could probably kill and dismember a killer whale with my bare hands*. If you’re one of those people that let these bullies guilt you into cutting your price and scheduling around their needs, I want you to copy down the following sentence and post it next to your bathroom mirror.
You are not required to do business with every jerk that knows how to dial a phone.
Got it? You can simply decline them as a client. Trust me, there are other people who want a massage and won’t make you feel badly about yourself.
When was the last time you had this experience? What did you say? How did it make you feel? Let me know in the comments.
* Note to Greenpeace – I would never harm an Orca. I’m actually pretty harmless and very nice to animals.