Rain Dances

How Can Charging More Help Your Clients Feel More Satisfied?

When your client makes the decision to sign up for your services they have signaled, psychologically and financially, that they are rejecting all alternatives and committing to you. It’s more than just the contract.  They haven’t been sold something, they have made a decision to buy.

That may be pretty much common sense, but what’s less obvious are the potentially useful side effects that can come with that commitment.

Behavioral research shows us our natural human inclination for a person to believe in the correctness of a decision once they have made it. Once we make a decision, we have a strong desire to stand by that commitment by providing further justification and reasons for it, and behaving in ways that are consistent with it.

We already know that people are hard-wired to believe that more expensive things are quantitatively “better.” Perhaps more interesting is that the more money someone invests in something, the more pressure they will put on themselves to find reasons to be satisfied with that thing and, ultimately, their own decision.  Like an internal “satisfaction” meter. 

Need a minute on that one? Let me explain.

If you go out and buy a brand new Mercedes, your expectations for that car are going to be pretty high. You’re going to try to justify every penny of that expenditure with reasons why your Mercedes is exactly what you want and is going to make your life better. You’re going to convince yourself (if you had any nagging doubts) that you’ve made the right choice and behave in a way that is consistent with that choice. You’re probably NOT going to complain about your new Mercedes, even if you find that it’s less perfect than you thought it would be. After all, anyone would look like a jackass who bought something so expensive then complained about it. 

If you spend $500 on a used car, alternatively, those expectations aren’t likely to be anywhere near as high. You’ll be a lot more comfortable complaining about how it runs (or doesn’t) and no one will think you’re a jackass for doing so. You might even try to return it if you find something you don’t like after you drive it home. Why? Because you don’t feel the same need to psychologically justify that smaller expenditure, and because the $500 used car psychological commitment is much smaller, the pull of behaving consistently and justifying that decision is much weaker.  

So what’s the lesson? 

People are hard wired to believe that things that are more expensive are better, and once they commit to purchasing something expensive they will find ways to psychologically justify that decision and be satisfied.  Offering discounted rates to your clients is not going to keep them happy or make them happier. 

If what you’re shooting for is keeping your clients satisfied (which involves driving up the value that your clients perceive in your services), charge more for them. Not less. And as long as you’re actually delivering valuable services on time and under budget, your clients will self-regulate their perception of you in this way and help you keep those margins nice and healthy.

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