Because I am sick today and feeling extra snarky, part of me wants to just write YES and have that be the end of that. But it probably makes more sense to actually explain why I believe the answer to this question of listing the price of your packages is (almost) always yes, so that you can see where I’m coming from and make your own decision based on what makes sense for your business.
Let’s use a real-life example to help illustrate this:
You’re in New York City, wandering the shops, browsing the wares, as they say. You wander into a store you haven’t seen before, and immediately love the vibe – minimal, well decorated, modern. You find a sweater that you absolutely love – the color is perfect, the material is soft enough for your sensitive skin, and the detailing is impeccable – cute buttons running down the back, cuffs on the sleeves that give it a slightly more dressy feel – it’s just awesome. You go to check the price, and there’s no tag. So you grab another one off the rack, and again, no tag. Then you check the jeans on the shelf next to you – no tag. Oh. It’s one of those places you think to yourself. Naturally, you assume that you can’t afford anything in the damn store, so you don’t even bother trying on the sweater, you slowly back away from the store, and go sulking back to H&M, the magical place where nothing fits quite right, but everything is affordable.
This is what happens when your clients come to your website and don’t see prices. They naturally assume you’re too expensive, and they move along.
If you can’t be bothered to tell people how much your service is, expect them to expect the worst.
And if you’re running a business that isn’t actually that high-end, this means you will be losing a LOT of clients to assumptions. Which I shouldn’t have to tell you is no good for business. I also feel like there’s an element of not being confident in your prices that comes into play when you don’t want to list them, but we’ll save that discussion for another post.
But I want to have sales conversations with people first
The argument I always hear to this is “But I want to get clients on the phone first to have a conversation with them before I tell them the price – I want to be able to show them the true value of the service”… to which I say — did you try on the sweater? No. You assumed it was too much and you walked away before getting your hopes up.
You may get a few people who are so obsessed with what you do that they will email you to hop on the phone with you and have that conversation, but a good portion of them won’t even bother contacting you. And of the ones who do, many will not be able to afford it (and it doesn’t matter what your price is — you will always get people who say it’s too much for them).
Out of courtesy to your clients (and your) time, I always advocate being upfront about what your services cost, so you don’t end up in highly awkward situations.
You know what I mean – where you enroll someone into a phone conversation, you go through the whole ordeal “What are you struggling with? What do you really what? How would it feel to finally have it? How much is that worth to you” — barf — and then having to do the awkward “Here’s how much it is” while waiting with baited breath to see if they are going to hang up on you or still be interested. If you’re a new business owners, putting your prices out there is hard enough, don’t make it even more uncomfortable for yourself! You’ll also save yourself a whole lot of time by not getting on the phone with people who either aren’t serious or can’t afford it.
And further, don’t put your clients in a position to have to feel like total assholes because they hopped on a call with you but can’t actually afford you and now they have to awkwardly come up with creative reasons and excuses on the spot as to why it’s just not the right time, or how they will “think about it” (we all know what that means) — when really they just want to curl up and die because now they feel like dicks that wasted your time and on top of that, they feel deflated because they need help and here’s yet another glimpse of hope that just got crushed.
You can avoid ALL of that by listing your prices on your website. AND, you can still enroll potential clients in sales conversations if they are interested (where you can have straight up conversations about price and value, because your clients are prepared with a number in mind), but at least you’re both going into the conversation knowing what the expectations are. You will get more engaged clients in your consults, higher conversions, and have less awkward conversations if you ONLY speak with people who have seen your offer, and the price, and are still on board to talk.
The exception – when it’s ok to NOT list your prices
I have found very few exceptions to this pricing thing, but the one that does come to mind is if you are creating a very high-end, upscale, VIP style something. Maybe it’s a retreat, or a coaching package, or an in-person VIP day… Whatever it is, you intend for it to be exclusive, limited, and coveted. And your clients expect (and want!) that too. They love feeling like high-flyers as they fill out your application and anxiously wait your reply (because you don’t take just anyone for this coveted thing). They expect it to come with an appropriately high price tag. It’s part of the appeal for them (yes, these people do exist and no, not many of our target markets are these clients). If I had to put a number to it, I’d say anything over $10k would qualify as exclusive and high-end, and it would be ok in this instance not to list your prices.
What about if my prices are in a range and I need to send custom quotes?
A great question, especially for designers, developers, copywriters, and anyone doing custom work for their clients. In this case, I recommend listing a “Starting at” price for each of your services. Even within these industries, there is a HUGE range in pricing – I have hired web designers for $200 and for $12k. And if I land on someone’s site, I want a ballpark number of what I can expect. Having a “starting at” price listed on your site helps clients see if they are a fit for what you offer, and then you can absolutely get on the phone with them from there and help give them a more customized quote based on their needs.
My vote? Always list your prices
The gist? List your prices and make it easier on yourself and your clients. I know for myself, I’m the type of person that has to let prices sink in. At first glance something might feel out of reach, but the more I let it sit, the more I start to be ok with the number (no matter how high), until saying it in my head just feels normal. I convince myself it’s worth it and I usually end up buying, even if at first glace it was a “are you kidding me?” kind of reaction. But if I never see the price, that whole process gets shut down before it even gets started, and I likely forget all about the thing, because I assume it’s WAY out of my range.
If I know the price of the sweater when I try it on, something in my brain says “That’s a lot, but let’s check this out and see if it’s worth it”… which is hell of a lot better than never having the chance to try it on.
P.S. If you’re still having trouble figuring out what sell and how much to charge, let alone whether to list prices, checkout Hey, Nice Package! for help turning your many ideas into killer packages and services (that you’ll be ecstatic to list on your site!)