Sooner or later every good Virtual Assistant must face that (dreaded) moment when we have to raise our rates with existing clients. This is usually when we break out into a cold-sweat and the guilt, horror and fear pours over us like Niagara Falls. How do you nicely tell your clients that your rates are going up without losing the whole shebang?
Here are a few tips to get you through it:
- Choose a date in the future when your rates will go up. I like to give existing clients a couple of months notice before switching them over to the new rate. It’s fairly easy to email them a thoughtful, peronsal note to inform them that your rates will be increasing on such-and-such a date. This gives them a chance to get used to the idea and allows them to have a look at their own finances so they can find a way to continue working with you. You don’t want to scare them away with a cray-cray price hike that is ‘effective immediately’.
- Be reasonable. No one in their right mind is suddenly going to pay you double or triple what they were paying before! (Unless you mistakenly took them on at a ridiculously low rate to begin with, in which case it might be best to break ties and move on to a more lucrative client!) Carefully consider what percentage is fair and reasonable for both yourself and your existing clients
- Think about offering them the opportunity to purchase from you now, at the existing rate. For example, you might offer to let your client purchase a certain number or hours or a package of services at your existing rate, before the increase kicks in. This is a great way to boost your sales and show some love to your client. It’s a win-win.
- Remind your clients why you love working with them. When crafting your price-hike email, be sure to let your clients know they are very valuable to you. Tell them how much you appreciate having them as clients, remind them of the great things you’ve accomplished together, and mention how excited you are to continue working with them in the future.
- Let your clients know WHY. Your customers will be a lot more receptive to an increase in fees if you are able to back it up with some reasons ‘why’. Have you learned a new service or technology? Is your business growing? Have you continued your training or education to offer un-paralleled service in a particular area? Think about all the ways your rate increase is justified and let your clients know.
Raising your rates with existing clients doesn’t have to be hard…and eventually, all of us, will have to experience it.
I would love to hear your tips, tricks and rate-raising advice if you’d like to share – jot your two cents in the comments!