Some of our mentees sell their coaching B2B. Once you’ve identified your client in the business sector you want to coach in, and worked out what they need to hear in order to understand why they need to work with you, the most significant difference between selling B2C and B2B is the procurement cycle. WIth individuals, coaching can commence immediately, with B2B clients, they may have to apply for the budget to spend.
A question we get asked by B2B mentees is this; how do I work out what the client has to spend?
What Do They Want To Spend?
It’s actually a question that can apply to any coaching business really, isn’t it? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the first thing a potential client said to you is ‘I have £X to spend, what coaching can I have for that price?’. Sadly it doesn’t happen like that.
I know of many coaches who have spent ages crafting a proposal for an organisation only to be asked, “HOW MUCH?!?!”. The problem with that ‘how much’ response is that it really rattles the cages of the mind monkeys many of us have around pricing and selling.
All our pricing mind monkeys come racing to the fore shouting “You’re too expensive, I told you so!” as well as “Who do you think you are?” and “XYZ coach in the next town doesn’t charge as much as you do and she’s been doing this for years!” and so on.
Two Simple Ways To Discover A Customer’s Budget
Here are two simple solutions to this problem, which keep the mind monkeys at bay and get you paying clients into the bargain:
One is to ask them. It sounds obvious I know, but if you say ‘can I ask you what budget you have to spend on this project?’ the potential client will tell you. It’s not a secret, in fact, it’s a perfectly reasonable business question. I know it seems too simple to be true, but everyone (especially when you sell business to business) understand that there are costs associated with work. If for any reason, the potential client had misunderstood and assumed that this would be pro bono work – yes, that can happen – they’ll tell you and potentially save you hours of work. Don’t worry that the ‘for free’ answer will be horribly uncomfortable, instead have a couple of things up your sleeve that you can suggest that they can do for themselves that will get them some results.
The second solution is to take charge of the ‘spend’ question. Have three pricing bands when you do, for example, bronze, silver and gold. There is a reason that coffee shop chains have three sizes of coffee cup. With this pricing structure, the customer can price differentiate for themselves.
The most interesting thing about the whole ‘three prices’ pricing tactic is that the majority will choose the middle one. Make sure that the middle one is the one that you’d rather deliver. Bear in mind that some people will always choose gold because that’s how they perceive themselves. They think of themselves as someone who likes the best/biggest/most that’s on offer. Others will always choose bronze because they are bargain hunters. I mean no judgement in either of those comments, it is just one of those things. Your job is to make sure that you are making a good profit on whichever one they choose.
I love the idea of 3 pricing bands – but when it comes to coaching, we can’t just change the size of the coffee cup, can we?
Thus, I’m not certain what particular aspects of what we do ought to be differentiated within the brands.
Any and all advice on that point would be greatly appreciated!
We certainly can have 3 price bands, even if the difference is simply the number of sessions the price includes. I don’t accept a client for fewer than 3 sessions, as in my experience, there is no real opportunity to see a lasting difference in fewer than 3. So an example could be that I might offer: Bronze = 3 sessions at (say) £450 – £150 a session; Silver = 6 sessions at £810 – £135 a session: Gold = 10 sessions at £1250 – £125 a session.
With this pricing plan, the client can choose how many and at what price (I always offer payment plans too if that helps the client).