Determining the perfect price for your products and services can be difficult, but it will often make the difference between getting a client and losing a client.
I’ve been in business for 29 years and I’ve seen it happen again and again: people underpricing themselves in the job market. Their thinking is that if they don’t ask for too much money they’ll be more likely to be hired or promoted. And with the economy barely inching along, the problem is even more pervasive. It’s as if some people either don’t believe they’re “worth it” or they think others won’t believe they are (and really, both come down to the same thing).
Top CEOs reject the common thinking that “if you drop your price—you’ll get the job” or “lower price equals higher sales.” For 29 years people have said my products are expensive—until they purchase and use them. Smart buyers understand that anything cheap can be expensive in the long run and will buy in to your enterprise as long as you provide value for the dollar. You actually lose credibility when you underprice yourself.
When recruiting, I weed out the candidates who underprice themselves, assuming they wouldn’t work at the level I expect. In my office I’ve had to give employees pay raises because they underprice themselves, but everyone cannot expect their boss to do the same for them.
There are other ways, besides money, that people underprice themselves as well. Exhibiting unprofessional behavior is one of them. Don’t do it. What a boss or client really wants is a personal clone as to work ethic and loyalty to the company. Know what he or she needs and wants and deliver it. Become indispensable.
Most people socialize with coworkers at their same level while considering executives unapproachable or, worse, the enemy. The real secret to advancement is to spend time with coworkers at all levels, especially the one who decides your next raise.
To ensure you never become a commodity, set your own standards. Someone else’s may not be high enough. Mushing a dog sled across an Alaskan glacier, I learned firsthand that it’s true—if you’re not the lead dog, the view from the rear never changes. And the rear is exactly where you’ll be if you compete only with others.
To excel in enterprise, be the lead dog. Be aware of competition, but don’t allow that awareness to veer you off course. If you focus on your competition, you’ll always be one step behind them. If you focus on your own enterprise and compete with your own best performance, you’ll be the lead dog your competitors imitate, leaving them in the rear. Be an innovator, not an imitator.
This guest post is courtesy of Vickie Milazzo, RN, MSN, JD. She is the author of Wicked Success Is Inside Every Woman (Wiley, 2011, ISBN: 978-1-1181-0052-3, $21.95, WickedSuccess.com). Milazzo is the owner of Vickie Milazzo Institute, an education company she founded in 1982 and author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller Inside Every Woman: Using the 10 Strengths You Didn’t Know You Had to Get the Career and Life You Want Now.