I really don’t want to use that worn out cliché ‘in these tough economic times’ but… in these tough economic times it’s not enough to say to a client or potential client “these are my prices – period!” I believe we should be willing to offer some flexibility.
Think about it- and I’m going to be perfectly honest here – I’m a Virtual Assistant and a lot of my clients are small business owners, independent professionals, entrepreneurs and consultants. Solo flyers if you will. Folks who may not have a big operating budget in the first place and now, like everyone else, they’re dealing with this economic crunch. They have to cut back wherever they can. They still need my services and I still need their business so I have had to be creative and imaginative when my clients have been forced to tighten their fiscal belts. What that client was able to afford a year or so ago he/she may not be able to afford today. So instead of possibly losing that client altogether by rigidly sticking to a price or fee they simply cannot manage right now, I’ve had to come up with some inventive ways to help keep us both happy and in business until things start to turn around.
Here are a few ways I’ve demonstrated flexibility with my clients:
- Temporarily reduce rates
- Run monthly specials
- Offer new, more affordable packages
- Implement meaningful referral bonuses
If I have a client who has been with me for a while and I want them to be around when things get better, I have to be flexible. I know it will come back to me – it always does. I’m not really concerned about that. When the client’s business picks up so will mine and we’ll return to our normal fee schedules. It will all balance out.
Sometimes, in life and in business you have to meet people where they are.
I’ve spoken with and read articles by others in my field who are adamant about maintaining their standard fee’s no matter what! It’s as though that fee scale is part of their identity and integrity as professionals. And that’s ok, if that’s how they choose to operate. Everyone should be and should want to be paid for what he or she is worth and I’m no different. What I’m saying is ‘in these tough economic times’ (there’s that phrase again) perhaps we should be willing to offer our clients some options that might make it easier for them to maintain our services and continue a professional relationship that both sides can benefit from.
Becky Gregory is an Executive Virtual Assistant and the owner of Virtual Administrative Services (VAS)