How Flexible Are You? (and I don’t mean your backbends)
Flexibility: A word you will come to both love and hate as an entrepreneur. While sometimes it is great to provide flexibility when working with clients, it can also go too far. Below are some of my guidelines on when flexibility is a good thing, and when you can rein it in a little.
Packages: When it comes to what’s included in packages, this is something that business owners will need to decide for themselves on whether they want to offer flexibility. I think it’s ok to be flexible if you are offering a service, because your potential client may not need your service the exact way your packages are set up. That being said, it can be a real headache to try and change around everything to suit a client’s needs. I would suggest having a la carte options available so that if you can flex when needed. Another option is to have built in options in your packages (you can select this or that). The good thing about this type of flexibility is that your client will already have options available, and can often lead to higher sales if they want both services or products.
Pricing: Flexibility in pricing will damage your business. Bottom line. If your client knows that you are flexible when it comes to the prices on your website or what you put forth in your discover calls, you will invite those clients that are looking for a deal (never a good thing). It is perfectly ok to bundle services for a client for a “package” price if they are looking for more than just your basic service, but be careful about offering discounts. Not only do discount clients tend to be difficult to work with, but they also often take up more of your time and cause you the most headaches. These clients often do this because they know they can push your boundaries. You’ve already given them leeway on pricing, so why not take advantage of your time too? Crazy how that works, right?
Your Schedule: If you have a policy of not working weekends and one of your clients requests a coaching call, should you do it? That really depends. There are times when you might want to be flexible on your availability to suit a client’s schedule or timeline, but don’t feel bad charging a rush fee for it! A lot of times business owners forget that they are the boss. This is your business! Do what you need to do to make it work! If you want to stick to your guns then do so! I always recommend that you are upfront with your clients at the time they book their service about when you are available and have clear policies in place that you give clients at booking. You can also write your availability into your contracts. Remember that you need to be clear with your boundaries, something I’ve struggled with myself. This way if a client books for weekday only availability and then tries to book a weekend appointment, you can always point them back to your policies.
Your Payment Plan: Do you offer clients payment plans? It can be a great way to remain flexible with clients while still booking higher priced packages. For instance, if you are selling $3000 90-day coaching packages, it makes sense to break that up in 2 or 3 payments for your client. One question a lot of business owners have is whether they should charge more for the payment plan. I’ve seen it work both ways, so you will need to think about your business model and what makes sense for you. If a client asks you to be flexible on the payment terms beyond your payment plan consider the client and situation carefully. What are they asking for exactly? Can you set up their payment to auto charge on their credit card? Have you worked with this client before? Also keep in mind the additional fees associated with breaking up payments as many payment services will charge for each transaction. Special payment terms would be something I would consider carefully and it would be on a client-by-client basis.
One thing to keep in mind when considering your flexibility in your business is that ultimately you call the shots. Just keep in mind that you do not need to bend to your client’s’ every whim. You are the boss, so be sure to act like it and be flexible on the terms that suit you. When you stay true to your policies and authentic in your flexibility you will feel good about your business.
Dawn Sinkule, the Founder of Digital Dawn, is an MBA graduate, Strategy and Business Growth Consultant as well as a Certified Online Business Manager with more than 16 years of corporate experience working for a Fortune 50 company. Dawn and her team work with passionate six figure business owners who want to grow, expand, and explode their businesses. Dawn and the DD team provide your choice of self-implementation or fully done for you solutions, and both include detailed business strategies, automation, systems, and most importantly the satisfaction of knowing your business is heading the right direction. Her clients get not only the experience of a Fortune 50 leader, but also a personalized and customized strategy as well as an implementation team: AKA your secret weapon for success.