How to Handle ‘You’re Too Expensive’ When Marketing Yourself in Person
By Katherine Creighton Cook
My Massage Mentor
One of the hardest parts of marketing yourself as a massage therapist is the possibility of dealing with ‘rejection’ on the basis of price or what you’re offering.
I say ‘rejection’ in quotes because it’s not really rejection, but it can feel like it.
Depending on whether it’s someone who just wants the cheapest thing of everything, or they’re genuinely surprised at the cost of a session, you’d choose a different approach for how you respond.
Before we look at responses, you first need to do some internal groundwork.
1. Be Really Comfortable with Your Prices
If you secretly think you’re too expensive, you’ll be embarrassed and apologetic every time you have a conversation about your fees.
You’ll also be likely to drop your prices at the first sign of hesitation from a potential client.
You know why you’re charging what you do.
You know what you need to earn to support yourself and cover your costs and you didn’t choose your prices lightly.
This can be particularly hard if you’re just starting out or not very busy, but it’s very important that you’re comfortable with your prices before you can expect anyone else to be.
2. Decide if You Offer a Discount
Next get crystal clear about what, if any, discount you might offer.
Perhaps 10% or £5 off a first appointment? Maybe a discount on a pack of 5?
Or, maybe your prices are your prices.
Whatever you choose, make that decision BEFORE you talk to people to market yourself.
If you’re faced with someone who’s telling you that you cost too much if you’re NOT:
a) totally comfortable and confident with your prices and
b) clear on whether or not and how much you’ll discount,
you’ll likely end up with a client seeing you for a price you’re not comfortable with, and that’s the formula for a bad therapist/client experience.
3. There Are Always More People
Remember, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of people you could help. If one person isn’t the right fit, go on to the next person. Again, this is much harder to do when you’re slow, but if you can adopt this mindset you will be happier and more successful in future.
And remember, clients who aren’t a good match will have a worse experience and might not only not recommend people to see you, but may even share their less-than-perfect experience with others. In my opinion, it’s just not worth the risk.
Now on to responses.
How to Respond
You’ll get a feel if it’s someone who is just trying to get the cheapest price for everything. In this case, a simple:
‘I completely understand. I’m sure you’ll be able to find another therapist who’s more within your budget.’
This person may end up wanting to see you. They may respect that you’ve stood by your pricing and believe in what you’re offering.
Or, they may really just not value what you offer and be looking to pay as little as possible, and they’ll probably be better with someone else.
The other common reason people think you’re ‘too expensive’ is that they might just not know how much things like what you offer cost.
That was me, many years ago.
After a tour of a gym with a personal trainer, he offered one-to-one services and, considering it, I asked how much he charged.
‘£50??’ I gasped. ‘For an hour?? That seems like a lot.’
I would have preferred to be a little more graceful in my reply, but I just didn’t know WHAT was normal, and being a temp on £12/hour, someone earning £50/hour seemed… a lot.
Again, it’s not personal, it’s just that person’s context is not the same as yours.
I recommend preparing something along the lines of:
‘I know that can sound like a lot when you’re not used to it. It is about average. I know locally there are some therapists who charge £5/£10 less and others who charge £10-ish more per an hour session (use correct figures based on what’s true in your area).
It’s important you feel comfortable with whomever you try. If you’d like to try my style/approach, we could book you in now, if that’s convenient. Or, if you’d rather look around at some other people that’s totally fine as well. Just so you know, I’m doing a special offer where first appointments can have 10% off if they’re booked today.’
Prepped with your internal groundwork and set responses, now it’s time to practice, to show yourself that someone telling you you’re too expensive is not that big of a deal.
The more people you talk to, the more likely you are to find the people you’re meant to serve, and the less it will bother you if someone is thrown by your price.
I hope now that you have some ideas of how to respond and how to prepare yourself, you feel more comfortable marketing yourself and talking to people about what you do.
If you do try these out, I would love to hear how you get on. Leave a comment if you have or will be trying the techniques.
Katherine is the founder of My Massage Mentor, and loves helping therapists grow their practice and reduce the amount of time they spend on non-massage tasks.
Katherine's membership site provides a training library, accountability, and live calls and workshops to help shortcut massage therapists’ learning curve, so they can get to comfortably supporting themselves with clients they love to work with as quickly as possible.
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Word document client leaflet you can edit - add your own or CNHC logo in box at top right-hand corner. Print online here: https://www.fileprint.org/
List of resources available to help practitioners promote their practice.
Pdf file ready to send to print Print online here: https://www.fileprint.org/
Page from the website with bullet points and a short video you can share with clients listing the benefits of working with an MTI-qualified massage therapist
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