I’ve written my fair share of articles and given a great deal of talks over the years of working in this industry. I have always handled certain topics with kid gloves so as not to offend my readers and clients. But it’s time for a reality check. If I hear one more person complain about society not valuing our services I’m going to lose it! If you’re having a problem with getting clients to respect you and pay your worth, it’s probably because you jumped out there with a few internalized assumptions that I’m going to go ahead and break for you. Disclaimer: If you’re faint of heart, stop reading now.
The first major assumption is that because we provide good or unique services our businesses will automatically thrive. It’s probably because we were convinced either in school or during those $300 CE courses we paid for that if we learn these fancy techniques clients will find us. WRONG! It’s not the client’s job to find us, it’s our job to find clients. It’s our job to get out there and put our services in front of them and say here’s what I can do and here’s why you should pay ME. If you feel like that specialty service was worth the time, energy and money to learn then that alone makes it worth the investment…to you. But if you think for one second that a client is supposed to care about that and just automatically pay you more then you, my dear, need to keep reading.
Victory goes to the hardest worker. This is probably the toughest thing for service providing professionals to accept. But first let me clear something up. I’m not saying hard work isn’t necessary. In fact it’s a requirement. But there’s working hard and there’s working smart. If you’re feeling like all you do is WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK and still have nothing to show for it while a lesser skilled (in your opinion) owner is raking in the dough, it’s probably because they realized that working smart trumps working hard. But how does all this translate to customers not respecting you? Well that’s how we get to the final assumption.
You assumed you valued your services. Wait…what? YES you read that right. You assumed that because you invested time, energy and money into learning your skills that means you value what you do. If that were true you wouldn’t have any problem charging what you are really worth. We claim we don’t like deal seekers yet we offer discounts for referrals, first time visits, birthdays, anniversaries, Groupons, coupons, and just because we’re slow. Did I leave anything out? The real problem isn’t the fact that our industry is being devalued by customers, it’s that we don’t truly value ourselves. We don’t truly believe we are the best service provider on the market. If we did we would have a price tag to match. Let me give you an example…
Last year I took a cooking class. One of the requirements for this class was that we bring a chef knife. Now I’ve never specifically shopped for a knife before. To me, as long as it cuts it’s good enough for me. But boy did I learn something about myself. When I got to the isle with the knives I saw so many options. There were knives as low at $5, $25, even $100. I never realized this before. It’s amazing how many options there are once you start looking for something. In this moment, I realized I didn’t want the cheapest knife. I wanted the best knife. Let’s pause. What I’m afraid you just read was I wanted the most expensive knife. That’s not what I said. I wanted the best knife. I got the knife that convinced me that it was better than the cheapies and just as good as the big brand names. Now this knife wasn’t cheap but it was great and I still use it now.
This is how clients feel about our services. When they’re looking for a service provider for massage, hair, nails, facials etc, they are looking for value, quality, experience and more. Not every client is motivated by a lower price tag. Just like not every client will be turned off by a higher one. It’s time to stop using discounts as bait. Start gaining respect by communicating the value of your services and the benefits of choosing you. We are all in this together. Let’s start valuing ourselves and demanding our worth!
Kamillya Hunter is the owner and founder of Spa Analytics. She encourages independent owners to focus on The Details That Matter when running a business. She’s a mom of two, an army wife, author and a self diagnosed “Spa Junkie” who lives, eats, breathes and sleeps the personal service industry.