Eleven tips for how to tell your customers you’re raising prices

Written by  //  February 27, 2013  //  Daily Juice  //  No comments

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Are you a bit of a wimp when it comes to raising prices? Lots of us are. My hairdresser confessed he’d not raised his prices for 10 years. 10 years!

(image: byparra.com)

He asked me if I’d help him with his price rise. He knew what he wanted to increase his prices to but was doubled up in agony at the thought of actually telling his clients.

I know how he feels. Tough isn’t it?

Anyway Mr Hairdresser and I came up with a plan and from 1st February he’s been charging his clients the new rate. So far so good: he’s as busy as ever, no clients have left and he’s finally making a little more money.

If you’re feeling a bit wobbly about communicating a price rise here are eleven tips for you to try:



  • Start by setting a date in a couple of months time to be your ‘price rise date’. Pop it in your diary and promise yourself to commit to it.



  1. Work out your new pricing. Of course this is a topic in itself so let’s assume for today that you’ve done it! One tip though: decide now whether you are going to commit to doing regular price rises in the future. If you’re going to do annual price rises you can keep today’s price rise quite modest but if you’re going to do them rarely then you need to make today’s good and chunky.


  1. On this subject – I’m a huge fan of the annual price rise. It’s so much easier on you and your customers when a price rise just becomes routine. I’ve experimented with six monthly price rises (feels too often) and two-yearly (way too long). But if one of these works for you then keep on doing it!


  1. Back to the tricky problem of the first price rise. The best laid plans for a price rise usually come unstuck because we:
    1. worry that our clients will stop buying
    2. don’t know how to actually tell them


  1. Let’s start by looking at whether clients really leave because you pop your prices up. It turns out most don’t. Whether it’s because your clients love you or because they reckon “better the devil you know’, very few clients actually leave. Some even commend you on finally raising your prices! It’s possible that a couple of clients might slither off but these will be the ones that were looking for an excuse to leave. They’re your high maintenance pain-in-the-* clients (which I call PITAs): more on this another time but you can replace them with better ones.


  1. On the matter of not knowing what to say. If you’re really struggling with this my advice is blame someone else! It doesn’t have to be true but it’s useful to have someone to hide behind. You can use something like this “I was talking to my business coach/mentor/friend/Dad/investor and he noticed that my pricing was a bit ropey so we’ve looked into it and I’ve been undercharging for years! I hope you don’t mind but I’m putting my prices up on 1 March to bring them into line”


  1. I like to include the “I hope you don’t mind” part of the sentence because that’s how I speak. If it sounds wimpy and underconfident to you then don’t use it. The important thing is that when you’re talking about a price rise please sound like YOU! Your clients love the way you are: your approachability, friendliness and general small biz persona. If you present them with a formal and somewhat mysterious “please be informed that with immediate effect the price of $x is now..” you’ll terrify them.  Clients buy you so be you.


  1. Practise your price rise speech at home a few times before you do it for real. Seriously, do it in front of the mirror, your cat, your kids or your Mum. The more you practise the less tongue-tied you’ll feel when you do it for real.


  1. Pick a date on which you will start to tell everyone. Pop it in your diary


  1. Do it!


  1. Once you start talking about your price rise – and realise that you *phew* still have clients – you’ll get more confident and before you know it everyone will be told and you’ll be done.

Good luck!


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