Collect more reviews & testimonials before raising prices
Increasing your prices is one of the easiest ways to increase your profit. It significantly increases your revenue while also minimally impacting your expenses (as opposed to outright selling more where you’d need to hire more employees to complete the work). But, it’s also easier said than done (or easier said by business gurus than done by you, in your real-life business). And, while literally increasing prices is just a few keystrokes, pricing itself and creating proposals is much more complicated. There’s much more to raising prices than just ratcheting up the price on your website.
At the end of the day, people need to be convinced that what you’re selling is worth the price. And, you can only increase prices so far without also better demonstrating value (or having a mild anxiety attack every time you hit send on a proposal). It’s an inevitable limiting factor. You need to demonstrate your service is worth the price or have enough leads to make up for a lower close rate.
Collecting social proof is a relatively easy way to demonstrate value and overcome that limiting factor. While you should always collect social proof, running an organized social proof campaign before raising prices will both shore up the new higher prices and give you that little push of confidence you will need to raise the prices themselves (because, raising prices is scary).
Who and how to ask:
Eventually, you’ll want to ask almost everyone. Your past clients, your present clients, your ghost of Christmas future clients. But, more pragmatically, start with your top 10% of clients and slowly expand from there (ie, once the first 10% have answered, move on to the next 10% and so on). And, ask them in two steps. First, email clients and ask if they’d write an honest testimonial for you and your business (because you’re updating your website, updating your marketing, updating your prices, etc). Then, if they agree, give them additional details like, a link to your Google Reviews, brainstorming questions, or next steps for a longer testimonial (like a video or case study).
(If you need help figuring out which clients make up the top 10%, check out this old issue about how to rank your clients)
Social proof you can easily collect :
Unstructured, written reviews are relatively easy to get. They don’t require any special hand-holding or post-processing and, asking for them is relatively straightforward. For smaller, more transactional clients, a simple message is enough (I send “Also, if it isn’t too much to ask, I’d really appreciate a review. 🙏 It helps. [Link to wherever you’re collecting reviews like Google reviews or a handy dandy form where people can leave reviews for this newsletter]” at the end of client projects). And, for larger clients, ask if they’ll write a review then follow up with a few brainstorming questions.
Here’s some sample brainstorming questions via Sean D’Souza’s ‘The Brain Audit’:
1) What was the obstacle or hesitation that would have prevented you from buying this product/service?
2) What did you find as a result of buying this product/service?
3) What specific feature did you like most about this product/service?
4) What would be three other benefits about this product/service?
5) Would you recommend this product/service? If so, why?
6) Is there anything you’d like to add?
Social proof you might need help with :
There’s also longer-form social proof (like videos and case studies) which are more difficult to collect and require some level of post-production (eg, a video editor to clean up the video, a content marketer to create the case study). You don’t necessarily need longer-form social proof, but they make a great centerpiece and web asset. If you have a super happy ideal-fit client that you did amazing work for and can measure the results, don’t ask them for a basic unstructured review. Save them for later. Ask the other top 30% for reviews then come back to this client when you’re ready to really invest in more social proof.
Let it marinate :
While you coulddd use your new social proof while re-engaging current monthly retainer clients, they already have first-hand experience with you, your business, and your service. Social proof may remind them of how great you are. But, they aren’t going to be as swayed by social proof as new leads will. And, new leads will need time to notice your social proof. It could take a few months from when you’ve started asking for more reviews until they’re posted and new leads have noticed them. But, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. That’ll give you plenty of time to raise prices, rework proposals and offers, and reengage your current clients at higher prices.
Imposter syndrome , anxiety, and mental roadblocks:
Admittedly, imposter syndrome and anxiety are squishier subjects than I usually discuss in these emails. But, they are very real roadblocks in business, especially when it comes to increasing prices, launching new services, and sending bigger proposals. Social proof doesn’t just prove your abilities to the random people reading your website and marketing. It proves it to yourself too. Read your own reviews, do a little market research into what your colleagues are charging (spoiler: there’s probably someone charging more than you), and bump those fees.
Grab your client list, pick 5 clients to ask, and send that first email asking if they’d like to write a testimonial.
PS, once you’ve collected all that new social proof, don’t forget to include it in your marketing and on your website. My website is covered in reviews:
PPS, also, if it isn’t too much to ask, I’d really appreciate a review for this newsletter. 🙏 It helps -> leave a review (see what I did there? 😋)
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