Practice Development Counsel

Phyllis weiss haserot
Phyllis weiss haserot

President & Founder

212 593-1549

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Client Attraction, Personal Style & Pricing

May 2005

We talk about “flexing” our styles to communicate and build rapport with people with styles different from ours. This is a form of providing options, recognizing that people have different needs, preferences, and methods of taking in information, expressing themselves and buying. Economic issues are often a significant part of a buying decision, and people may balk at paying a given price. But it is far from the only factor. Nor is good chemistry, although that is crucial too.

People like choices – as long as they don't have too many of them, which they find confusing or immobilizing. (On this subject I recommend “The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less” by Barry Schwartz, Harper Collins Publishers, Inc., 2004). They don't want to be forced to take an action or purchase a product or service that they don't feel suits them. Or they don't want to have to make a move or a decision before they are comfortable with it.

Many sales trainers teach that if the prospective client doesn't purchase after a few discussions of needs and explanation of the benefits of what you have to offer, they are never likely to, and you are best off writing them off. That may or may not be true, depending on their style. People react and respond differently depending on where they fit on the spectrum of pace, information needs, sociability and whether they are more task/goal oriented or people-oriented.

Behavioral styles can be a significant factor. Some personal styles, for example the Conscientious and Steadiness DiSC styles, tend to take a longer time making decisions. [DiSC is a well-respected and widely used personal behavioral style assessment.] Both of these styles tend to resist change, but they have differing reasons for delaying making decisions. The Conscientious style person is cautious, seeks more and more data before making a decision and is highly concerned with quality and accuracy. It must be “right.” The Steadiness style person is driven by security needs and takes a while to reach an adequate comfort level with new things and people. In both cases, patience may pay off big – as once convinced, these personal styles can be very loyal and act as advocates for the product or service.

On the other hand, the Dominant or Directness style persons will make a quick decision but want to feel that it is their decision, that no one is taking advantage of them. The Influence style people look for “social proof” and need success stories and testimonials to know they are in good company with a decision they make.

Not only is it extremely useful to be able to “read” the styles of your buyers (or anyone you are trying to influence for whatever purpose), but it is useful to provide choices. The (prospective) client will feel more in control, part of the decision-making process and less threatened.

You may have what you consider the optimum solution, the premium service and what you think is best for the client, but in most cases that is not the only way they can go and still benefit. Consider what can be offered at a lower price, leaving out some not absolutely necessary elements or performing in a longer time frame. Two or three options will allow clients to participate and make the most suitable decision for the needs. Giving choices may speed up the decision-making process and get the client on board rather than stringing out the decision-making process over several months. And in spelling out the options incentives can be incorporated that make your preferred offering more attractive after all.

Being prepared to offer choices is not discounting prices. This type of strategy will appeal to various personal styles and provide flexibility for how you deal with different clients that you would like to have and can still be profitable. It may keep them from walking away the first time and even in the future when, with budget constraints, they are attracted to a competitor on the basis of price flexibility.

To succeed at this approach, two things are needed:

  1. Well thought out pricing “packages” (instead of or in addition to simply billing by the hour)
  2. A knowledge of personal styles and how to read the styles of your clients, prospects and other stakeholders


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© Phyllis Weiss Haserot, 2005. All rights reserved.