No one is ever going to pay you what you are worth. They will only pay you what they think you are worth. But you can change their thinking and no magic is involved at all.
It would be cool if magic really worked and just like the lady on Bewitched, you could wiggle your nose and alter the situation. What it really takes, however, is clearly defining and communicating your value to your clients or boss. It is essential to being paid well for your excellent service or work and it is a terribly hard thing for an introvert to do.
In my work as a coach, I have noticed that this is a subject applicable to everyone, men and women alike. It applies if you are an employee or a business owner or someone looking for a job. Yes, it is true if you are a woman or a man. …And it’s particularly true if you are an introvert of either any gender.
I am not going to approach this from a gender point of view even though it is clear from reports created by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that women employees and business owners are paid less than men, i.e., about 20 cents on the dollar. From time to time, we all undervalue our services and we do it particularly if we are introverts. Introverts say things like, “I don’t like to blow my own horn,” or, “I am never comfortable singing my own praises,” or maybe you have said this one: “I’d rather let my work speak for itself.” Ever said any of those things? Yep, me too.
From time to time, we all
undervalue our services and
we do it particularly if we are introverts.
I hear really different stories from extroverts, and I think that the difference in narrative is costing women about 20 cents on the dollar in the greater labor market, and since no one measures the difference between introverts and extroverts in this context, who knows what that really costs.
One Coaching Firm Experience
Here is a story about a coaching firm. It is a business that helps financial service advisors dramatically improve their activity level and, in turn, their profitability. That is part of my business. After working for several years with advisors, I noticed that the profits of the people working with me were increasing. They were realizing significant increases in sales and in the types of clients they were acquiring. I realized that I needed to reconsider my pricing. I realized (particularly when one client offered to increase my standard rate), that I was really underpriced relative to the value I was delivering to them.
It is really hard for me to say that—I am an introvert.
That is part of my work. I help advisors recognize their value to their clients and the market. That is what I realized so I sat myself down and looked at my pricing. I spoke to advisors that I knew. Then revisited what I had determined was my value. At that point I asked some very important questions, something that I had never taken the time to ask before. They were what my friend Bill Cates from the Referral Institute calls value questions. They were the following:
- What are my client’s needs and how do I meet them?
- What is my unique skill set that makes me better qualified to serve my clients?
- What value do I add?
- What do I do that no one else does?
- What problems do I solve for my clients?
So I came up with answers for those questions and described the value that my clients get from working with me, cornered my financial advisor who helped me calculate their return on investment, and what I discovered was that I was underpriced by half.
I should double my price: double it!
Now I have to tell you straight up that scared the crap out of me. I am supposed to be the one who helps with this sort of thing, but there I was suffering from the same malady from what my very clients suffered—undervaluing what they offer. Like them, I knew the value was there, I was sure the value was there, and I was frightened out of my mind about announcing it. Imagine if no one would pay it? What if my new clients said, “That’s crazy…You are crazy!”
Was my work really worth that price? Was I worth it? I guess the bigger of the two questions was not about my work—it was about me. Well, I care for my dad; What about my home? What if I go broke? …if I fail?
Still, I know it is important to take your own medicine occasionally, the very same stuff I offer my clients. I was sure that there was value there in what I offered. So when my new prospects arrived, I developed proposals with the new higher pricing, communicated my value, and sent them out. What happened, you ask? Well, clients continued to hire me and refer me, to tell their friends about my work. I am still here working away and I share this little/revelatory story with you because doubts and fears are perfectly normal; we all have them. But they don’t define our value unless we let them. They only limit our earning potential when we let them. As introverts, it is so easy to let them do just that.
A Marketing Firm Story
I have a client; he is an introvert also. My client has recently learned to communicate his value and the value of his company to his new and existing clients. The owner of a successful development and marketing company, he now employs several people, each a star in their area. Now his company is larger, but in the past year he has trimmed things down to a size that has let him regain control over his product. Great thing, right? A while back I heard him say, “I have a great little design and marketing company.” Yep, that is how he described it. “A great little design and marketing company.”
They had some problems in the past with quality and most of the downsizing was a very successful effort to regain control and ensure that everything that left the building was perfect. But the way he was describing his company was having an impact on his bottom line. As an introvert, he could hardly describe it any other way. The way he was looking at his improvements—and they were significant improvements—were costing him.
I think that his language and introverted style communicated shame for errors in the past and suggested that deep inside, he didn’t believe that he had value to offer. In other words, he was practically giving his services away. So he began the journey to take back his control in an effort to communicate value to his clients and change the message.
The first thing we worked on was the importance of finding his own voice, a voice that is authentic and representative of what he did and what he offered. I suggested he not tap into the messages of his competition or consultants. It wasn’t who he was. He learned to step around his introversion by making it about the other person, to focus on adding value and serving, then it didn’t sound like bragging or blowing his horn. What do you love about what you do? What turns you on about your work? When you connect with those things, your value appears naturally and clearly.
What do you love about what you do?
What turns you on about your work?
So he embraced his natural voice, found his own style and changed his message. For one thing, he stopped referring to his company as a little development and marketing company. He found over time his confidence increasing when communicating his message. Now he is charging about 2.5 times as much for his work and business is growing rapidly. Meeting with clients are about the clients and not about the problems. When you let the data speak for itself, show the trends and say directly, “Here is what we have done for you,” it both sounds and feels differently. Your clients take notice as well. Rather than feeling that squeamish feeling, he gained a sense of confidence in what he is doing.
He found over time his confidence
increasing when communicating his message.
Being correctly valued is critical. It is perhaps one of the most important choices a person or business owner can make. I hope the two stories help you understand the implications about defining your value and about communicating your value as two important parts of realizing your full earning potential. That’s the story, the process for getting it done. If you are reading this and are not getting paid what you are worth, then join me in a call. Let’s talk about it and see where you want to go. If you are an introvert, speaking with me could be an even more important step for you.
Being correctly valued is critical.
It is perhaps one of the most important
choices a person
or business owner can make.
Try and imagine what your life could be like, how much more stuff you could do, what you could return to your community, how much better you could plan for your family’s future, how respected and validated you could feel when you are able to earn to your full potential, when you realize your full value.
So again, I remind all my introvert friends. To all of you—no one is ever going to pay you what you are worth. They will only pay you what they think you are worth but you can influence their thinking. Just step out of your comfort zone and recognize your value. Ultimately, they will too.
So, what do you think you are worth? Do you have some help influencing others thinking about you?
If you are, give me a call so we can talk about it… schedule a time for a free call and tell me about it.
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