One of the most frequently asked questions we get here at Click & Repeat is whether to add prices on your website… But there’s actually a more useful question: How smooth do I want to make my client’s journey to “sign up” (i.e., their sales path)?
That might seem like a bizarre concept — surely you want their path to be as smooth and simple as possible? Well, if you’re selling widgets, weebles, or any other wizz-bang products that allow you to just sit back as the money comes rolling in, then yes. Absolutely. You want that sales path to have no friction whatsoever. But if what you’re selling is your time in one form or another, you might want to reconsider that strategy.
Prices on your website: What’s your situation?
How many clients do you have, and how many would you ideally have, at any one time? Are you currently praying for new clients? Or so overloaded with people you need to schedule bathroom breaks into your day?
Also, how automated is your sign-up process? Are you running group classes where clients basically enroll themselves? Or do you have multiple one-on-one private consults with a sales call for each inquiry? These different services may need different sales paths — and have different answers to the “to price or not to price on my website” question.
And finally, how do you compare to your competition? Are you more expensive or cheaper? Do they all display their prices on their website?
The answer to these questions combined will determine your best strategy.
Sales path #1: New business, need clients
If you’re new — either in business or in a location — and you’re trying to get established, you want as many new clients as you can sign up: your processes need to be as smooth, frictionless, and simple as possible. The last thing you want is to put speed bumps in your prospective client’s path.
If you’re offering group classes where people don’t need an in-depth sales call, it’s easy to make your client’s journey frictionless. Put your prices on your site and automate the enrollment process as much as possible. Although adding pricing can deter people from signing up, you don’t want to spend your precious time discussing how much your classes cost with every person who’s interested!
Most people looking for group classes have two questions: “does the class offer what I want?” and “can I afford it?” If you can answer those, their next step is straightforward: enroll.
If you need more private clients, you need sales calls. And that means getting in touch with you should be as effortless as possible. Ideally, you’ll be selling private programs rather than your time by the hour. Your programs should include benefits such as ongoing support, or a library of training videos or articles; things that are valuable but can’t be easily translated into dollars-per-hour cost.
In this situation, adding prices on your website can be detrimental in most cases. Unless you’re the cheapest trainer in town (and you shouldn’t be!) including your prices can put people off contacting you. You don’t want people making a direct comparison between your prices and those of the competition. If they can — and you come off worse — you’ve added “friction” to the process of getting in touch.
However, it can also pay to follow the crowd and do what your competitors are doing. Being the odd one out can make you stand out, but not necessarily in a good way — if everyone else displays prices but you don’t, people might wonder what you’re hiding! And if no one else displays their prices, but you do, people might dismiss you because they think you’re too pricey when they have nothing to compare you with.
So, if you don’t want to display exact prices for your programs but all your competitors show price-per-hour for their services, consider displaying a range of costs for your programs. Be sure to emphasize that your programs include a lot more than just face-to-face hours — you don’t want people trying to work out your per hour rate so they can compare you to everyone else. You don’t have to give exact numbers, but giving prospective clients a ballpark figure will save you wasting time with those looking for a cheap deal — people who wouldn’t have signed up anyway.
Be careful that you’re also reducing friction by keeping your contact form as short & sweet as possible. All you need is their name, email address, and a short “comment” box to get started. Once you have them on the phone you can find out everything else you need from there.
Sales path #2: Established business, drowning in clients
If this is you, well done! It takes a lot of hard work to get to the point where you have more inquiries than you can handle. It’s a nice problem to have!
But it’s still a problem. If you want to avoid working 24/7, you need a way of being pickier about who you take on as a client. In this case you want to add as much friction as you can to your contact/sales process.
If your group classes are always fully booked and you have a wait list as long as your dog’s leash, one way to reduce numbers is by increasing the cost and pricing yourself at the top end of the competition in your area. It also makes sense to put those prices front and center on your group classes page!
Another strategy to reduce numbers and filter potential clients is by asking them to fill in a detailed questionnaire about their dog’s suitability before they can enroll. Many owners with “group-questionable” dogs will leave an application if they’re required to give specific written details of their dog’s behavior in certain situations. Bending the truth in a phone call is one thing, putting that white lie in writing — so it can be checked later — is less likely to happen.
To slow down the flood of private training inquiries, you need to add as much friction to the contact process as you can. You don’t want to be spending time on the phone with people who are unlikely to sign up because they either can’t afford you or weren’t that serious about the training anyway.
It’s unlikely people are hiring you based on your price — either your reputation precedes you or you have some other way clients are finding you. Whatever the reason, having your prices on your website isn’t going to be detrimental, so make sure they’re clearly displayed alongside your program details. Also make sure you’re pricing yourself at the top end of your competition.
Additionally, include a link to your price information on your contact page and let people know they can find out about pricing without getting in touch directly: “click here to find pricing information” or words to that effect.
Another very effective way to add friction to your contact process is to use a very detailed inquiry form and make every field mandatory. By doing this you can weed out unsuitable clients — deflecting those who aren’t serious and screening those inquiries that do come through.
Instead of just asking for their name and email address, you can ask for their phone number and postal address (so you can check they’re actually IN your service area!), as well as get details about their dog and the issues they’re experiencing. The more information you gather now, the easier the sales process will go if and when you speak to them — those sales calls will be to pre-qualified prospects.
If you really want to add speed bumps to their path, require a single paid consult to discuss their issues and how you can help them, before you recommend a training package for them.
Did I answer your question?
As you can see, the question “should I have my prices on my website?” is a lot more complex than it first appears. The answer depends on your current situation and needs, as well as what your competitors are doing. There’s no right or wrong answer and your path-to-contact strategy will probably change as your business grows and evolves and your goals for your website change.