The devil is in the details.
As they say. :)
It’s true that adding packages to your practice can really boost your income, AND better serve your clients.
But what works in one practice won’t necessarily work in another.
And one of the places this is most evident is in how you may design and price those packages.
Every practice is unique, so your packages need to actually fit what you do, what you need and what your people need.
Not long ago I was contacted by a psychotherapist on the west coast whose practice focused on treating adults with chronic pain.
She lived in a fairly affluent area, and had no trouble filling her calendar. Her pricing was solid, as clearly her clients felt they were getting great value even for her premium level services.
The problem she ran into was a natural result of working with that population: they missed a lot of appointments.
The very nature of the problem meant that their ability to show up was often unpredictable. If they were having a good day, they’d come. If just getting to the kitchen that day was a challenge, they’d cancel.
How could she offer packages that would feel empowering to them, but fit the unpredictability of their day-to-day functioning?
And how could she price them in away that provided her with income protection even in the face of the unpredictable nature of that caseload?
In a moment, I’ll tell you what we came up with, but first, let’s take a look at what you need to consider when you’re pricing your own packages.
There are five mistakes I want you to avoid.
Let’s take a look.
1. Don’t charge by the hour.
Most of you are used to thinking in terms of your hourly rate. So when you start putting packages together, your temptation will be to calculate the value by literally measuring the time involved.
But when you create a package, you are adding value in other ways, so try to resist that temptation.
As a coach of mine used to say, “charge for the difference it makes, not the time it takes.”
2. Don’t always offer a payment plan.
Payment plans make perfect sense if you’re offering a premium package that is priced at a high dollar amount.
But whereas payment plans are easier for your clients, they are riskier for you. And sometimes, we offer them just because we’re uncomfortable asking for what the service is worth.
If your packages are in the $500 range or above, it’s fine to offer a payment plan. If it’s below that, though, I encourage you to consider NOT providing that option.
In today’s world, people pay that for a cell phone and don’t even blink. And if you are offering real value, your ideal clients will find a way to invest in their work with you.
3. Don’t let payments match the up-front price.
If you do offer a payment plan, the total amount paid should add up to more than it would be if they paid in full up front.
And the difference between the two should be enough that they at least think about it before making their decision.
There are many benefits to doing things this way. One is that doing so helps to offset the risk you take on by issuing them credit, which is exactly what you’re doing in that arrangement.
4. Don’t compete against yourself.
In other words, make sure the math works.
Any time I revise the packages in my psychotherapy practice, I have to do the math over and over and over again to make it work. The difference from one package to the next needs to make sense – both for them and for you.
Ideally, it should be to their advantage to buy a larger package from you.
At the same time, the discounts or extra value you add from one to the next, needs to be reasonable for you. Don’t give away too much.
AND if you add payment plans to the mix, each of the pricing levels from one to the next need to flow in a logical way as well. So it can get complicated pretty fast.
Let’s look at an example.
Let’s say you have 3 acupuncture packages that are $500, $1000 and $1500.
What would make it worth it for them to buy the 2nd or 3rd level package, when they could just as easily buy the first one over and over again?
It could be because they save more when they buy more. (Think Sam’s or Costco.)
But it may also be that they get extra bonuses (like premium scheduling, after hours contact or some other VIP service.)
That’s easy enough to figure out…. but what if you offer payment plans for the 2nd and 3rd level packages?
Now you actually have five different price points for the three packages.
And the difference between each of those needs to flow in a way that works for both of you.
If your eyes are glazing over, I get it. That’s exactly why it takes me DAYS to figure this out.
But as tricky as pricing can be, it’s worth the time to think it through carefully.To do otherwise may hurt your income!
5. Don’t be afraid to get creative.
Let’s get back to that therapist I mentioned earlier.
When she contacted me, she had an elaborate plan that was a mix of consequences and options for clients who no-showed or cancelled at the last minute. Just hearing her try to explain it was painful, though I applauded what she was trying to do.
And yes, it was tricky! How do you prepare for a population that by their very nature is likely to no-show, a lot?
You redesign your packages.
Together, we came up with a completely new idea.
First, clients could still pay by the visit as always, with the usual policy that they would be charged full fee if they failed to show or cancel a session with less than 24 hours’ notice.
Or, they could buy a package, where they paid a flat rate per month that entitled them to anything from one to four sessions a month, which they could use as they wished within the parameters of her schedule.
If they wanted to come weekly, but skip week 3, they could.
If they wanted to come every other, they could.
If they only wanted to come once that month, they could.
So they had the freedom and flexibility to determine what was best for themselves each month, and she (AND her clients) had the security of a predictable payment.
Have you taken a look at your pricing lately?
What will it take for you to get a win/win – too?
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