Money / Pricing strategy

Pricing for wimps: The four-letter words that backfire

Don’t let low-price terminology drive your customers away. Use confident pricing language in your pricing strategies and you will instil confidence in your clients.


I’m a great believer that soloists should be the expert, value their time, produce great stuff and have the guts to charge a “healthy” price for their work. But it’s not always easy to take the healthy-price stance.

Sometimes we try to find a kind of middle ground where we give off  “low price” vibes while still charging a healthy price.

Provided it’s not unethical trickery – on the face of it, it seems like a good idea. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find that this sort of pricing strategy can actually shoot you in the foot.

Imagine you make high-end bespoke wedding cakes. On your website you may show a selection of typical cakes together with a broad price guide. So far, so good. But then you add in the words “only” or “just” before the dollars.

Seems innocuous enough. But simply drawing attention to price in a “low price” kind of way can actually move pricing up the “importance list” in your customer’s mind.

"If all your communications are peppered with low-price vibes you will influence your customers to be very price aware."

The brain works in a funny way and while your customer may have visited your website because of your awesome reputation the words “only” and “just” have subconsciously reminded her to be price aware. Unwittingly you’ve triggered in her low-price thoughts and before you know it, she’s wandered off to compare wedding cake prices across the board.

While this isn’t the end of the world – hopefully your customer returns and realises what great value you provide – you’ve effectively turned a customer shopping for expertise into a customer shopping for price. Ugh.

The occasional “just” and “only” won’t hurt you too much. But the more you do it the worse it gets. If all your communications are peppered with low-price vibes you will influence your customers to be very price aware.

So be proud of your pricing and use your communications to emphasise the stuff you want to leave in your customers’ minds, such as expertise and quality – not your price.

Do words such as “only” and “just” work for or against your pricing strategies, do you think? 

Read the full ‘Pricing for wimps’ series:

Julia Bickerstaff

is a business strategy, pricing and productivity expert. She is the founder of The Business Bakery, an organisation that helps women make a healthy income from their handmade, home-based or other intentionally small business.


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