In today’s episode, I’m going to share with you how to attract premium clients.
If you’ve been feeling like the type of people you are attracting into your business aren’t a fit, aren’t necessarily at the appropriate level for your work, or they aren’t necessarily ready to invest at the level that you are looking for, then this is going to be a really helpful episode for you.
Here for the links referenced in the show notes?
Episode 310: The steps to increasing your prices: tashcorbin.com/310
Episode 297: What is a value proposition? How do you articulate yours? tashcorbin.com/297
Nail Your Niche: tashcorbin.com/niche
Prepare yourself: My advice is probably not going to be what you expect. It’s not going to be those standard things that most mentors use in order to attract “better” clients. Instead, I’m going to challenge you to actually be a premium provider.
Tread carefully on this one! It is not going to be those superficial strategies.
Let’s dive in…
Very often, in my role as a business mentor and a marketing strategist, I have people ask me a question about attracting a better calibre of clients.
This is actually a really good indicator for me that someone has some sales baggage.
Whilst there absolutely are some strategies that we can use in order for you to attract better and more premium clients, I also just want to straight up say that no one person is more valuable than another.
No one client is better than another.
In a lot of cases, the ‘attract premium clients’ is actually ‘I don’t want to have to do the sales stuff’ in disguise.
People will use the reason that they’re just not attracting the right quality or calibre of audience as a reason why they’re not making the money that they want to make.
But actually, it’s not your audience’s fault.
It’s never your potential client’s fault that they don’t necessarily jump in straightaway to work with you, or they don’t necessarily see the value the way that you see the value of your services or products.
I want to be 100% straight up with you and invite you to reflect on this if this is one of your desires. Why? Why do you want to attract a better calibre of person?
In my opinion, we are all equal. I am someone who doesn’t see a lot of relationships as hierarchical. I am often drawn to this question of: What makes one person better than another or more premium than another?
The first question to ask if you are someone who is wishing you had a better calibre of client is why. What are the signs that are telling you there’s something wrong? What is it at the micro level that is making you feel like something is amiss?
In most cases, those individual signs need to be addressed at the micro level first.
Yes, I’m going to share with you some strategies to really up-level the readiness and investment capability of people coming into your business. But first and foremost, I want us to address some of the micro-level things.
Are you trying to avoid having to sell?
A lot of people simply believe that if they attract someone who has lots of money, they won’t have to convince them to work with them. They believe that if they attract someone who’s hungry to invest and hungry to get the result, they won’t have to sell so hard.
That’s actually trying to avoid the sales and marketing process. But the sales and marketing process as a business owner is unavoidable.
It’s a fruitless task to simply say that the quality of the people you’re attracting is the problem.
The longer you blame your audience, the longer you’ll continue to try and convince yourself that you don’t have to do any sales and marketing because it’s your audience’s fault that they don’t understand. Therefore, you need to get in front of different people.
It’s also the longer you’ll spend chasing around the internet looking for those magically better people.
In most cases, the audience that you have is actually the most likely audience to invest with you, and the most likely to invest the most money with you.
What needs to change is you.
What needs to change is your sales approach, your marketing approach, and even your proactiveness in terms of sales and marketing.
Here are some other examples of micro-level changes that need to happen…
One of the reasons some people say they need to attract a better calibre of clients is that they’re getting a lot of pricing objection.
A lot of their audience is saying that they can’t afford it or it’s not in their budget currently. Therefore, they think that if they find people who have more disposable income, then that will magically solve that issue for them.
But in most cases, if you’re getting a lot of pricing objections, the problem is not the price, the problem is the value.
People are willing to invest and pay those premium prices if they see the value of what it is that you have to offer, and if you can connect that value to what is important for them.
That’s where this whole shirking-your-marketing-responsibilities part comes in.
It’s not as simple as saying that you’ll just attract people with a high disposable income.
That’s why when we do some work on niching, a lot of people will say that they want to work with successful women, or they want to work with high-flying corporate women who love luxury.
The reason why they’re saying that as part of their niching is that they have a perception that those people will have more money and therefore will be more likely to part with that money without having to go through a lot of that sales process and marketing.
But that’s actually not the case!
In my experience, wealthy people are just as discerning about how they invest their money, as people who have tighter budgets.
They are just as equally discerning with their spending, and they equally need to see that what they’re getting in return for their spending, is going to create a valuable return on their investment and is connected to what their priorities are.
If you’re getting lots of pricing objections, in most cases, it’s not your audience. It’s the value proposition of what it is that you’re selling.
Similarly, if people are dragging their feet and they’re not buying with urgency, then that is an issue of desire and priorities.
It’s not an issue of the person.
It’s the fact that the priority or the desire that you are addressing with your product or service is not a match to their priorities, or you haven’t adequately linked it to their priorities.
If you can’t demonstrate how working with you will help people achieve their goals, then you’re going to have trouble getting them to commit quickly. You’re going to have trouble getting them to make a decision. This is because your product or service still seems to be a nice-to-have for them, but they have other priorities that need to come first.
In most cases, we cannot change someone’s priority.
If someone doesn’t prioritise their health, you will not change those priorities. Natural priorities are just what they are.
But if you can link the work that you’re doing to one of their top priorities, then you’re going to be far more likely to create that increased desire and urgency.
Again, that’s not an audience issue. It’s actually you connecting the work that you do with the desires and priorities of your audience. Not them just magically changing their mind or shifting their life priorities overnight.
Another reason why people say they need to attract premium clients is that the people they’re working with aren’t necessarily doing the work.
They’re in resistance mode, they keep delaying their sessions, or they’re not doing their homework from their sessions.
That is actually a matter of addressing resistance.
If in your work, you are not paying attention to the resistance that comes up for your clients – if you’re not addressing that resistance or ensuring that you at least equip them with the ability to notice that resistance and overcome it – then maybe you’re only doing half the job.
It’s not your client’s fault that they’ve dived into this big old resistance piece. That’s part of the work.
Even though I am very clear that I’m not a mindset specialist, in all of my programs and in all of my VIP work, we talk about mindset.
If at any point there’s a big mindset block that’s come up and it’s something that’s beyond the scope of my work, I will recommend to my client that they work with a mindset practitioner, or that they dedicate consistent time and space to their mindset work because it will significantly improve the results that they get from our work together.
You need to take shared responsibility with your clients for paying attention to not only the specific areas that you’re working on, but also paying attention to what resistance will come up for them.
Being great in your field actually involves treating humans as humans.
You need to understand that your client can get caught up in resistance. And you need to have strategies to notice when that resistance happens, address that resistance, and equip your clients with the information, skills and knowledge that they need in order to either address that on their own, with another practitioner, or in their work with you.
Those are some of the micro-level reasons why you may want to attract more premium clients. But in all cases, the problem is not the audience. The problem is not the client. There is something in relation to your marketing and sales approach, or your delivery approach that isn’t quite addressing the whole picture. That needs to be addressed.
The longer you keep telling yourself that the problem is the audience, the longer you will avoid and resist looking at what’s really causing these challenges for you. Therefore the longer the problem will continue to proliferate in your business.
I always invite you to ask that question…
Why do I think I need better-quality clients here? Why do I think I need to attract more premium clients? Are there some micro-level things that I can actually address with my sales and marketing strategies or with my delivery approach that will address those things?
All of that being said, there are some strategies that you can use to attract more premium clients to your business – people who are more ready to invest, people who are more ready to get the work done, and people who have more urgency around purchasing from you.
There are some strategies that are very superficial, and there are some strategies that are actually more in-depth and will create a long-term sustainable change.
Let’s look at some of those superficial strategies first. The superficial strategies do often work, but sometimes they work only for a short period of time. I want to address those as well because I do think that they make some difference. But then I want us to dive a little deeper.
Here are the four more superficial ways that we can attract more premium clients…
Superficial strategy 1: Increase your prices
I always say this with a caveat because I have seen far too many people in the past go from charging $1,500 for their VIP package to charging $5,000 and get no clients. Or worse, they get one client at the $5,000 price and then they feel like they can’t put the price back down because someone’s already paid $5,000. But everything dries up and they create this feast and famine cycle for themselves.
I’ve worked with people before who’ve come to me after nine months of no clients.
A mentor they had previously worked with said that $1,500 was too cheap so they should increase their price to $10,000.
They took that mentor’s advice, put their package price up to $10,000, made a sale so they felt like that mentor was amazing, and then nine months go by without a single client.
Whilst in the short term that strategy worked well because it did get someone in at a premium price, long term, it wasn’t sustainable because the other pieces that go with being a $10,000 provider weren’t actually addressed.
You can’t just increase your prices and keep providing an inferior service or keep speaking to low-level outcomes and expect to magically attract an audience who just accepts that $10,000 price.
Whilst increasing your prices does work to attract a different sub-niche in the market, it isn’t necessarily sustainable if that’s the only strategy that you use.
I do have a podcast episode about how to increase your prices using an incremental price increase strategy to take your audience with you.
You can read, watch or listen to that episode here: tashcorbin/310
Superficial strategy 2: Branding
There’s absolutely a case for being a premium brand.
If your website, handouts and videos all look homemade, that can contribute to a perception that you’re not a premium provider.
If you aren’t consistent with your brand, that can contribute to our perception that you’re not a premium in the market.
It’s not just a matter of visual branding, but also your brand voice and the type of messaging that you use to attract people who are in that market for a premium provider.
I would say that this is superficial because if it’s all just gloss and there’s nothing to back it up or substantiate it behind the scenes, then it’s not going to be sustainable.
If people start to see the cracks and see that you’ve shined up the surface of your business but the services behind the scenes don’t match that brand, then again, it’s not going to be sustainable.
That’s why I say both pricing and branding more at the superficial level to attract premium clients because we need to back it up.
Superficial strategy 3: Testimonials
Sharing clients’ success stories, and sharing people’s experiences of working with you can also present you as a premium provider.
I call this one a superficial strategy because we know these days that testimonials can be bought or faked, and testimonials only account for about 2% of the buying decision. But when used with other strategies as part of a more fulsome sales and marketing approach, testimonials about the client experience in particular can be very helpful in presenting you as a premium in the market.
Superficial strategy 4: Niche
Niche down to people who are more in that disposable income or who more readily investing and doing the work.
But here’s the thing: I put this in the category of superficial because it’s not enough to just go on the internet and say that you work with successful people.
If those people are so successful, what do they need you for?
Saying that you work with women who love luxury doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to attract someone who’s ready to invest in your work.
As I said before, it’s not just about the price, it’s also about the perceived value of working with you.
If someone loves purchasing Louboutin shoes and high-quality, tailored garments, just because you say your $5 sarongs are for luxury buyers, doesn’t necessarily mean that we believe you.
When it comes to niche as a way of attracting premium buyers, it’s not a matter of telling the internet what your niche is or telling the internet that you only work with coachable people, or people willing to do the work.
You know who perceives themselves as willing to do the work? People who are not at all willing to do the work!
The people who come to me and say that they’re so coachable and ready to do the work are the people most likely to get into resistance. They are the people most likely to be white-knuckling their way through the process. They’re just saying it over and over in their head trying to convince themselves that they are ready to commit when in real essence they are not.
They are the least likely to be ready to commit.
It’s not as simple as telling the internet what your niche is. It’s having a brand, message, value proposition, delivery methodology, and customer service experience that matches that niche.
Just telling people that your niche is people who have a high disposable income does not necessarily attract people with a high disposable income.
It’s a much more complex marketing approach in order to be able to do that.
They are the four more superficial strategies to attract premium clients:
1. Increase your price
2. Have a premium brand
3. Use lots of testimonials that give an image of a premium experience
4. Select a niche that’s going to have more disposable income, or be more aligned with what you perceive as a premium
But here’s the big stuff to attract premium clients…
1. Deliver premium outcomes
If you deliver substandard outcomes, if you have a substandard service, if your products feel cheap, look cheap, or are cheap, then you’re going to struggle to attract premium clients.
You need to be confident in your ability to deliver premium outcomes. You need to create not just a premium customer service experience, but premium results.
It’s necessary to have that confidence and deep belief that the transformation you facilitate with your products and services is a premium transformation.
That’s bigger than just putting a glossy brand on things.
This is why these are not superficial things. These are the things that make the biggest difference but they take the most complex strategy to be able to do that.
It takes time and experience to be able to do these things. They take a commitment and dedication to being a premium provider.
2. Value proposition
Articulate your value proposition effectively by taking responsibility for sales and marketing.
Learn how to create copy and messaging that actually articulates a premium outcome, and actually articulates what you do in a way that’s aligned with the priorities of your ideal clients.
That’s really critical.
For most people, articulating their value proposition is where they let themselves down with their sales and marketing strategy.
They have all of the tactics – they know to be on Instagram and doing reels, they know to have a mailing list, they know to have freebies, and they know to run webinars. They’ve got all of the tactics down. But in every place where they show up, their messaging is flimsy at best. Their messaging is vague and their value proposition is unclear.
They don’t know how to tangibly articulate the transformation that they facilitate.
It looks fuzzy to your audience, and when things look fuzzy and it doesn’t resonate, people will resist paying you money, and they certainly will resist paying a premium price.
So get really skilled at articulating your value proposition.
I do have a great podcast episode on that. If you don’t know how to articulate your value proposition, then make sure you check out this episode of the podcast: Episode 297: What is a value proposition? How do you articulate yours?
3. Behave like a premium provider
If you’re constantly apologising to potential customers because you didn’t see their email for four days because you’re totally overwhelmed, or if you have people constantly needing to reschedule their sessions because you didn’t arrange childcare or your computer keeps breaking down, then that’s going to degrade the experience of your potential clients.
You will no longer attract premium clients if you are not a premium provider.
Behaving like a premium provider isn’t just about the experience that you provide for people. It’s also about the energy that you bring to the table. It’s about the way that you show up.
If you are undernourished, dehydrated, sleep-deprived, and running from appointment to appointment with no spaciousness in your day, then that is going to contribute to people’s perception of who you are and whether you’re a premium provider or not.
I’m sure you know what it’s like to go to a restaurant where the waitstaff are run off their feet completely, you get no time with them, and you feel like you’re inconveniencing them by being there.
That doesn’t feel like a premium experience.
Compare that to going to a luxurious restaurant where you have a dedicated server, they check in on you a couple of times (not too much! They’re not desperate for your reassurance that everything is okay), and they have time to speak with you, explain the menu and make wine recommendations. That feels like a premium experience.
The exact same can be said for the experience of working with an online provider.
We know what it feels like to have a premium experience.
If you’re not behaving like a premium provider, then you will not attract premium clients.
For every time that you choose to skip lunch, not go for a walk and instead just hustle, hustle, hustle, you’re actually eroding your space as a premium provider.
You’re eroding our perception that you provide a premium experience.
If you’re rushing from thing to thing, if you don’t have time to grab a drink of water and have a toilet break in between clients, then you’re going to make us feel like that’s going to be what we can get from you.
We don’t want what you’re having so that doesn’t feel like a premium experience.
How can you behave more like a premium provider? Not just in the service that you provide, or in your customer service experience, but also in the way that you look after yourself and the time and space that you have for yourself.
That’s a challenging one, I know! It’s going to push a lot of buttons, but it’s true.
4. Build your expertise and experience
If you’ve only built two websites for people in my market before, I’m not going to perceive you as a premium provider.
If you don’t know the language of the business world, I’m not going to think you’re a premium business provider. And if you don’t have the expertise that I would expect from someone who’s a leader in the industry, then I’m not going to perceive you as a premium. Therefore you’re going to struggle to attract those premiums level clients.
Sometimes you’ve got to do the work. You’ve got to work with the clients.
That’s why I love the incremental price increase strategy. As you uplevel your experience and expertise, you uplevel your prices. It’s an appropriate match. Therefore, it doesn’t create all the mindset wobbles about feeling like you’re not good enough, and it doesn’t bring up all your imposter syndrome.
Your clients cannot hold space for your imposter syndrome. That’s not their job.
Your clients are not responsible for explaining the ins and outs of your job as a provider.
If you want to be a premium and if you want to attract premium clients, you need to:
- Have worked with some people
- Build your expertise
- Consistently invest in your personal and professional development
- Consistently stay on top of industry changes and trends
- Pay attention to what’s happening in your market and be a voice of authority
That takes time, presence and experience.
If you feel like that’s an area that’s not a strength of yours (and so therefore you’re not attracting premium clients), then just know that it’s something that can be changed very quickly over the next few months.
It doesn’t have to take years and years for you to build that expertise. But it absolutely does take some time.
You need to work with the clients you have now and deliver a premium experience for them. Deliver really great outcomes for them so that you feel aligned with stepping up to the next level.
That doesn’t have to take years. It can be a matter of months.
From the first month of my business to the sixth month of my business, my confidence in the advice I was providing, my expertise, and the experience that I could bring to the table for my clients was massively different.
I absolutely skyrocketed my experience and expertise in the first six months of my business. But that’s because, above everything else, I prioritised getting clients.
I made a commitment to myself at the very beginning of my business, that regardless of what they paid me, I would work with five new people every single week.
I knew that one of the keys to me having a sustainably growing business, and a business that was a premium in the market, was to have the experience of working with clients.
Initially, I didn’t charge a premium price for people to work with me.
I just got the quantity of people working with me, but I delivered quality work. I delivered on those outcomes, I got client feedback, I was an avid learner, I invested in my personal and professional development, I went to industry conferences, and I bought courses on the types of things that my clients needed the most help with (copywriting courses, web development courses and social media courses) because I knew that those were areas where I needed to improve my skill set for my services to be premium services.
It only took me six months to go from charging $49 for two hours to charging $495 for two hours.
I 10x my prices over six months, but I increased my prices slowly with every 5-10 clients.
For every 5-10 clients that I worked with, I reviewed my prices. Every couple of weeks, I would look at whether I needed to do another little price increase.
If it was a yes, then I’d use that price increase strategy.
I was building epic experience and I was building my expertise.
In order for you to do that, you need to take on the clients, work with people, and focus on personal and professional development.
5. Be your unique self
Do not commodify yourself.
If you provide five-page websites just like every other web developer out there, people will then buy based on price.
If you provide yoga classes online just like every other online yoga class provider out there, and there’s nothing unique about what it is that you’re delivering, people will buy the cheapest.
You commodify yourself when you try and look like everyone else in your market.
This is usually the opposite of what people think they need to do.
The first thing that people do when they enter a market is go and look at what everyone else is doing so that they can learn from that and replicate it in their own services and their own copy and their own website. But that is the fastest way to put yourself in a commodity market.
A commodity market is price-driven.
If you’re looking to attract high-quality premium clients who pay premium prices, the last thing you want to do is look like a commodity in your market. When you commodity yourself, the only differentiator between you and your competitors is your price.
If that’s the only difference, people will choose the most affordable price.
Rather than looking to blend into your market or emulate what other people are doing in your market, look for ways to differentiate yourself in your market.
There’s a brilliant book Blue Ocean Strategy that I recommend you read if you feel you’ve commodified yourself. It’s a great way to start thinking about how you might present yourself differently.
There are also some great providers out there who help with understanding your own unique voice and what it is that you bring to the table.
But ultimately, one of the fastest ways to bring your unique approach forward is to tune out the competitors in your market, stop looking at what everyone else is doing, and instead invest some time in developing your unique brand voice, your unique service provision, and your unique delivery methodologies.
Rather than borrowing from everyone else in your market and then making slight tweaks to make it feel like it’s your own, instead, actually develop some intellectual property, some differentiated delivery methods, and a clear value proposition that doesn’t look like you’re providing the exact same thing as other people in your market. Because that’s commodifying yourself.
For example, a commodity might be sugar. Sugar is sugar is sugar in most cases.
If you’re just selling sugar, then people will look for the cheapest sugar. But if you’re selling organically grown raw sugar that’s beautifully packed into cubes specifically for your cup of tea or coffee, then all of a sudden people aren’t looking at what the price is per gram compared to the price per gram of another bag of sugar. Instead, they’re paying attention to how unique it is and whether the value that they’re going to get from that product is perceived as appropriate for the price you’re charging.
If it’s a price I’m willing to pay, I buy the thing.
You can see that even a commodity like sugar can be differentiated so that it is no longer commodified.
It’s exactly the same for online providers, service-based businesses, personal brands, influencers, and all entrepreneurial pursuits.
Asking the question of how you can present yourself as a unique provider is very effective in attracting premium clients.
One of the most effective ways of being unique in your market, having that unique messaging and staying away from being a commodity, is to get very specific and tangible with your niching.
If you niche right down to be a specialist for a particular niche, you will then stand out as a specialist expert, and you obliterate the competition out of the question.
Let’s say I have a hairdressing salon, and I find two interior decorators. One is a generic interior decorator whose fee is $1,000 for a consult. And one is a specialist hairdresser interior designer, who specialises in helping you attract the exact right clients, providing a unique customer service experience, and getting lots and lots of repeat customers through powerfully curated interior design, and their consult fee is $5,000.
If I have a hair salon, which one am I most likely to see as the most valuable to me? Which one am I most likely to buy?
Even though the specialist is five times the price, because they’ve been able to articulate not just who they’re for but why that is important, powerful and valuable for someone in that niche, then all of a sudden, I’m not comparing based on price. I’m comparing based on value, outcomes, specialisation, and expertise.
That expertise comes from just being specific about the problem that you solve, and for whom you solve it.
Niching isn’t about saying, “I am an X practitioner”.
Your modality is not your niche. Your messaging is not your niche.
Instead, your niche is the decisions that you make behind the scenes about who you’re going to focus on with your marketing.
If that has raised something for you around not knowing who your niche is or whether it’s specific enough to attract premium clients, I recommend checking out my Nail Your Niche training.
It’s absolutely free, it’s about an hour long, and it goes through the five most important niching decisions that you need to make, and how you translate the decisions about your niche into resonant messaging.
Your niche is not your message. You don’t just go onto the internet and say, “I work with ambitious women who have two children and love yoga. And I help them with Feng Shui”.
You don’t just tell your niche who they are.
You create value-based messaging and a clear value proposition for that niche. That’s what you share. You share your message and your value proposition.
When you create your message and your value proposition through the lens of knowing exactly who the niche is that you’re creating it for, it’s far more resonant, it’s far more effective, and it pitches you as a premium provider.
Make sure you grab that free niche training here: CLICK ME
That Nail Your Niche training is very practical and can help you pitch yourself as a premium provider simply by making important niching decisions.
That’s it for today’s episode of the Heart-Centred Business Podcast!
This was a really juicy episode. I think it’s important for us to have the full conversation because it’s not just as simple as charging more.
Despite what some marketing gurus out there will tell you, that is not the full story of how you present yourself as a premium.
I think for a lot of people, there are micro issues that you can address that will resolve a lot of the challenges that tell you you don’t have a premium market before you even need to make any other significant changes to your marketing strategy or your sales approach.
Thank you so much for sticking with me for this episode.
If you’ve got any follow-up questions, feel free to slide into my DMs on Instagram or Facebook. I understand that this can sometimes raise some issues and push some buttons. It can also prompt MANY questions, so feel free to get in touch.
You can also send an email to email@example.com at any time with any follow-up questions. I’m happy to provide any further advice I can or answer your questions.
Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.