Are you falling into the over-discounting trap?
To make sure you start the year off right, I'm focusing on some of the blocks we all face in our acupuncture practices. A few days ago I sent you an e-mail about Uncertainty and how it can silently sabotage our efforts. Today, I want to address the over-discounting/undercharging trap. This is probably even more prevalent in pediatrics. It got me thinking about my experience with choosing a vet and paying his expensive fees… Let me explain. A couple of years ago my family adopted a rescue dog named Ginger. She is a redhead and absolutely the sweetest dog. She's great with kids and loves just about everybody except the vet. We were told by the shelter that she growls and barks at the vet and to be careful to find a good one who can handle her. A few weeks after we got her, she started shaking her head and pawing at her ear. I knew I needed to take her to the vet and get her ear checked so I started to ask around to see who was good. After doing a bunch of research and even visiting a couple offices, I decided to take her to Dr. L. He came highly recommended and my friends said he was a natural with dogs and could surely handle Ginger. Dr. L also had the most expensive fees. When we got to his office I noticed that it was clean and not as smelly as some of the other offices I visited. The staff was professional and friendly. It was a good start. But Ginger was already shaking. She knew she was at a vets office and she was n.e.r.v.o.u.s! When Dr. L came into the treatment room, he bent down and approached Ginger very slowly. He gave her a treat which she snatched from his hand then backed away from him. He literally just sat down on the floor with her and gave her a few minutes to get comfortable with him while we chatted. It worked! Ginger relaxed. She let him examine her ear. There was no growling or barking. By the end of the visit Ginger was licking his face and wagging her tail! I was so happy everything went well! Dr. L was totally worth the extra fee. Not for one second did I hesitate paying for his services. I bring this up today, because so many of us have mixed feelings about our fees and when it comes to treating kids we often waaaayy under charge for our expertise. It continues the struggle. But…money is not always the sole motivating factor for our patients. If you can calm a frightened child, deliver treatment and make them feel better that is a GIFT! If you educate and support parents when their child is sick and give them hope, you're an inspiration! Not everyone can do what you do! Yet, undercharging or over discounting is a huge pitfall in pediatrics. How can we build a thriving family practice treating kids if we make even less money for our pediatric office visits? I get it though and I used to undercharge, too. We get close to our patients and it makes us nervous when they complain they're broke or that our services are too pricey. We have a hard time saying no when asked for discounts. In general most of us have a hard time asking for our full fees because we have big hearts and we want to help everyone! There are may reasons why we do this (including our own money baggage), but underlying them is often a fear that we'll lose our patients because they'll go to someone cheaper. And it may be partly true that you will lose patients who go to someone cheaper… if their only motivation is price. Let me ask you… do you want your clinic to be filled with price shoppers? The kind that don't value the amazing healer that you are? That don't value the gift you have to work with kids? Now, let me ask you this... When the tables are turned would you ever demand a lower price from your doctor? Would you ever ask your vet for a discount? What about your dentist? Or your hair stylist? Or your car mechanic? Would you say to them, "Hey, I really want to come see you, but your prices are just too high. How about you give me a discount?" If their prices were too high and that was your only motivation, you'd just go somewhere else. When you value someone's services and you have trust and confidence in them, you'll figure out how to pay their fees! You make it work! When we constantly undercharge for our services, it doesn't just create struggle in our own businesses. It undervalues our entire industry and keeps us as second class healers. The last resort. But we are NOT second class healers! We have a powerful medicine! When I think about all the amazing things our medicine can do it seems totally ridiculous! We can help babies and kids with SO many problems in a safe, effective and natural way, like:
- Acid reflux
- Asthma and Allergies
- Autism and ADHD
- Ear infections
- Reducing or eliminating the use of medication with it's harmful side effects
- Avoiding unnecessary antibiotics
- Healing chronic conditions when Western medicine can't
- Reduce the number of hospital visits (think asthma patients!)
- Help kids sleep and reduce anxiety
- And on and on...
It's time to put our fees in perspective with what we have to offer! You are worth your full value! When you say "no" to a patient that doesn't fully value your services, you're saying "yes" to all that do! Adjusting your mindset is the key to feeling confident about your fees and attracting patients that have no problem paying them. That's doesn't mean you can't give a discount when it feels right, but you won't be doing it out of fear.