How to Scare Bad Client Leads With Your Pricing

Photo by Bekir Dönmez on Unsplash

In forums and Facebook groups, online business owners really want to know whether they should display their pricing. There’s quite a debate in fact. Typically, business owners are afraid to list prices for things like services or packaged services that could be variable based on the project, the client, or how paranoid the business owner is about the competition.

Now of course, for products like courses, ebooks, templates or physical products you’re going to list a price. But how about for your consulting? Your coaching? Or your design work? There are pros and cons of course, and many articles go through them. 

I want to make a specific case here that listing pricing will save you time and will help qualify the leads that reach out to you. 

Scary can be good!

You may very well scare away some people who would have inquired about your services. That’s good! If your pricing scares them away, then they were just going to drop out of your qualification process at some time anyway. This way, you don’t spend your time nurturing a lead who was never going to buy anyway.

I’m writing about this now, because I’m working on how to display my marketing services and their pricing. In fact, this post will likely get published before my pricing does. I do stand by posting pricing though, I’m just still working out how I’m going to display them. If you need a bit of proof, you can see my website pricing at Now, for the website building, no one ever pays that exact price, but it gives a site visitor a way to determine if we’re in the same pricing ballpark.

How can pricing qualify a customer lead

Eliminates people looking to spend less

Oh, how many times (before you had a top-notch qualification process of course) have you had an amazing phone call with your soul-mate dream client only to find out an hour in that they’re looking to spend 1/10 of your minimum charge? It’s heartbreaking to both of you. You both just wasted an hour that you could have really used elsewhere, and now you both have to start over. If that lead had seen your pricing, she would have put you on a dream-vendor list for the future, and looked for someone who fits her “now” much better.

Includes leads who can afford you

Outside of the digital world, who doesn’t display pricing? Ultra high-end stores. 

What do you think when you can’t find a price? If you must ask for the price, it’s clear you can’t afford it! In fact, there’s a bit of embarrassment about having to ask because of this, and so many folks won’t bother. They’ll just move on. But, smart business owners have budgets and plan their spending. Even ones that can afford higher prices want to have numbers so they can plan.

The opposite is true though – if you don’t display your pricing, you are signalling that you are ultra high-end. If that’s the case, you had better truly deliver exceptional value and have a stellar reputation.

Sets expectations

Displaying pricing on your website sets the expectations of your client leads. You’re setting expectations for quality and level of services. You’re indicating the value of what you’re providing. You’re also setting the expectations around budget. Your lead should be much more comfortable talking about budget in your qualification questions if they have an idea of the value you provide and your pricing ranges.

Displaying your prices builds trust

If you want your audience to see you as honest and above-board, then showing your pricing is the way to go. If you’re hiding your pricing, visitors are going to wonder what else you’re hiding. It’s easier for a lead to be honest and up-front with you if they trust you. You’ll get better information in your qualification process.

Positions you as helpful

Your customers are busy just like you, and if they have to take the extra step of talking with someone just to find a price range, they’ll likely not include you in the short list of suppliers. People wanting pricing assume that if it’s not on your site, they’ll have to sit through a hard-sell sales pitch to get pricing. That would eliminate leads that might be right for you. If you make things easy for them, you position yourself as helpful and considerate, and you train your visitor that the information they want can be found – they don’t have to call.

How to display your pricing

Flat Price 

If you’ve truly productized your services, you can list a flat price. This can be for the whole product, or you can have pricing per project component and let the client pick and choose. This only works if you have a specific, set, delivery for each and every component. You have to be very specific about what is included and what’s not included so that you can answer questions and you won’t let the project scope creep out of bounds.

Minimum Price or Price Range

If you haven’t quite gotten your whole process productized yet, but you generally follow the same process each time you deliver your core product/service, try listing out a minimum or “starting at” price. That way, your client lead can get a ball park figure to work with, even if they can’t get a firm price.

Price out an example project

For those of you that do very custom work, or are still nailing down your processes, it might seem hard to list prices. In this case, I recommend a case study or example project. Give a total price, and some highlights. Talk about the benefits and results rather than the exact features included, since each project will be different. Again, this can give someone a ball park price to use in budgeting or to know if they should continue in your qualification process.


If you’re just starting out, or if you are willing to do one-off work that’s open ended, you can list an hourly rate. Most of the time, I favor a fixed price over hourly. But that’s only when you’ve done the work to really define the project. Some project just resist definition. I’m moving away from hourly client work because it’s not scalable. But for some, you might like the ease of pricing by the hour.

Do you scare prospects with your pricing?

I hope you agree that you should (unless you’re super mega high end) – you’ll save time for both you and your prospects. All this requires some confidence in your pricing. But if you know your prices are profitable for the work you do, you can stand by them, and let your audience know about them. And expect to have more relevant leads coming through your qualification system.

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