How to communicate tutor pricing to your online tutoring clients effectively?
Whether it’s about launching the prices of your new tutoring venture or communicating a price hike to existing clientele, the ‘money talk’ is always tricky!
But for newbie tutors and established businesses alike, the two most important principles to adhere to while talking about their prices stay the same:
Your pricing information should be:
1) Public and easily accessible
That’s because a major portion of your clients use pricing as a deciding factor before choosing your services – and withholding this crucial piece of information, or not making it readily available at the right place can make the decision making process tougher for them – which leads to churn!
2) Come directly from the source – you!
So that you can control the narrative and have the chance to explain why you are charging what you are charging. This ensures that instead of an external perspective on a Craiglist review, or by an ex-client – they get the complete story (plus the value you are offering for that price) directly from you.
Then how do you make sure you are not leaving money on the table with the wrong communication strategies?
That is exactly what this blog is about. We are going to talk about:
- How to effectively communicate your tutor pricing?
- Channels to communicate tutoring rates to customers
- How to convey a price increase to your existing customers?
- Bonus: How to deal with a negative response on your pricing?
Side note: Before you move on to communication strategies, make sure you are charging what’s right for business. We strongly recommend that if you haven’t already, go check out the previous blog in this series that talks about – How much to charge for your online tutoring services: A definitive guide to tutor pricing. Or if you are interested, we can directly send it to your inbox. Just leave your email address here:
How much to charge for your online tutoring services: A definitive guide to tutor pricing
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How to effectively communicate your tutor pricing?
There are a few things you should keep in mind to communicate your tutoring charges effectively to your customers and prospects.
1. Understand how your clients perceive value
Client psyche can be a tough nut to crack, but an overall analysis is a good place to start in order to understand what really matters to parents and students while choosing a tutor.
For your customers, value consists of multiple components:
Sometimes, there might be a single answer to how your clients perceive the ‘value’ that they get with your tutoring services like an improvement in results. However, different clients may have their own perceptions of the value they wish to receive from tutoring.
Some people look out for customer testimonials to verify your claims, and some might give importance to your qualifications.
What you need to do is understand the pain points of your clients and clearly convey how you can help them solve their unique pain point.
A simple way to do this is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think about the benefits they get with your tutoring service. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself:
- What do I offer to my customers?
- What is the purpose of my tutoring?
- What is my customer’s goal?
- How are my tutoring services better than my competitors?
Honest answers to these questions will help you identify what value you’re offering to your customers. Then, you just have to find a way to convey it to your customers when you talk about pricing!
2. Communicate prices at the right time
Generally, prospective clients would look out for your tutoring rates at two points:
- Right in the beginning, when they’re trying to see if your services fall in their budget; and
- Towards the end, when they’re trying to make a decision about the purchase
Make sure your pricing information is available to clients at all times and especially highlighted during these two crucial stages in the buyer’s journey.
You can consider having a clear pricing page for the first group, and an additional document with all the details about your charges, cancellation policy, etc. for the second one.
Additionally, you can choose how much information you wish to reveal to your customers publicly. A good way is to mention the details of your standard pricing plans across all the channels of communication.
For any special offerings, like a large group of students wishing to get tutored by you, or someone who can refer you to a number of relevant clients, put up a note to ‘request group prices’ separately so that you can design pricing that fits their needs the best. Give clear instructions on who to reach out to and how.
3. Explain, don’t sell
Don’t think about blindly converting any lead who comes to you. Focus on winning their trust instead. Explain the value your services will deliver to them and how you can help them reach their goals.
Help your prospective clients make the right decision instead of trying to convert each of them into a customer. Someone who’s looking for a tutor who charges about $15 an hour would definitely be a misfit if your typical rate is $40 an hour! That’s why it is important to identify your target audience, popularly known as ‘niche’. The right client would be looking for the benefits you offer, and might convert relatively easily. Once you gain their confidence, you can upsell them later.
Understand what they need and tell them how you can help them with it. For instance, you allow students to write mock tests through an online platform similar to the actual one to boost their exam preparations. Or your class reminders ensure that a student doesn’t miss the class. Explain clearly. Utilize client testimonials and case studies to support your claim with solid data.
4. Be confident
You know what you’re worth! And that is the reason why you charge what you charge. So be confident about your tutoring rates. Don’t be arrogant with clients, but maintain your confidence.
When clients say that your prices are too high, don’t lose heart, and don’t react either. Maintain composure. If you readily agree and offer discounts, your customers might get the wrong impression about the quality of your services.
Having confidence in your tutoring prices will mean that you don’t get stuck in such situations. Instead, you hold your ground, and reinforce the value that you offer.
5. Have answers to FAQs ready
When you discuss money, be ready for comparisons. People might say “XYZ tutor is charging less”. At such a point, you need to differentiate the value you offer as compared to your competitors.
Utilize the results from your existing clients. Better grades, good exam scores, improved knowledge, or whichever best suits the needs of the concerned customer. Focus on your USP – be it practical teaching methods, extraordinary material, excellent delivery skills, or anything that has always helped your students.
Don’t forget to keep your answers ready for the frequently asked questions that your clients might ask. These questions might vary a lot depending on your tutoring niche. However, some common questions might be:
- What are the payment options?
- Please elaborate on your refund policy.
- What kind of tutoring support can we expect?
- What is your cancellation policy?
6. Handle negotiations well
Pricing conversations are very likely to involve negotiations. Nobody likes to pay more. And your customers will try to bring down the charges according to their needs and (sometimes) wants.
Don’t give in to customer demands immediately. Take time and listen to their concerns. Repeat your value propositions and how it is for their benefit. Don’t talk in terms of money but in terms of the value.
In the previous blog of this series, we suggested you consider adding a discount buffer to your tutoring rates. That will help you a lot during price negotiations. If your customer seriously has budget issues, you can offer a small discount that’ll help them leverage your tutoring. However, know your limits and do not undersell yourself to acquire the customer.
Another important thing is to maintain your composure in such cases. Buying is an emotional process for your customers, and hence they might have a lot of concerns. But you should not lose your cool, and maintain the right tone.
Channels to communicate tutoring rates to customers
Where can your customers find out information about your pricing? And where would you want them to?
Your customers – prospective as well as existing – would be willing to have access to the details of your tutoring charges. You have control over how they get this information. All you need to do is optimize all such sources and help your clients make their decision.
For online tutors, the interactions will rarely be face-to-face. And most of the research on your client’s part will happen digitally. Your pricing page is the right place to tell your customers what value you offer. Answer the question of “What’s in it for me?” for your customers.
Here are three major sources of pricing information for customers for your online tutoring business.
1. Pricing page
Your tutoring rates cannot (and should not) be the first thing that people see on your website. But you should give your customers the details of your pricing plans on your website. The pricing page, as the name suggests, is the place where you can list down the particulars of your charges and plans.
Your pricing page should be uncluttered and clearly answer the question of ‘how much will your tutoring cost?’. Don’t include any unnecessary design elements. Keep the design simple, instead.
Just give them the information they need to make a pricing decision:
- What your tutoring offers
- What it costs
- What benefits are included in each plan
Any other details that you might want to include in your pricing page should come after you convey the above information.
There are some elements which your pricing page should necessarily have:
- Clearly visible page: The link to your pricing page should be clearly visible on your website home page, so that customers can easily access it when they feel the need to.
- Concise copy: The language on your page should clearly convey your values to your customers. It should have a strong headline and eye-catching copy. Avoid writing in a manner that causes confusion. In case of multiple pricing plans, clearly differentiate the values each of them will offer to the customer.
- Compelling CTA: The CTA will ensure that your prospect converts into a customer. The CTA button should have a color distinct from the rest of the page. Also, don’t forget to create a relevant and killer copy.
- Best choice: Help your clients choose the best pricing plan. You can do this in two ways. One, add relevant titles to your plans to build a connection with your audience. Also, add the goals they’d be able to reach with each pricing. Two, highlight the plan you wish to recommend to your prospects so that it catches your customers’ attention.
- Social proof: This element is important because it will reassure your customers’ decision to buy your tutoring services. You can add social proof in the form of your students’ academic numbers, client case studies, and customer testimonials.
- FAQs: Having a section of frequently asked questions on your pricing page will help you answer client queries before they ask you. This way you can also leverage the power of SEO for your website. Remember that you don’t have to sell your services through these questions, only provide direct answers.
2. Booking portal
Apart from your well-articulated pricing page, customers can land on your booking page/ portal for information. This makes it necessary to mention all the pricing details here as well, in the right manner to avoid confusion. Don’t ignore this source!
A good tutor scheduling software, like Appointy, can let you do this easily. It allows you to clearly mention your various pricing levels to your tutoring clients. With the right tool, you can even add, remove, or update the prices in a matter of a few clicks!
3. Marketing material
Your prospective customers will go through your brochure, social media handles, and everything they can find to get all the details about your tutoring services. Therefore it is important to clearly display your pricing in your marketing collateral.
Maintain transparency and avoid any click baits or false information. If you do not have enough space, redirect customers to your pricing page instead of giving them incomplete information.
Additionally, your existing clients can also be a source of information to your potential customers. Therefore it is important that you convey the pricing details correctly to your customers. And they should also be aware of where this information is available clearly.
All the sources of pricing information for your customers should facilitate the process of decision making. Help them make the best choice. Even if you somehow get them to buy your tutoring services, they’ll leave it after a while if they don’t want what you offer.
The key is to explain your pricing and the corresponding value they get, instead of selling your services.
How to convey a price increase to your existing customers?
Raising your tutoring rates is necessary. Not just for monetary reasons, but to value yourself right!
You help people build their careers, and achieve their goals. Tutoring charges below your value over long periods of time might send the wrong message to your customers. Some might even doubt the quality of your services.
This is something you obviously wouldn’t want!
Therefore optimizing your prices over time is a significant process for your tutoring business. But that’s not it. Communication of this price hike to your customers is important. It can be scary – what if you lose the customer over this conversation?
Don’t worry! We have you covered.
Here are a few things you need to keep in mind before you break this news to your clients.
1. Announce prices directly to customers
Your loyal customers have been by your side and trusted in your knowledge and skills. They shouldn’t suddenly find that you’ve increased your tutoring rates.
The best thing to do is call your customers and tell them clearly that you’re going to increase your prices. Let them know that they’re important to you.
Give them a chance to ask questions, and prepare yourself with the relevant answers. Let them get ready financially, plan things out, and make a conscious decision.
You should be ready to answer any questions that they may have. You can email them stating the details of your updated pricing before or after the call. Having a document to refer to all the details will make your job easier.
Show the price increase on your website with old and new prices after you inform your customers. Maintaining clarity will help people make a choice. You won’t force them, they’ll make an informed decision.
2. Justify your prices
While this can be a difficult conversation, justifying your tutoring charges will keep your customers free of doubts. Your loyal customers believe in your tutoring skills, you just need to stress that.
Remind your clients that higher prices will ensure your high-quality services. Highlight the value that your customers get through your tutoring services.
Don’t state the reason for your price increase in terms of increased costs. While we understand that it happens, it is not what your customers are interested in. How increased prices mean higher benefits is what they’d want to hear. For example, upgraded study material, any new certifications, better tools for online education, which will in turn lead to better quality tutoring sessions.
3. Focus on your value propositions
Your customers may still find it difficult to swallow the pill of higher tutoring rates. The key to deal with it is to reinforce your fundamental value propositions. Remind your customers why they chose your tutoring service.
Your USP, your excellent results, and more importantly, how their child enjoys your tutoring and understands it. You can take help from the compliments they gave you in the past to establish how you’ve helped them achieve their goals.
Help them recall why you’re better than your competitors. Highlight the added value and benefits that complement the price increase (as discussed in the previous point).
4. Give customers time
Give enough time to your customers to make their decision. This will ensure that they don’t make any emotionally influenced decisions. Instead, it will help them plan their finances in the months (or years) to come. There can be multiple ways to do this.
- Tempt your customers with a limited-time offer: Offer bundles of your tutoring services at current prices for a time limit. This will give your clients the time to think and make the best-suited decision.
- Lock-in prices for your long-term customers: You can tutor them (or their children) at your existing rates for an extended period. Give them the time they require to prepare themselves to pay you higher. You can raise the tutoring charges for your new customers.
5. Update your marketing materials
Your marketing materials – online and offline – are a valuable resource for your customers to refer to your pricing details. Update your tutoring charges on all your marketing collateral and leave no room for errors or miscommunication. Don’t forget to update your pricing page as well.
If you own a one-man tutoring business, this should be enough. However, if you have a whole team of tutors, and other departments such as marketing and sales, ensure that each and every team member is thorough with the new pricing. They should be well informed about the new strategy so that they don’t miscommunicate the tutoring charges to your clients. That should be avoided for two reasons: 1) you might lose valuable revenue; and 2) it will create a bad impression of your tutoring business on your client.
Bonus: How to deal with a negative response on your pricing?
“Your tutoring rates are too high!”
“I can’t afford your tutoring services right now.”
“This is much more than I expected.”
You may get such responses to your pricing, and it can be difficult to deal with it. But don’t react immediately. Don’t think that you’ve lost this client, and don’t take it personally either.
In some cases, the actual reason for a pricing complaint on your customer’s part may not even be about pricing. The best way to deal with it is to talk!
- Ask and let them ask you: Clarify the client’s needs and inquire about what exactly they’re looking for. If they have a misunderstanding, clear it out. Let them ask you everything they want to as well.
- Talk about the value they get: Focus on the benefits they (or their child) gets with your tutoring. Share your results, qualifications, expertise, experience, or anything else that your customer specifically feels is important for them. Give them social proofs – testimonials, case studies, etc, to support your claims.
- Maintain the right tone: Don’t be defensive about your pricing. Maintain an explanatory tone throughout the conversation. Try to find out what their concerns are about your tutoring services, and what they’re exactly looking for.
In most cases, you will be able to talk it out. But when you’re not able to, ask yourself if they’re your target customer.
You would never want to let go of a customer. But you want the best for your customer and your tutoring business. You don’t want them to get into an awkward or stressful situation. Neither can you afford to negotiate and offer discounts beyond a certain point.
At such a point, it is okay to part ways with a warm message that they’re welcome to you when possible.
Effective communication of your tutor pricing is something that you need to work on your own. Which strategies work for you and which don’t are quite specific to your online tutoring business and the various factors that influence it.
While you put your efforts into this process personally, apart from your tutoring and preparation, you might not have enough time to invest in other administrative tasks. At this point, it is best for you to put your tutoring business on autopilot!
Appointy’s tutor scheduling software can help you do this. It provides you with all the necessary technological infrastructure for online tutoring:
- Video conferencing platform (Zoom)
- Tutor scheduling platform
- Client database system
- Email service
- Payment processing system (Square, Stripe, PayPal)
- Business analytics and reporting
And there’s a lot more it offers!
Don’t take our word for it! Believe in the 5100+ tutors and learning centers who love our software!
We at Appointy, help business owners grow and run their businesses with our online scheduling software. This blog was a part of our ‘Manage your Business’ category, where we provide expert tips, resources, or simply talk about the challenges that small and medium business face every day.
If you have any thoughts on this blog, or would like to chat about your business struggles and achievements, let us know in the comments below.
We love a good talk!