Apologetic pricing – looking back, this was my pricing strategy

Apologetic pricing – a pricing strategy whereby your price reflects your thinking: “Dear Customer, I’m sorry that I need to charge you for buying my offer”. There’s an embedded “apology discount” factored into your prices.

Does this strategy sound familiar to you?

For most people feeling unsure about your prices is normal, but some people can take those negative feelings to an entirely new level. As you’re about to find out that doesn’t mean all is lost. This episode’s guest shared how she felt guilty about charging clients for what she offered and not only did it impact her pricing, but her communication and everything she did in her business. Ultimately it also had an impact on the bottom line.

I can tell you over and over that you don’t need to feel bad about charging customers. Or that you should value yourself and your offer. But the more people you hear that from the more it will start to sink into you psyche. Let’s dig into and understand one woman’s journey and how she’s overcome the urge to use apologetic pricing strategies.

In This Episode

Welcome to another exciting episode of “Live with The Pricing Lady,” where we dive into the world of strategic pricing and business growth. This week I was joined by the wonderful Mandy Bronsil (founder of B-inspired), who offers insights and inspiration from her own personal experience.

In this engaging conversation, we discuss Mandy’s entrepreneurial and pricing journeys. Including the rapid transition from B2B to B2C brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Mandy shares her experiences, challenges, and triumphs in pricing her services and how early on she employed an apologetic pricing strategy.

We touch on essential pricing concepts like setting boundaries, building a money mindset, and finding the right pricing strategy for your business. Mandy also highlights the importance of believing in your own value and the value you bring to your clients.

Her journey is a testament to the power of learning, adapting, and staying connected with clients to refine & grow your pricing strategy. If you’re an entrepreneur looking to enhance your pricing strategies and business growth, this episode is a must-listen. Join us for another enlightening episode of “Live with the Pricing Lady”!

Podcast Episode Highlights

  • 0:00 Intro
  • 1:17 Meet Mandy
  • 4:56 Why & how she started her business
  • 7:38 The first time pricing her offer
  • 9:50 Needing to shift the business
  • 12:55 Overcoming setbacks and challenges
  • 15:45 The importance of boundaries
  • 21:56 Today’s takeaway & wrap up

Favorite Quotes

“I did the market research, I did my surveys, I asked people where do you see the price? But I also did a lo of work on my on mindset around pricing” Mandy

“People think if somebody tells them a number, then they’ll feel more confident about their price. And some of the gurus will say, okay, everybody who has a course should price it for 999,. Like it’s a law. But it’s not fit for every business, or customer. To feel more confident you have to understand why that price makes sense for your business and for your customers, it’s that, understanding of how the price fits your strategy that helps you to feel that confidence.” Janene

“Pricing was like a necessary evil. I’ve got to put a price on it. But I love to do what I do and I’ve just got to put a price on it. And feels like you’ve got to put a price tag on your own value. My pricing journey has been coming to terms with that and getting comfortable with it.” Mandy

*Mindset is a big part of starting your own business and pricing as well.” Mandy

“if we want to attract our ideal clients, we need to communicate with them in a way that comes naturally to us, because if we’re doing it any differently, we’re going to attract the wrong kind of people., ones who don’t really want to work with us.” Mandy

“We overestimate how often we need to make it personal. We can personalize everything, but it’s not necessary. The added value that we’re going to give, because this line says it this way, rather than that way, at the end of the day if they’re going to work with you, it’s probably because of who you are, because of what you know, because of how, etc… I thought I had to make it all personal. It isn’t true.” Mandy

Episode Links

Reach out to Mandy:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mandybronsil/
Website: b-inspired.ch

Other resources on topics from this episode

Curious how to start improving your pricing mindset? Check out my course.
Podcast Episode: Embracing a Profit Mindset with Jen Gutfriend
On-Demand Webinar: Getting to a Fair Price

Want to learn how to set your prices? Join The Fair Price Formula group program and learn how to set prices for your business with more confidence.

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Episode Transcript

Janene: Hello everyone. Welcome to Live with the Pricing Lady. I am Janene, your hostess. This show is all about helping you build a stronger, more profitable business because you understand the tactics and strategies of pricing and how to use them to build and grow your business. Welcome everyone. And welcome to today’s guest, Mandy Bronsil.

Hi, Mandy. 

Mandy: Hi, Janene. Very nice to be here. 

Janene: I’m so excited to have you here. First of all, why don’t you share with us, where are you calling in from today? 

Mandy: I’m based, in a very small village called Vicques, which is in between Geneva and Lausanne in the French part of Switzerland. 

Janene: Excellent. Mandy, what would you describe as your superpower? 

Mandy: My superpower would be that I feel like people’s energy is sort of contagious. When I start to speak to someone, I very quickly understand this is what they transmit.
This is how they show their passion. And this is what they should be leveraging in order to move forward. 

Janene: I love that. That’s a great skill to have or superpower to have. Yeah, very insightful. What’s one interesting thing you’d like to share with us that most people don’t know about you?

Mandy: One of the things that tends to surprise people is that I. I am still, but I definitely was cripplingly shy. Very, very shy person. I think today I’d come across as quite an extroverted person and I do, I talk a lot and I enjoy speaking to people, but it’s still hard to get over that shyness, so to speak.

So, yeah. 

Janene: Yeah, I think, because I also, in certain circumstances, I can be extremely shy myself, and it is, it does take a lot of work when you’re, when that’s not your natural way of being when being, let’s say more extroverted isn’t your natural way of being. It requires a lot of energy. Yeah. 

Meet Mandy

Mandy: It’s rewarding because you create great connections thanks to it.
But yeah, 

Janene: yeah, yeah, well, and I’ll share one other thing if you don’t mind. We both found out just shortly before this call that we both have a passion for board gaming. 

Mandy: Yes, definitely. That was so cool. 

Janene: We’ll have to meet somewhere between Basel and Geneva to have a board gaming day. How’s that sound?

Mandy: 
Absolutely. Yeah, whenever you want. 

Janene: Okay. Mandy, why don’t you share with us what your business offers and the value that your clients or customers can get from working with you or using your product? 

Mandy: Yeah. I started my own business in 2019, just before COVID. And I came out of a period of recruitment actually.

 Recruitment, headhunting. I really wanted to focus on. Career strategy, supporting people with how do they position themselves in their career develop professionally. And I did do that except things of course, didn’t go quite according to plan in part, thanks to COVID and in part, that’s just starting a business.

But I still provide career roadmap services. I do a lot of facilitation for workshops, team communications, and currently I’m creating a mastermind groups so that small business owners can get together. Support each other through the highs and lows of working as an entrepreneur and hold each other accountable and just sort of get out of the one way of thinking, but to leverage the, the cognitive diversity, I would say.

That is also a really big part of the value in it. 

Janene: Okay. I love it. Lots. There’s a lot in there. How exciting. Why don’t we dig a little bit then into the pricing journey that you’ve had? What inspired you to really start your business? And what were your initial thoughts about pricing when you began?

Why & how she started her business

Mandy: Yeah. I was inspired by, I think like many entrepreneurs really wanting to help people in the way that I can add value. And I think this is really a big driver. What I wanted to do was just to be able to support them through the different, the different journeys they were going through. And I think this is quite relatable as well, that pricing was like a necessary evil.

You know, oh, I’ve got to put a price on it, but I love to do what I do and I’ve just got to put a price on it. And it’s like, you’ve got to put a price tag or on your own value. So I think my pricing journey specifically has been coming to terms with that and getting comfortable with it. And also getting comfortable with the fact that there is no right and wrong price.

It has to feel right for you. It has to make sense. I mean, people have got to be ready to to buy that and see the value in it. But at the end of the day, there is no right and wrong. So that’s really been my journey within within my business pricing wise. 

Janene: Yeah. I think that a lot of people would probably agree with you that at the beginning, and they may even feel so now, but that pricing was like a necessary evil or something that they, they had to do, but they didn’t really, it wasn’t something they enjoyed for sure.

Mandy: Yeah. And it’s a bit double because you want to make money as an entrepreneur and you have to actually, but you also want to, it’s part of the, the feeling that you’re growing, but at the same time, it’s, it’s hard to communicate it because you’re doing what you love. So how can you charge for doing something that comes easily and naturally to you?

I think that there’s this natural. Push push and pull effect. 

Janene: And what, what have you been able to do to sort of overcome that? 
Mandy: Yeah, I worked a lot on my money mindset. I think that was really one of the things, – I did the market research, I did my surveys. and I asked people, where do you see that?

I did all of that, but I really did a lot of work on my own mindset around it. So sort of. First of all, becoming comfortable with making an offer, asking for a certain amount, saying the numbers and just feeling, creating a better relationship with money because it’s not just about what do you earn, but it’s also about how am I reinvesting?

How are the others growing as a result of what you’re receiving, of what you’re giving them? And so it’s sort of this whole holistic approach, which I’m now able to see. And I wasn’t very clear on before. . Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. 

Janene: I like that. Yeah. Money mindset is a big part. Actually, let me say mindset in general is a big part of starting your own business, but certainly a pricing also.

Yeah. Yeah. Very true. So many entrepreneurs struggle with setting the right price for their products and services. How did you go about determining your prices initially? 

The first time pricing her offer

Mandy: I think initially I probably put a price, that was almost like what felt now looking back like apologetic pricing. Like, I’m sorry, I have to charge you.

And so probably like many entrepreneurs, I started out just really saying, Sorry, I have to charge you this. So, you know, and then at some point I realized I was undercharging and the risk of undercharging is that you’re perceived as that can’t possibly be good value for money. So I really had to work on that part to sort of understand where is the real value.

I always kept in contact with the people I’ve worked with and I’ve always asked for feedback. I’ve always been very transparent, especially when I started something new. I’m at the start of this journey. I need feedback. I’m going to give you the best that I can give, but I also want to know what was worth it and what wasn’t so that I could make that separation for myself of where should I be putting my energy and how should I be communicating?

That’s really how I went about setting it. Market research was a part of it, but it was mostly what helped me was. Keeping in touch with my clients and just really listening to their feedback. Yeah. 

Janene: Yeah. Thank you for sharing that. That’s so important, right? So the, I always joke with people that the answer to almost every pricing question starts with, it depends on who you’re targeting because so many of the answers to the questions that people ask can be found when they do understand that. So yeah, I think that’s a, that’s a great point. And I, I love your apologetic pricing. That’s probably a pricing strategy that isn’t officially on the books, but it’s one that a lot of people use.

Mandy: It felt like that. It really did. You know, I really Felt bad. I thought, well, I would do it for free, but, but then that’s not sustainable. So it would Yeah, of course. Yeah. Whereas now I’ve managed to turn that around, but yeah.

Needing to shift the business

Janene: So now one of the things that you mentioned was that you started in 2019, and then of course we had COVID hit in 2020.

What happened? I’m guessing that based on what you said you did early on, that you had to shift things in your business. What was that and how did that impact your pricing? 

Mandy: For me, the big, big shift and consequently huge pricing impact was that I started out working more B2B. My idea was to work with companies and to help them keep their top talent or their people in general, because there’s a big problem with retention. They pay a lot of money to hire people. And then finally that person leaves and they don’t know what happened. Whereas if they would have, you know, looked a bit closer, stayed in touch. There I could really support them with that sort of keeping their talent, but that’s B2B.

Which is what I’ve been doing. throughout my career. And then when COVID hit, I was not a priority anymore. Everyone was just, you know, in total urgency, getting everyone to be able to work from home. And so all the mandates that I, all the mandates, I mean, I was at the beginning of my journey.

The mandates that I had started to gather and get in the pipeline sort of disappeared or became unsure for the future. And basically I had this really huge. No man’s land in front of me. So then what I did at that point was I started to think first of all, how do I get online as well? And second of all, what are the questions I keep getting asked?

And all the time people were asking me about, you know, how do I position myself in my career? How do I know? What I want to do, you know, one thing is wanting to leave your job, but what do you do instead? And how do you evaluate the risk of, you know, leaving security behind? So I poured all of this into the form of an online course that leads people from thinking of, I don’t want to be doing this forever, but what do I want?

To the point of, okay, now I know what I want. How am I going to go about it? How am I going to put, get my, how am I going to get my ducks in a row in order to get that? So that was the big shift that happened during COVID. And then bit, so then I got into the B2C part and bit by bit, things started balancing out.

Now I work again a lot with companies as well. I do a lot of facilitation too, but I’ve kept the B2C side because I do feel that that’s where we can have the most impact. 

Janene: So what, what did you find to be the biggest difference between pricing B2B and pricing B2C? 

Mandy: I mean, the amount that you can charge.

And I went from, you know, like pretty comfortable numbers to. I need a lot of volume. Pricing wise, that was the huge shift to go from, you just need a few clients a month to, okay, you need volume now. Right.

Janene: Makes sense. When it comes to pricing setbacks or challenges. Have you faced any and what lessons did you learn from those? 

Overcoming setbacks and challenges

Mandy: Yeah. I think for me, it’s been a bit of a mystery. I feel like I’ve tried different pricing strategies. I’ve tried the low entry point and then typically the funnel to get people moving into the funnel. I’ve tried just giving one offering and sticking to that. Which was relatively high priced, but. Good, good value for money. But it was, it was not something like you had to make an investment in yourself.

I feel like all of them (the pricing strategies) have worked and not worked at times. For me, the conclusion that I came to that really makes the difference is, is the way I communicate it and the energy, the conviction that I have. If I’m sort of in this apologetic mindset, pricing attitude, I’m not buyable, I wouldn’t buy from myself.

People feel this. And when I’m really convinced about something and I feel like, right, this makes sense, even if it’s higher priced, people see that. And so the big difference and the learning for me has been. It’s how you present it and it’s how much you believe in it. You’re not going to convince anyone of anything.

You have to know that what you’re putting out there is value. Believe in your service. Believe in your product. You believe that you can help the people. The rest will come. 

Janene: Mm hmm. Yeah, that’s a really, that’s a great point. So many people, when they come to me, they’re asking, you know, how do I feel confident about this?

And I think sometimes they think if somebody tells them a number, then they’ll feel more confident. And this is where I struggle because some of the gurus out there say, okay, everybody who has a course should price it for 9. 99, but that’s not fit for everybody. It’s not fit for every customer. You know, There’s more to it than that.
And being able to understand why that price makes sense for your business and for your customers, it’s that, that combination of things that really helps you to feel that confidence. 

Mandy: Yeah. And for you, I always say that if you’re in, in doubt, how would you want to be treated? How would you want to be sold to?

You know, there’s always the question as well that I hear of. Do you give your price up front or not? What kind of a person are you? Do you want to know straight away or do you first want to hear about the benefits? And then later, you know, like, do you want to be seduced first? And everyone’s a little bit different.

So I think that if we want to attract our ideal clients, we need to communicate to them in a way that comes naturally to us, because if we’re doing it in a different way, we’re going to attract the wrong kind of people that we’re not really going to be wanting to work with. So again, you know, communicate it or not, but what works for, for you, what would you want to see?

And just go back to that when, when in doubt. 

The importance of boundaries

Janene: I think that’s a, that’s a wonderful point. Another thing that you shared with me. When we, so for those of you who don’t know this already often have a pre call with people during the pre call was the importance for you of setting up boundaries.

Like you shifted into doing a lot of freelancing work and you learned some things through pricing in that context. Can you share with us more about that as well? 
Mandy: Yes. So I think that indeed, as you say, I, I actually still, I’m part of a lot of associations. I do a lot of things for free. But at some point that was taking up a really, a lot of time.

And so I just had to reevaluate why am I doing the things I’m doing and where should I be putting my focus? Because at the end of the day, I love all of the stuff I do. I love the associations I’m part of, but to be realistic about how much energy and time do I put into them and then balance things out a little bit.

And also with, you know, the business side of things, I found that I was putting a lot of energy into an association and I was neglecting maybe my sales part. Which, that doesn’t really make sense. So just to, to put boundaries in place in that sense, even part of them were just for myself, you know, my own boundaries, you know, I didn’t, you know, then you’ve got to communicate them, but just to know this is enough.

It does not make sense to go further into this part. I need to now focus on the other side. But things are in balance and that I also feel if you only give, you also get frustrated. Right. And then you think, well, you know, this is, this is not fair. Yeah, that’s, that’s not the right, again, energy or attitude to have.

Janene: Right. Right. That’s very tru

Mandy: I learned that through my own experience because I was 

Janene: like… Yeah, yeah. I mean, the boundaries are so important in so many different aspects. And when you don’t have them, you don’t always realize it until… Until it’s, I won’t say too late until it’s getting to the point where it’s almost too late.

Mandy: I don’t know if you find this as well, but then there’s also the over delivering. And, and I think it’s really important to be clear on what are people buying from you? Why are they working with you rather than someone else? And focus on that because you, you can do all the things, but you can’t do all the things.

Great. But why did they choose to work with you? And that has to be top quality. 

Janene: Yeah. And that’s, I mean, that’s a big part of, of your pricing as well, because again, it then relates to the value that people get and what they expect based on how you presented it to them in a sense, right? So it’s all, it’s all connected.

I love this. Talk about it forever. 

Mandy: It’s fascinating. It is. It’s a big journey. 

Janene: Are there any pricing related tools or resources that you’ve found particularly helpful in your own journey? I don’t know if they’d be Or money mindset related, because you said 

Mandy: Yeah, I don’t know if pricing as such, but I have so I’ve hosted my, my online course on a platform. And I find that automating things helps me a lot because I don’t need to manually make offers the whole time. I just send people a link and then they are led through that part. So I don’t need to constantly be sending out information, sending out quotes, which I realized that. When I was doing it more, I was procrastinating on, cause you know, I’d be fiddling around with, well, maybe I can squeeze in a discount there, or even just, where do I put what line?

What do I call pricing? An investment? Do you call it the price? Etc… I don’t know. And every time. This was taking me time. So the fact that I can break my head over this once, and then I just put it online and I send out the link and then I don’t need to look at it anymore. I don’t need to think about it because I’ll overthink it.
That has helped me a lot to take care of them. To make it easier. 

Janene: . I mean, there’s something to be said for making it. It’s the last, the last episode I released was about going from time based prices to package pricing. And one of the benefits of that is not creating bespoke offers for every, as we say in, in the U S Tom, Dick and Harry, who walks through the door, every guy or gal who walks in.
Right. Because it can take a lot of effort and energy to do those things. So it’s good to have those set up now, of course you’ll, from time to time, you’ll have clients who come in and ask for something different than you’ve offered before, then it makes sense to spend the energy, but for most of it, you want to actually be able to get that offer out the door within a day or two at the, at the most so that you can continue the conversation with them.

Right. So that’s, yeah, working effectively and efficiently is really great. 

Mandy: And I also think that we underestimate or overestimate how often we need to make it personal. Because we can personalize everything, but it’s not necessary. The added value that we’re going to give, because this line says it this way, rather than that way, at the end of the day, they, if they’re going to work with you, it’s probably because of who you are, because of what you know, because of how, what they don’t care about the details.

And so I think that. So I really thought like I have to make it much more personal than it actually is. Like the information I’m giving is already enough in most of the cases. 
Janene: Right. One of the things that I’ve done to like personalize 
things sometimes is when I send the offer, I send it with a little loom video.

Oh, and I find that that actually, because then it creates the little gift and gift. And then when people open their inbox, they see your smiley face, well, hopefully smiley face in the gift. And that actually people really enjoy. I use those in many different contexts, but they really enjoy getting them.

And it’s hard to resist clicking on it. 

Mandy: That’s a really good tip. Yeah. I’m going to look that one up. 

Today’s takeaway

Janene: Well, so why don’t we start wrapping this up? For. For entrepreneurs and small businesses who struggle with pricing, what would you say is the biggest takeaway they can take from our discussion today? 

Mandy: I mean, I think there’s a part of courage to play in this, like just pick a price, put it out there and test, see what happens.

Stay in touch with your clients, ask them what they think about it and don’t be scared to test things out. And I find that if you tell people. I’m trying this out. I want to hear what you think about it. Even if you think it’s totally off, tell me. You get closer and closer and eventually you get it right.

And you don’t really know what happened along the way, but yeah. Yeah. 

Janene: Yeah. Yeah. That’s a great point. That’s a great point. I love that. Just, I always call it the Nike strategy. Just do it.

How can, if people would like to find out more about you or connect with you, where can they find you? 

Mandy: I think the best, the best place is, is LinkedIn. I love LinkedIn. It’s a great tool. I love to see what people are up to, what they’re what they’re publishing. And I think it’s a nice way to get in touch.

And I always like to. To have connections and to see who knows who actually is fantastic. 

Janene: It is interesting, isn’t it? All right. So we’ll put that link and all other links to Mandy’s website and whatever in the show notes for you, everybody. My very last question for you, Mandy, is what’s next for you and your business in terms of growth and maybe your pricing strategy?

Wrap up

Mandy: So in terms of growth at the moment, I would really love to develop the mastermind groups because it’s a community that’s growing and it’s really something that I sort of suddenly understood. We need this. There’s nothing quite like it. There’s networking and you know, there’s like but this is really like a community where people hold each other accountable, they grow together.

And so. That’s my focus at the moment. It’s interesting in terms of pricing, because I’m struggling with how to make it sustainable in terms of revenue. Like at the moment, it’s like top heavy in terms of my investment. I’m doing it with a lot of love and a lot of passion and energy. But then if I think pricing wise, like.

The rate I have now is not sustainable. So I will need to have a better strategy on that. But for that, I’m doing exactly what I said. I’m just staying in touch with people and understanding where is the value and how much would I be able to put it up to realistic. Yeah. Right. 

Janene: Excellent. I look forward to hearing more about those mastermind groups.
And I’m sure if we go to your webpage or connect with you on LinkedIn, we’ll see and hear more about that. Definitely. Mandy, thank you so much for joining us today. I really appreciate you being here and sharing your story with us. 

Mandy: Thank you, Janene. It’s been a pleasure. Thank you for the questions and for the welcome.

Janene: You’re very welcome. Have a great day, everyone. And as always, enjoy pricing.
 

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