There are many that would have us believe that there are standard prices for everything out there. Your little offer should be priced this. Or your group program has to be that. Reality is that the price you charge for what you offer is and should be unique to your business, your customers and the value your offer delivers.
The right prices cannot be the same for everyone (or written in stone) since they depend on many different things. Things which vary from business to business. As my guest in this episode shares with us, feeling confident about what investment you ask people to make, comes in large part from you understanding why that price and not the other price. The more you understand the value and the more you know your customers and the market. And of course the more you know the figures in your business – the more confident you’ll feel about what you charge.
In This Episode
In this episode I sit down with Lynn Bruines. Lynn worked 15+ years with renowned international brands, industry pioneers, top universities, and leading companies worldwide. Born in The Netherlands 🇳🇱, lived around the world, and now based in Switzerland🇨🇭.
Co-founded LB Business Agency, a Swiss agency helping businesses promote growth and boost revenue through bespoke sales & marketing solutions. She also co-founded My Next Levels where they help entrepreneurs ready to grow & scale their coaching, consulting, education, or transformation business to the next level. Being brought up in a family and environment where travel, hospitality and entrepreneurship played an important role, she decided to pursue a career that would combine her love for people, business, and service excellence.
She shares with us her business and pricing journey. And how difficult she found it, getting on top of pricing early on. She talks about what it took for her to shift things, to find the right price and get where she is today.
You’re going to enjoy this conversation. I know I did. Enjoy.
Podcast Episode Highlights
- 0:00 Intro
- 2:46 Getting to Know Lynn
- 4:49 The Value of working with Lynn
- 6:44 How did Lynn start her own Business
- 8:59 Pricing Journey
- 12:31 How to be Aligned with Pricing
- 15:30 Not Written in Stone
- 18:24 Understanding a Thought Process
- 21:00 Wrapping it Up
“When you put yourself in the position of having to defend something that it takes your power away.” Janene
“Mindset and strategy. Those are two things that you need in order to be aligned with the pricing.” Lynn
“I always tell people, until you’re comfortable with what you’re going to say, it’s hard to focus on how you’re gonna say it and deliver it. You have to know what you’re going to say before you can do that. You can’t, yes. Really focus on the delivery if you don’t know what you want to say. It’s hard to focus on the strategy when you don’t feel comfortable about what you’re offering or the price that you’re offering.” Janene
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Welcome to today’s guest, Lynn Bruines.
Lynn: Thank you so much. Thank you for having me here today.
Janene: So happy to have you here with me. This has been a brewing in the background for a while, so I’m really happy that we got back on the books and got you here to do this.
Lynn: Exactly. We’re here now. Very happy to be here, so thanks.
Janene: Excellent. Okay, so for those of you who are watching us live, welcome as well. If you have questions for Lynn or myself, then just pop them in the comments and we’ll try to get to them during the show.
Let’s start off first with a few rapid-fire questions, and the first one is, where are you joining us from today?
Lynn: I’m here in Switzerland so Geneva, to be very specific in the French speaking parts. If you are wondering about my accent or the people listening, it’s actually from the Netherlands originally.
And having lived all around the world, my accent is a bit mixed up with lots of different accents, so to speak. But I’m today based in Geneva, Switzerland, which has become my second home.
Getting to Know Lynn
Janene: Lynn is the CEO and co-founder of LB Business Agency. She’ll tell us more about that in a bit. Lynn, what’s one song or soundtrack that is the music or the theme of your current life?
Lynn: I love music, so it’s a bit of a tough one because I listen a lot to music. This one, I listened to an old playlist again whereby it was about it’s called The Climb from Miley. People will know it, it’s all about having a dream and seeing it and feeling it and being almost there and just one step at a time, getting there and doing the climb so that you get on top of the mountain.
I like that type of symbolic lyrics.
Janene: It sounds very inspirational.
Janene: Cool. What’s one interesting thing that most people don’t know about you?
Lynn: I tend to be an open book, so this is a very tough question. I don’t hide much. I’m quite active on social media as you know, especially on LinkedIn.
Janene: Or something interesting?
Lynn: Well, maybe what people shouldn’t know is that I’m a complete sushi addict, I really love sushi. When I say I love sushi, I could really have it every single day if I could. Which is not very feasible because I think, a variety of food is important. But if I could, I would really have sushi almost every single day. I’m often known as the sushi addict.
Janene: The sushi addict. Excellent. Now we found out what your nickname is. Very good.
What’s ultimately in the way that you work with clients? Feel free to tell us a little bit about what that is. What is the value that your clients get from working with you?
The Value of working with Lynn
Lynn: Today we are really an agency that helps small business owners and entrepreneurs to grow and accelerate their sales. It’s mostly companies that are struggling or challenge with streamlining their marketing and sales and getting more leads and getting more clients.
I think the key value of working with me and with us as an agency, it’s really that we’re fully bespoke. We try to personalize working, we create bespoke offers, we find out what your specific needs are or what you need, what your budget is as well.
And we take all of that into consideration, timeline, etc. We then work with you on a very personal level. I’m a person that loves to connect with people, speak with people, and work closely with them. We like to work with smaller teams and really work on a more individual level.
It’s also something that I’m not afraid to meeting people in person, which sounds weird, maybe but I love that during Covid we have all these online stuff, but at the end of the day, if I can I will meet people face to face. I’m already listing where you’re at and which day I’m gonna go for a trip over there. For me, that’s something that I think is a part of the value.
Sometimes if you part in bigger programs or bigger group or working with agencies that have fixed offers, for example. We try to really adapt it to the person and to keep that relationship close. I think that’s the main value, if you will.
Janene: I agree with you on that. It’s a very important part. It’s not for all businesses. Some businesses will want something different or deliver their value in a different way. For me, that personal connection is also important.
How did Lynn Start Her Own Business?
Janene: Excellent. Thank you for sharing that. I really appreciate it. Why don’t we start to dig into your own pricing journey? Maybe you wanna share first with people, how did it come to be that you started your own business?
Lynn: Well, once upon a time. Back in the summer of 2016, I had decided that I wanted to move back to Switzerland. I wanted to see if I could start off my own business, but I didn’t have a proper business model or I didn’t have clients lined up or all that fancy stuff that you should do in terms of preparation.
I did not have that, I just went for it. And I started off as a hospitality consultant at that time. Okay. And as a hospitality consultant, I took on projects left and right. Which were obviously mostly in hospitality, but also abroad. I was not often here. I was traveling a lot. And then, I started to have more clients, more projects, which was great.
And I decided to create an agency. To create a proper company with it. I came up with a business plan together with a partner and together, with this business partner, we created the S C L. It means the actual company. And it became an agency from January 2020.
Hospitality and Healthcare
Lynn: We intended to focus on hospitality and healthcare, but here we went with a little thing called the pandemic, which you may or may not have heard of. Because of the pandemic, everything when it came to hospitality just completely fell in the water. Especially hospitality. Also, all the projects were abroad.
So 2020, we had to decide, are we gonna pivot? If so, how. We pivoted clearly. And with that, we have now, taken on projects that were not just hospitality, but also healthcare. We work with banking, we work in technology and retail luxury, we have multiple industries nowadays.
We don’t necessarily care about the industries. we’re focused more on Switzerland and Europe. Definitely less worldwide. Although if anybody wants to have me on the other side of the world, please give me a call. I really can’t be back traveling, but for now, it has been more focused on Europe and Switzerland locally.
That’s a bit background of the business, if you will. That’s how all started about, and today we are three consultants in-house with a network of freelancers that support us, depending on the project.
Janene: That’s amazing. Well done. If you go back into 2016 when you first started and you first had to come up with a price for something, what was that experience like for.
Lynn: It was a roller coaster, like they always say in entrepreneurship, it’s not easy to come up with pricing. For me, the challenge from the very beginning was that I did everything back then, bespoke. But I didn’t have much, how do you say it? Like and no foundation or nothing to link it back with so it was really like, I would literally just come up with the “right price” (at the time) randomly. You calculate a bit your hourly rates. You cough something up or you find out first what the budget was of decline and based on that, you’re like, okay. With that budget, I could in theory do that. Wow. And little by little, you know, that does not take one hour.
In reality, that takes three hours, so maybe I should charge differently as well, and you start understanding the value of things rather than just purely hourly. So instead of just hourly based packaging, you start working on projects. But at the very beginning, I must say that was, that was just a pure rollercoaster, Right.
You just try your best and you try to figure out, but I definitely undervalued myself. Undercharged. I did everything. Every mistake in the book definitely made it fully admit to it. No problem.
Biggest Challenge When It Comes to Pricing
Janene: Yeah. What do you think is the biggest challenge that you faced when it came to your pricing?
Lynn: Pricing, it’s not just coming up with a the right price, a number. It’s to feel fully aligned with that number that you come up with. To feel internally aligned with that pricing. Then not needing to convince the prospects. If you’re aligned with it, like there’s just no doubt.
You’re just like, okay, listen, this is what I’ll do. This is what it costs and that’s it. You either take it or you leave it. Of course, there’s a bit of a margin nowadays that you can say, okay, you come up with a discount, or you come up with some negotiation, yeah, margin, literally. But initially to have that internal alignment with your own pricing, I think that the minute that I understood that and I figured that one out, the rest flies.
But until you have that, I think, you tend to be stuck. In terms of pricing, because then you have the feeling of having to convince the clients, and I think that’s where, yeah, it’s not necessarily the smart approach.
Janene: I think that oftentimes when people get objections, their first instinct is to defend, and I’ve always find that when you put yourself in the position of having to defend something that it takes your power away. I don’t like using the word power, but I think you know the concept of what I mean.
The Pricing is Not the Value of You
Lynn: Yeah. It’s also like in terms of the pricing, if you are not aligned with it, what happens then is that you start putting the price a lot, like at the same level as the value of you.
And it’s not the value of you. The pricing is not the value of you. The pricing is literally the value of how your clients perceive it. And are they ready to put that price on for what they assume or that what they believe that they’re gonna get out of it. You have to try and step away from that feeling that it’s you that they’re discussing about yes or no. That’s a whole different thing. But yeah, that’s definitely a challenge that I’ve come up with at the very beginning. Today I do a lot of mentorship so supporting other entrepreneurs in general, small business owners.
Definitely want some help to just confidently start selling. Right. Which is so difficult to just authentically and sell with more ease. And the first thing is definitely often that comes up is the pricing question. And when it comes to pricing, it’s because you put it as like, align with yourself.
Yeah. But it’s not easy. I recognize that it’s not easy.
Janene: What do you think people, or in your experience, what do you think people are missing? That once they get it or once they are, what does it take to get that alignment? That’s maybe the question I’m trying to ask.
How to be Aligned with Pricing
Lynn: Well, you ask good questions because they’re tough.
I believe it’s tough because it really depends on the type of company. I think for example, with solopreneurs, the ones that are literally solo in their business, they’re all by themselves. You really have the question of confidence, and with that one, it’s. Purely confidence. It’s mindset.
It is with my mentorship as well. It’s 80% of the work is just pure mindset. The 20% is the strategy. Strategy is easy strategy. You can come up with the right pricing, that’s not the problem. The problem is the mindset or not the problem. The challenge. The challenge. So that’s for solopreneurs a lot more stronger.
Doesn’t mean that small business owners don’t have it. But I. That you then have a question about, okay, how do you package it well? What kind of offers do you have? You need to have pricing at different levels. Right? Do you do fully tailor made or do you have pre-packaged things?
Then more strategy elements come into question and more complexity. No complexity. Complexity. Thank you. And I think for solopreneurs you have that as well, but I, I feel that for solopreneurs it’s like 80% mindset and 20% strategy, if you will. And with small business owners that have already had at least one or two good offers, they’ve already start selling it maybe for five years or 10 years they’re looking to grow.
Then it becomes more of a question of strategy and therefore it’s more 80% strategy, potentially interest, 20% of the mindset. So it’s different balance.
Mindset and strategy. Those are two things that you need in order to be aligned with the pricing.
Until You Have The Confidence
Janene: Yeah, I think you’re right. I think that until you have the confidence, it’s hard to be able to focus on the strategy. I’ve done public speaking coaching in the past. I always tell people, until you’re comfortable with what you’re going to say, it’s hard to focus on how you’re gonna say it and deliver it.
You have to know what you’re going to say before you can do that. You can’t, yes. Really focus on the delivery if you don’t know what you want to say. It’s hard to focus on the strategy when you don’t feel comfortable about what you’re offering or the price that you’re offering.
Lynn: The value behind it. Right. It’s a sense exactly that. What I see with my mentorship program, it’s amazing because sometimes it’s like just 50 franks different and they’re confident, confident. But you put it 50 Frank, like 50 euro, 50 Franks $50, 50, whatever. You put it up by just relatively little and it’s like, ooh.
That’s where you have your little hurdle. You need to find out, okay, where can I have the right pricing for you, but also for your clients? Because let’s not forget if you put the pricing too, they might automatically undervalue it. Or not assume it might be of a certain quality, and if you put it at too much of a price, they might freak out and run away. Yeah, it’s tricky.
Janene: It’s a delicate balance.
Not Written in Stone
Janene: Yeah. Interesting. One of the things that we spoke about when we spoke prior to this is you, you talked about how the right price is not written in stone. Can you tell us a little bit more about what you mean by that?
Lynn: I feel that sometimes it’s like, okay, for that offer, it should be that amount and that timeframe should be that amount, and that project should be that amount.
I feel we tend to hear a lot about pricing and people come up with brilliant suggestions for pricing. And I think you shouldn’t listen to other people’s suggestion necessarily when it comes to just saying like, oh, but if you do that, it should be that price. I think there needs to be a lot more around it there.
I’m saying never to listen to a consultant. I mean, I run a consultancy agency, so please do listen to our advice from time to time, but I think that there’s too much advice on the exact pricing that things should be. And I think that you need to do your own research. So that’s a question of finding out what the market is.
So yes, look at your competitors or the other people that are in the market. Look at what your clients are willing to pay for that kind of pricing, look what you feel comfortable with. Look what financially is feasible as a business. Because at the end of the day, it’s not just making sales, but it’s also making profit, right, as we know, right?
Look at Multiple Aspects
Lynn: You have to look at multiple aspect, but by yourself and not just by somebody else telling you, oh, that should be $500 because you need to have a $500 offer out there. Or for a VIP day, it should always be at least 2000. No. Exactly. You know exactly what I mean, right?
For me, when I say that pricing is not in set in stone, is. We do everything bespoke, right? We have pricing at different ranges and different things, and we don’t have it on the websites. You need to reach out to us with your specific needs, whether that’s marketing, sales, or the mentorship, whatever.
Exactly, but I’m not necessarily against putting the pricing on those things either because for depending whose business we’re talking about, it might be different and it might actually be needed and might be a good thing to be upfront and clear about it.
You cannot just take it as black and white pricing. I know that I’m speaking with the right person about it. And I’m sure in all the different episodes that comes out as well. It’s, you know, pricing. It’s not just black and white. And that’s why it’s also tricky for many. Yeah,
Janene: Yeah. No, I love what you’re saying here. Two things came to mind to me. One is, sometimes I have This feeling that people think I have a Rolodex of prices in my head, and that if they come to me and say, Hey, Janene, I sell this. I just go, I say, okay, that should be 395.
Lynn: You’re not an online calculator. I’m disappointed.
Understanding a Thought Process
Janene: I have a friend who has a daughter, and I wanna ask the daughter, she does artwork and she’ll make me a little cartoon for that. But the other thing is that, I recently made a post about this as well, is that the answer to almost every pricing question I get is it depends on who you’re targeting, because to me, the thought process for determining your price usually begins there. And then as you said, it hits all of these other aspects as well. What I try to do with people is help them to understand a thought process that they can apply to determine which are the right prices for them.
Lynn: To determine and I assume to then also feel aligned with it so that they can…
Janene: When you understand the value behind it or when you understand that in order to be able to have a healthy business that’s profitable enough to keep serving your customers, that this is the price that’s going to allow that, enable that to happen, you feel more confident about asking for that price. Of course.
Janene: I don’t even like the word asking or charging for that price.
Lynn: I try to remove also price from the vocabulary. It’s an investment outta investment. Yes. Give you, give value out of it then, you know. Yeah. It’s investment. In French, we have an expression, it’s music. It’s really the question of it depends, and it depends on how you say it.
Depending on how you say it can, it can mean different things. If you put price, the word price is not bad. Yeah, often switch.
Better than Cost
Janene: It’s better than cost. I had one young man a couple years ago and when he sent me examples of the offers he was sending, it said cost offer. That’s what he was sending to the client was the offer for the costs.
And I thought, well, if, you know, I explained to him, I said, if you think of them of costs, then your customer thinks of them of costs and you prefer that they think of them at least as an investment. Right. I totally…
Lynn: Well, unless you’re talking about an actual cost of product, right? Then it’s a different word and a different thing.
Janene: But it still is an investment. If it’s business to business, even if you’re paying absolutely for materials to develop your product, it’s still an investment in developing your product. So yes, very interesting.
I love it. Okay, so let’s start wrapping this up now. We’ve had a few people come on and say hello. Hello to those of you. Lynn: Hello everybody. Thanks for listening.
Takeaway from the Discussion
Janene: If you have any questions here as we wrap up, just let us know and type them in the comments. But what’s one thing, Lynn, that you’d like people to take away from our discussion today?
Lynn: Probably that pricing is not set in stone, and you need to find out what worked for you. I think that is key. At the end of the day. I think that I’ve heard so many other people tell me what I should do with pricing and nowadays I just don’t listen to it anymore and I take different suggestions, different ideas.
Like I mentioned, put up price that I feel aligned with and if I feel aligned with it, right. Oftentimes that shines through some kind of magic energy and it becomes easier with clients, therefore, as well. At the end of the day, it’s pricing is not set in stone.
Janene: You heard that here, people.
Best Business Advice
Janene: What’s the best business advice you’ve been given as you’ve gone through your own business journey?
Lynn: I’ve heard a lot of good advice. And I think that every single time somebody asks me that question, I say something else that’s okay. But the one that pops up for today is:.. be confident in your own value, to know the value of what you have to offer and that it is allowed to have an investment.
Your expertise, your knowledge, especially if we’re talking about expert businesses, right? Or B2B in terms of sharing your knowledge and things like that. Although it would work with others as well, but at the end of the day, you need to feel confident and you need to know your own value and if you feel aligned with that.
I know that I’m repeating myself, but it’s so key. It is so key, and I think that that is something that I’ve heard multiple times when I was and still today by the way, but especially when I was just starting off also through my business partners, but also clients or mentors that I had left and right, or a coach.
They would often tell me… find that little confidence in you and understanding and knowing what you are in terms of where you can give that value to the clients. If you find that the rest will fall into place. That comes in line also when it comes to pricing.
Thing that Helps Lynn find Confidence
Janene: Yeah. Absolutely. I love that. A follow up question to that, is there like a micro habit or somewhere where that’s something that’s worked for you, that helps, that you can share with us, that helps you start to find or feel that confidence.
Lynn: I am quite, how you say that?
I’m quite spiritual, if you will, I believe a lot in energy and all of that. I believe in smiling when you pick up the phone before you call someone and having this, the smile all-around of all during the call even though you might not feel it, smile anyway, it will have an impact.
I feel that all the tools that I use have something similar with that. And I believe a lot in writing down your wins on a weekly basis. I believe a lot and feeling good. That means you don’t have to have anything fancy, but I believe in taking care of yourself, especially as small business owners or as an entrepreneur, to do your sports, to just feel good.
If you start your day off already, right? You already have the work also like journaling. I believe in all of that, and that really works for me. Yeah. If I have to say one thing what I often do with my clients when it comes to the mentorship clients, it’s to remind yourself of your wins and your successes.
Oftentimes, we start off as a new entrepreneur or a new small business owner, or even in a well, but we kind of like forget about the whole 10 years or 15 years or 20 years, or 30, 40 years of experience that we do have as backgrounds and it’s not worth starting out stretch. Like you have something in the back.
Creating a List
Lynn: I feel that just reminding yourself of Yes, I did those studies or yes, I worked with those clients or yes, I was able to travel to those locations or yes, I spoke these languages, or whatever it may be. Create a one page, fill it up and remind yourself of it every single day.
Like that’s just a confidence booster 101. It works. I see it with my clients. You might think it isn’t, but anybody listening, try it. If you need a confidence boost.
Janene: I have a similar list in my notes on my phone, anytime that I just need to kind of reflect on things or shift my focus or mindset, I’ll go back in there and look at them and sort of remind myself. I call it a wins list.
Lynn: Exactly. I write my gratitude, my three gratitudes every day and every week my little wins, it works. Or at least it works for me. I know that mostly female entrepreneurs, for example, that are just starting off or that are looking to really grow and reach new levels. Do this and they start flying.
Janene: Recently, I’m a big fan of Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Sunday podcast.
I find it inspirational, she had a guest recently and I think the title of the episode was, I Am, and the whole point of her talk was that whatever follows I am, is what you are. If you say I’m tired, then you’re gonna feel tired and you say, I am feeling a second wind coming on, then you’re going to kind of motivate yourself into that energy.
I really loved the thought of that and it’s made me be more mindful of what comes after the I am.
Lynn’s Fave Tool
Janene: All right, great. Two more questions for you.
The first one is, what’s a book or tool that you’d like to share with us that you’d recommend?
Lynn: If you’re a small business owner or an entrepreneur and we’re talking here about pricing, I would say LinkedIn, because on LinkedIn you can also find books. I think LinkedIn, you need to be there. That’s one. Two, you need to be active. Don’t be shy. Go be active. There are many people, lots of gurus out there that will give you a lot of tips. Just keep it. But just be there. See it as a networking event all day long that you can go in all little people, they’re just coffee people.
Go chat with them, but LinkedIn. And then if you want, you can go on the search bar and you click on books, business books, and you’ll find 5,000 start with one and clicking You.
Janene: Go from there. Excellent. Thank you.
The last question is, if people would like to reach out and connect with you or find out more about how to work with you, where should they do that. Lynn?
Lynn: I highly recommend LinkedIn. Everybody can find me there. They can follow me. I try to share my journey on it. If I can help you in one way or another to streamline your marketing and sales as a business or if you’re more looking for mentorship to get that kick in terms of confidence and making sales more easily for you.
Reach out on LinkedIn. That’s definitely where I am. Or even just to say hello. As you can notice, I like to chat, so no problem at all. Reach out.
Wrapping It Up
Janene: Excellent. We’ll put her details in the show notes for everyone so that they can easily click on those links. It’s been a real pleasure having you here on the show with me today, Lynn.
Thank you so much.
Lynn: It was lovely. Thank you very much for having me, everybody for listening as well. Really appreciate it and I’m very excited to hearing all of this back. But thank you so much.
Janene: Yeah, do go and follow her. I’ve been watching a lot of your posts recently. They’re really great.
You’ll get to really good tidbits of information and tactics and strategies there as well. All right, everyone. It has been such a pleasure. Thank you so much for joining us today. I wish you all the best and as always, enjoy pricing everybody.