By Doug Belton
There are no elaborate schemes or formulas for earning more in executive protection; it really comes down to a single thing. Never cut your rates. As simple as this one thing sounds, anyone who has been in business at all will know there always seem to be compelling reasons to cut your rates but when you do so, you create a landslide of obstacles barring access to increased future earnings.
We have all experienced the disappointment of purchasing an item or service at full price only to find the same item from the same provider days later for substantially less money. When this happens it doesn’t take much to figure out that the seller was offering the item far above market value in the first place.
Whenever this happens you immediately feel taken advantage of. This is the same thing that occurs in the mind of your client when they realize your rates were always open to a downward adjustment. This is true when your client is the one who manages to negotiate a better rate with you and when they hear of another client getting a better rate for the same service.
The second problem with cutting your rates is that it sends a signal to your client that you really are not worth the money you charge. Again, think of this as a consumer. People who are selling a superior product or service do not have to drop their prices, they know their product is worth the money, and they know their customers will pay a fair price. This is not arrogance; this is confidence.
Clients may not always enjoy paying for services rendered but they do enjoy knowing they are getting good value for the money they spend on personal protection. When you stick to your guns you are sending a message to your client that your services are worth every penny of what you are charging.
Another reason for standing firm is that when you agree to accept less for your services you are telling your client you are desperate. The problem with being desperate is that it indicates no one else would want to hire you. This is a bad message to send to a client who is counting on you to keep them safe.
It’s a little bit like shopping for a bullet resistant vest and the shop keeper is uncompromising on his price for the first three you look at, but on the fourth vest he is more than willing to bargain. Anyone who values their life would not pay for the fourth vest, and you would probably not wear it even if the shop keeper was giving it away for free.
The way to fix this problem is to do a good market analysis and price your services accurately for the market you are in. Write up a solid business plan that explains why you are worth the rates you charge and include honest appraisals of your services compared with the competition within your market. Bring value to your client and be prepared to explain why you have priced your services as they are.
Try not to be offended when they ask you to justify your fees, this is your chance to shine and let them know what they are getting for their money. List your certifications and the schools you have attended. Explain how your EMT certifications, language skills, marksmanship training, and other acumen benefit them. Once you determined the fair price for your services stand firm and show your client that you are worth the investment.