How to have uncomfortable and awkward money conversations with clients

December 7, 2016

Uncomfortable money conversations are a part of being a boss, but luckily there’s a few ways to handle them without stumbling over your words or freaking out in the process.

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Uncomfortable money conversations are a part of being a boss, but luckily there’s a few ways to handle them without stumbling over your words or freaking out in the process.

Have you ever had an awkward or uncomfortable money conversation with your client where they might have asked you… 

Can you work for free?
Want to barter our services?
How much do you charge?
That sounds expensive, can you do anything about it?
Can I get a refund?

As a business owner you’ve probably experience this in some form. When I first started my business I remember my first few discovery calls as a business coach. When pricing came up, it was always awkward. I’d been from working for someone else for so many years, and suddenly I was having to have sales conversations…total freak out mode!

The good thing is, this does get easier as you grow and evolve in your business and you discover a little thing called “boundaries”, as well as getting a deeper sense of confidence and belief in the value that you provide. These conversations won’t go away, they simply come in different forms and there’s always a new challenge in business.

But there are ways to handle these money conversations with grace and ease. Here’s my fave tips to do so:

1 // Have clear boundaries from the start

Boundaries are bliss. Getting set up with contracts, agreements and terms and conditions is so important for your business. This is a lifesaver because you have a point of reference, a written document or whatever it might be that you can refer to. This helps you detach emotionally from the conversation because you’ve got your agreements laid out clearly.

Boundaries are particularly important for:

Refund requests

Boundaries come in handy for so many contexts, but a great example is for refund requests. If you have a refund policy you can refer them to that (if you don’t, please do that ASAP), but you can always say ‘I’m happy to issue the refund for now, but for future you’ll find our refund policy here.’

If clients want extra work for free

Another way boundaries are super needed is when clients come to you and they want extra stuff for free or they expect more hours or more work, without paying more. If you have a really clear agreement up front, which outlines the specifics included, this will be so beneficial for you. 

2 // React from a clear, conscious space, rather than emotion or fear

I’m a natural people pleaser and when starting out I’d go above and beyond for clients. So if they asked for little extra things on top of the work I’d already done, I’d just do it for free, because I was acting from a place of emotion and fear. The fear was that they would throw a tantrum, never want to work with me again or leave horrible reviews!

I quickly learnt that in addition to setting boundaries, I needed to act from a clear, conscious space and remove myself from fear or emotion.

I encourage you to do the same. This means detaching emotionally and being more factual in your money conversations. Of course, you want to be yourself and be friendly, but refer back to the facts (contracts, terms and conditions etc) and speak from a clear, conscious space. 

3// Have scripts in place for various contexts

Having scripts is a great way to handle these awkward conversations without going off on a tangent or agreeing to something in the moment that you originally didn’t want to do.

A great example to use scripts is if you want to increase your prices and you need to have that awkward convo with your current clients.

Whether its via email or on the phone, use your script word for word so you’re really clear and intentional.

If you do want to increase prices you could say something like:

“I wanted to let you know that my price for ‘x’ will be going up to ‘x’ on this date. Any work past this date will be at the new pricing structure.”

Scripts help you build those boundaries and your confidence in detaching emotionally and being intentional and really clear. Of course be true to you and still deliver your message in your voice and personality, but use your boundaries and scripts to support you. 

Remember, money conversations with clients are just a part of business, but the more you have them, the easier it will be and the more confident you’ll become!

Stay golden,

Jenna x

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  1. Heidi Rose says:

    Love this Jenna! Awesome tips, thank you! <3 x

  2. […] situations where clients may expect free work, request extra hours without offering to pay or other awkward money conversations that can come up in […]

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