I very heart felt thank you to Michelle Dale on September 12, 2011 for this amazing article.
This is it folks, seemingly the most common issue coming up for virtual assistants who are charging more than the price of a cup of coffee per hour. You obtain the lead, you strike up a conversation, things are going well, you offer up your services, they ask for a quote and you never hear back, you follow up, you ask if there is a reason, or if they have any questions, and then in comes…
“Why should I pay for your service when I can get it cheaper elsewhere?”
Sometimes I feel like that’s like saying, “Why should I pay for bottled water when I can get it out of the tap?”
The important point is that you don’t have to feel that you are required to justify your rates to anyone, whether they are on the higher end of the scale or the lower end of the scale or something in between, putting it simply, they are what they are. In a nutshell, what you can do, is explain the benefits of what you can do allowing the potential client to do their own research and make their own comparisons.
So How Should You Respond?
Well first off, because you don’t know who ‘elsewhere’ is, let alone the quality of ‘elsewhere’s’ work or what kind of service levels ‘elsewhere’ provides, you are simply going to assume who ‘elsewhere’ is, and assumption is not going to be a very good basis for a professional response, but nevertheless, a response is required. You are best just to stick to highlighting the benefits, perks and “superb-ness” of your own service, and let the potential client go and compare it to ‘elsewhere’ themselves.
The Answer To This Question Will Be Different For Every VA, So You Need To Tailor A Response – Here Is Your Homework: You will need to sit down and write or type out all the exceptional things you offer your clients in your own business, things totally unrelated to price, but related to the excellent standards of service, level of quality and commitment and basically, how you make their lives so much easier. Craft a similar response to the one I am about to show you…
This is what I would have set up as a response to this question for my own business, Virtual Miss Friday.
Thanks so much for getting back to me, I am happy to help with your question. Whilst I cannot comment for other virtual assistants, I can tell you more about our own service, which may help you to make a comparison between us and other alternatives you are exploring elsewhere.
#1 – You don’t have to learn how to outsource.
Free of charge, we will guide and advise you on working with us including materials such as delegation templates, video tutorials and simple to follow “How To” instructions.
#2 – You don’t need to provide any training.
When we commit to a project or service, we do it because we know we already have the ability, skill and outstanding levels of service required to complete it – or, at our discretion, we are willing to learn on our own time. There is a significant difference between ‘training’ an assistant and simply conveying what you would like to see happen, and then they quietly, in the background come back to you within a mutually agreed period of time to let your know that they are now fully equipped to manage your tasks. We do not require any training whatsoever, we simply need to understand the outcome you require, and we will ensure, to the best of our ability, that happens, requesting information if required as we go. Training requires a significant amount of time, and investment from you, this is why, we already ensure the VA’s on our team are fully trained, in-house at our own expense.
#3 – You don’t need to purchase any systems.
As part of our customer services policy, every client is designated a unique password protected project management space, provided complimentary, allowing us to effectively collaborate together online. We keep very detailed records of all the work we do together, so you don’t have to worry about keeping track.
#4 – You don’t have to micro-manage.
By hiring Virtual Miss Friday, you are hiring Michelle Dale as your designated virtual assistant. This means that while you have access to a whole host of exceptional skills and services available to you from one VA, you don’t have to manage a team of VA’s to get all of your work done. Michelle will organise and coordinate with her team all of the tasks and projects you have assigned, so you can sit back and relax, safe in the knowledge that the best people for the job are on task, but you only have one place you need to go, to get everything done.
#5 – More is less – we only need to be told once.
The more you give to us, over time, the less effort you’ll have to make to communicate what you need. This is because we will keep detailed instructions of everything you delegate to us and how we handle it, so we have a database on how to handle your business, after a fairly short period of time, and regular work, many assignments will simply be on auto-pilot. We only need to be told once!
#6 – You won’t ever have to chase deadlines.
When we commit to a deadline, or terms in an estimate or agreement, then we’ll meet it providing there are no cataclysmic natural disasters. You won’t need to chase us, and we should not give you cause to question our reliability.
#7 – We provide the essential balance.
If a VA is too reactive, and simply doing everything you tell them to do, the way you tell them to do it, without question, you could be making some very costly, long term mistakes, which potentially could have repercussions on your business. If you have a VA that is too proactive, you may that you feel things are being done in a way you don’t feel comfortable with, or you could be faced with not getting what you really wanted. We provide suggestions, opinions or alternatives which you can consider, however we fully appreciate, the final decision is always yours.
#8 – We have significant online business experience.
We can improve and enhance your work, offer opinions or better alternatives, and if you are open to our advice and assistance, we can often times work with you to come up with something better than you could have imagined.
#9 – We want you to achieve more and spend less.
Because of this, where possible, we will encourage and offer solutions which might reduce the hours you hire us for if we can find a better alternative, or a way to automate or better still eliminate through careful planning and exploring alternatives.
#10 – We don’t ever disappear.
Holidays, sickness, weddings, funerals or during any other absence there is always going to be someone, or several people in fact, around to assist you.
#11 – We speak your language.
All the VA’s working directly with you are from a western culture, primarily, the UK, Europe and America meaning that if you are from a western society, there will be very limited issues with language barriers, misinterpretation or cultural differences.
#12 – We do what we say we are going to do.
We take our client commitments seriously. Seems simple enough, but it’s surprising the amount of people who don’t do what they say they’ll do… And it tends to be when you need it most.
#13 – 3 VA’s for the price of 1. No backup required.
For regular administrative support and assistance we have a minimum 2 to 3 VA’s working on your account at a time, they will each learn how to do the work we do for you, meaning you don’t have to find your own back up VA’s or teach other VA’s how to do your work, we have it covered for you. It’s like having 3 fully trained VA’s for the price of 1.
#14 – We cover the fine print.
We have a service agreement between clients and the company (and members of the team) containing everything you need to know about working with us, including privacy, non-disclosure and confidentiality, terms of service, deadline commitments, availability and more. Not only this, we provide automated facilities for billing and payments, so when it comes to fine print you have nothing to do except for clicking a button, when it comes to billing, again, it’s all at the click of a button through our online, automated hassle free systems. Video tutorials are provided if you are new to working with a VA. Regardless of how the rest of the world perceives NDA’s, I assure you, we take this element of our service, very seriously, but don’t just take our word for it, please review our testimonials to read comments from the satisfied clients who we have worked with for many years.
#15 – We care about your business.
Probably the most important one of all. We actually care about your business and your success. You are not just another number, you won’t be passed on, and you will always be provided the most intimate, responsive levels of customer support.
You are of course welcome to try out different virtual assistant services and find out which one works best for you, though we do have clients who have done so and then come back to us after not achieving the results they were looking for or becoming disillusioned with using less experienced or less committed service providers.
I hope that this brief example of our company and the benefits of working with us has helped answer your question, however if you need any further information, or you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us and I would be happy to help with those further.