Many customers call me or email me to ask me about my rate. They often ask, "What is the best rate?" After I tell them my rate, they don't contact me any more. They virtually disappear. How should I tell a customer my rate?
You assume that the way you communicate the price is a problem. Communicating the price via phone or e-mail is perfectly fine and I don't see how doing it any other way can possibly make a difference.
What is more likely is that either your price is too high compared to competition or people who contacted you were just curious or that their expectation of what your service costs were much lower than what you (and others) charge for it.
You can test if high price is a problem: quote much lower price to several people and see if they are more likely to hire you.
In general, people are willing to pay more for better work so even if your prices are higher than competition, you can try to justify them by positioning yourself as an expert in your field. I don't know specifics of your service, so it's up to you to figure out what would that take (and do it). A generic advice: if you have website that solicits work, make sure that the website looks good (people will use it as a proxy for judging your competence) and has marketing stuff like testimonials from past clients praising your good work.
When you give out your price don't be shy.
question:Hello Mr. X, what is your hourly rate?
answer: Well, because I'm graduated from xx, and since I have xx years experience in this field I ask ... euhm .... xx dollars per hour.. But I can decrease that when you hire me for ... etc. etc.
question: Hello Mr. X, what is your hourly rate?
answer: Good question. My hourly rate is just xx dollars.
The reason why you say "just" is because it most times keep the conversation going.
Then you can tell them how good you are, but only if they ask it.
Just be proud of your price.
I always tell my clients "I'm worth it", and "If you think someone else could serve you better, please go ahead" ... This gives them (again) most times the feeling you're the real deal...
Play their mind :)
Use the who, what, why, when, and where questions on the calls. Find out what their needs are and position your answers to show the value that you provide. You need to position yourself to show that value and distinguish yourself from the rest of apples out there.
Find out a way to get them in front of you so that you can then get into details on rates. Don't sell yourself short with low prices.
Why don't you follow-up? You don't even know if they are using anyone else's product/service. Maybe price is the issue or there are other features or terms they prefer.
Unless the commodity you are selling is so common, there has to be more to it than price.
I really don't understand why any service should immediately offer a price to any inquiry.
By doing so you are showing your own focus on your own service but not in your potential client.
The person making the inquiry is really only interested in solving THEIR problem, or satisfying THEIR need. Anything else is ultimately irrelevant to the potential customer. So how can you the service-provider offer a price before KNOWING if you can solve their highly individual problem and their highly individual need.
You have to know what their need or problem is FIRST.
During this process it will become very clear what value means to your potential customer. Each customer is also different in how they define the value of their time: for one three hours has a relatively small value, and for another it has a huge value. Once you have this information then you have the opportunity to share very convincingly the value you KNOW you can provide for this particular customer. If this value FOR THE CUSTOMER fits within your own business model then great, and if not then be nice and advise them of a more appropriate service and price.
By doing so, you have protected your own valuable time, and communicated very clearly how much you value your own services. That person may go somewhere else, but they will still have the impression that your service is of a particular value, and no less. All good for a long-term reputation. You must be ready to refuse customers!
Don't tell them YOUR rate. Tell them what THEIR rate would be. This is very important to look at customers indyvidually, and first of all to make them sure you can provide them with the service that meets their requirements. I say this as a custommer. I like to know how much things cost, but it's more important for me to know whether the company really understands what I expect.
A few days ago I called my tv provider to ask them what the price would be if I renewed the contract, and as they didn't offer me anything better than new custommers get, I cancelled the contract and am going to sign one with other provider regardless of their prices being pretty much the same.
Sometimes it's not the prices that make people chose your offer, but your personal attitude towrds your custommers' needs. On the other hand, do not generalise too much, make people aware of estimated prices they might expect and let them chose for what they pay.
Be proud of your product, and don't back down - but is price based on competitor analysis? Are you quoting professionally? Do you know how your competitors quote?