The words were mumbled under her breath. With just a bit of an eye roll.
Those two things are never a good sign.
I ran in to her at the grocery store, and she excitedly told me that she had decided to fulfill that lifelong dream of taking piano lessons. She couldn't wait to start and she just needed to double check on the price for the lessons.
I smiled a great big smile and told her my monthly fee. And that's when she balked.
Apparently, it was more than she was expecting, way more.
Piano Teacher Friend, my temptation at that moment was to gulp, and start talking fast, explaining why I charge what I charge. I was also tempted to tell her I was willing to "negotiate" and try to work with her on the fee.
But, I didn't. Wanna know why?
Because I had actually spent a lot of time thinking through my monthly fee and I know what I need to make. I know what my time and experience are worth, and I feel strongly settled on my fee.
So, I calmly looked at her and said these three sentences:
I would love to have you as my student because I think you would really enjoy it.
The monthly tuition is $______________ and I hope your budget will allow you to start.
Please give me a call when you are ready!
Notice three important things about this:
1. I affirmed my hope she would take lessons, making her feel welcome.
2. I called it "the monthly tuition" -- not "my fee", or, even worse, "the cost." This is quality instruction, and therefore, students pay tuition. Depersonalize it from you.
3. I let her know that the onus was on her to find the money in her budget, NOT on me to make it fit her budget. That also empowered her to make the decision that was best for her.
So, when that awkward moment comes, and I promise you, it will at some point . . .
Take a deep breath. Smile. And stick to the decision you made about your price point. You will be glad you did.