In our last article on being a practitioner I discussed the question of what is a healing worth? My answer, it will come as no surprise, is “a lot.” I speak as someone who has personally spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on healing and personal growth. The return on this investment has been great in terms of my health, relationships and ultimately abundance. Every area of my life has changed as I have transformed myself over the last 7 years. I am often told that I am unrecognizable to people who studied with me just 6 months before.
This talk about how much healings are worth raises a different “problem.” What about people who simply cannot afford to pay? How do we help them?
Let me start by saying that I simply don’t have all the answers. In today’s blog I want to ask some of the right questions, raise some issues, share my experience and tell you what I do about it.
I really want you to share today - what do you do to help those less fortunate? What kind of help would you like to receive? Do you think that charity (in the form of discounts) is the right way to go or a patronizing gesture that rarely helps in the long term?
In a nutshell, the problem is that whatever price you place on your services, there will be really deserving, good people who can’t afford it.
Here’s a range of ideas:
- work on a donation basis;
- price your services by what they are worth to each client;
- have different prices for different people;
- let poor people have your services for free;
- payment plans, exchange agreement, etc.
In an idealistic world you might think that the best way to pay for services is according to what people can afford to pay. For instance millionaires could pay thousands for a transformational session (which will help them earn more millions), and homeless people wouldn’t have to pay anything. I love that idea.
In practice, it rarely (or never) works.
I know plenty of healers who work on a donation / exchange basis. All of them have massive abundance blocks and many live below the poverty line. It doesn’t work for the obvious reason that the healer is valuing their time enough to attract clients who will do so. No millionaire is going to see them, and if they did, they probably wont pay more than dinner.
During 2009 I did an experiment: when people asked me about healing something I asked them “what’s it worth to you to have this healed?” Essentially I asked people to name their price for the session. The results: no one gave a value higher than what I had in mind (my usual fee of Au$200 ph / Eur 135 / USD 165). I would have been happy if half paid over and half paid under, but basically the experiment failed.
As much as I love the pay-what-you-feel-its-worth-to-you idea, I have not managed to make it work.
What’s going wrong?
I have tried basically all the ideas I mentioned above. It has only given us grief. Let’s look at some of the problems.
- People who have done the courses for free have usually (70-80%) not respected the content. People just don’t seem to value what they don’t have to pay for.
- People that we have gone out of our way to help have seemed to hurt or betray us in ways that we have never experienced with paying customs.
- People who do the course for free / discount take up a disproportionate amount of the teachers’ and assistant teachers’ time – more than 5 times the average student. There seems to be no way to say “you can come for free if you are silent in the corner” (that isn’t realistic on personal development courses).
- We used to offer generous 3-4 month payment plans but stopped when we realised we were writing off more than $20,000 in bad debts. Sadly the dishonesty of some people stopped us extending this opportunity to others.
- If you the practitioner / teacher feel undervalued / disrespected you end up (at least unconsciously) resenting the client and cannot be there for them 100%.
On the plus side we’ve had 1 or 2 examples (out of say 1,500 students) where gifting them the course has resulted in an extraordinary breakthrough and enabled them to make massive shifts. It’s tempting to say that that makes it all worth it, but it doesn’t really compensate for the hurt, losses and disrespect we’ve incurred in trying to help people.
Clearly some of this is “our stuff.” Our poor boundaries and judgment have tended to attract this problem. I get that 100%.
What we are looking for is a solution that helps those who need help, while really respecting the value of the work you offer.
On both the Landmark Education courses and also NLP intro I took with Christopher Howard, I heard the same story: that they refuse to give discounts or concessions because they find that the breakthrough that people need to make to get the money together to do the course is bigger than the breakthrough they get on the course.
To put that another way – to give the person the course for free is to buy into the same poverty story that caused them to need the course for free. By asking them to pay in full, those who are committed will climb mountains to be there – and in doing so will see what they can achieve and will have a massive personal breakthrough (before even turning up to the course).
I completely agree with this philosophy – in theory. In practice it’s a bit harsh and I think you need to offer some flexibility.
I will say this: we stopped offering payment plans in 2009 because we were losing too much money in bad debts. Once we started saying “no” to people who wanted payment plans, all but one out of the 20 people who have asked came back with the money for the course! My heart still goes back to that 1 person though, and I am not sure that we did the right thing by her. But for the 19 out of 20 we did do the right thing and had a win-win outcome.
There is no easy answer – in fact I’m hoping some of you can give me ideas. What I’ll offer you is a list of some of the things we do to help people who can’t afford our services.
What we do to help
Sometimes people (with massive abundance blocks) accuse us of being in this for the money or of charging too much. I have to laugh when I hear this – did you know I donated RPT to charity?
So, here’s a list of just some of the things we do to help people who can’t afford our usual rates.
- Each application for a concession or special consideration is individually considered and the person’s circumstances are taken into account.
- We donate a lot of our time for free helping people through our public forum at www.rptforum.com.
- We have free healing clinics at each of our Level 3 courses where members of the public can come for free.
- Time permitting we help people for free over the phone (but only where it really feels right and only where it’s our offer – not the person’s demand).
- Simon shares a LOT of information for free on this blog to help a wide range of people who could or would never pay for a course or consultation.
- Simon donates a lot of his time to the charities he supports. In this way he can help a wider range of people than just through RPT.
- We provide a wide range of practitioners with a wide range of prices for their services. Whilst a session with Simon is expensive to some people, we do have new graduates who would work for a small fee for the experience. Whilst they aren’t on our website, we can refer people to them when asked.
- Perhaps most importantly – we significantly undercharge for our work. I know that our courses provide more effective methods than say an NLP Master Practitioner program costing $10,000 or more. But I would never charge that much for a course.
- I think a session with me or a top RPT practitioner is worth far more than the $5,000+ that top NLP coaches like Christopher Howard charge, but we would never charge that. We offer instant permanent results, for a fraction of what this might cost. We keep our prices really low to keep the work affordable to the widest range of people possible.
Is this perfect? No. I know for sure that there are good people who have been excluded from the work because of price. Can I help everyone? No. But I don’t have to help everyone. I just chose to help enough people to create a global shift in consciousness.
Please share your thoughts. What would you do to help people? Should we do more? Do we charge too much or too little? What have you found that works for you? How could we make this work more accessible without devaluing our teachers’ business (we can’t give everything away)?
Please share your thoughts here.