Articles

Why you shouldn't underprice your continuing education programs

Thu, Jun 20,2013 @ 08:13 AM
by Kathryn Lynch-Morin |

Don't under price your continuing education programsRaising prices on your continuing education programs seems counterintuitive. Low prices entice people to make purchases, right? So, it would make sense to try to keep prices as low as possible.

Not so says seminar guru Anver Suleiman. The most common mistake in pricing seminars and conferences, according to Suleiman, is actually charging too little.

The concepts of price breaks and price as image means that some of us will not spend over a certain amount to attend an event, but it also means that we will not spend less than a certain amount to attend an event. 

In the same town in British Columbia, three different organizations contracted with the same speaker to give the same seminar, with each organization unaware the speaker was contracted with either of the other agencies. One priced the seminar at $35, one at $95 and the other at $135. The title, speaker and brochure were identical. 

The program that offered the seminar at $35 had to cancel for lack of enrollments. The program that offered it at $95 was three-quarters full, and the program that offered the seminar at $135 had a waiting list and had to turn people away.

Underpricing, which happens more frequently than overpricing in continuing education, turns people away. 

If you've always assumed that an increase in price is accompanied by a decrease in attendance, it's time to change your thinking. 

The trend shows that attendance actually increases for a while when we raise prices. Income also increases with the price increase, as attendance increases. After a certain price point, attendance does not increase, but it does not decrease either. It remains stable.

In this stable zone, income grows. 

For all programs, going too high on the price will lead to a drop in attendance and a decrease in income, but this rarely happens.

In most cases, increasing prices would benefit your continuing education programs, not hurt them. 

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