I was talking to a friend the other day and she was complaining about her cheap client.
“My client is so cheap,” she said.
She’d pitched her design services that would really help her client and her “cheap” client went with another provider because she was 10% more expensive.
“They just wanted to get the lowest cost provider,” she said. “They’re jerks!”
I asked: “Did you tell him what you do differently?”
“No. My work should speak for itself, it was obvious that it was better than my competition. I really stretched out to get the business and it still wasn’t enough.”
And I’ve had her do work for me in the past, I have no doubt her work would be better than almost every designer. And, having worked with a ton of designers, I know that it’d be hard to find someone as kind and caring.
So why did her prospective client work with someone else?
Because she didn’t take the time to sell, automatically.
The Cold, Hard Truth
When your prospect is “cheap” or doesn’t see the value in parting with their money, that is your fault. Not theirs.
You didn’t sell them.
You failed to be better than a commodity service to them. You didn’t create demand and desire. You failed to understand their needs and connect the way you deliver to the things that they need.
When it’s a matter of 10-30%, the difference is rarely the price. The difference is usually the perceived value. We pay extra money for things like “Venti coffees” and “Retina displays” because we perceive the value there.
We’ve been sold.
When your prospect – or client – passes because of the price, it’s almost always because you failed to create desire.
What to do:
- Ask them how this project will impact their business.
- Ask them what it will mean to have this on time.
- Ask them what a “great project” will look like.
- Send a proposal with a great project in it.
What my friend did was to rush into it.
The Other Cold Hard Truth
Budget is a myth. How many times have we decided to go “over budget” for things ourselves? My car, my last date with my wife, and my home are all things that were 10% over budget. And I’m glad for all of it.
A lot of times clients will state their budget for something. And then they’ll ignore it and pay more. Not just a little more, but a lot more. Because they’ve been sold on the value of someone that has their back.
So when a client “doesn’t have budget,” that just means that that’s where they are starting from. We have sold $10k and $20k projects to people who came in hoping to get a $2k video made. We had to show them the differences, the value. The process.
When they don’t have budget, help them get budget. If you’re doing an ad spend, show them the ROI of your last 5 campaigns and the results that they could get.
Focus on results, not fees.
When You Have Clients This Doesn’t Bother You Much
“When you generate, you don’t have to tolerate.”
Clients know where you’re at. Our businesses send out vibes. When you’re broke, you send out vibes that say “push me around.” So you’ll get more “lowball offers” more often when times like these happen. Humans have a sixth sense about this sort of thing.
When you’re booked and busy, it’s a lot less likely that your clients will lowball you in the first place. Because you’re busy, everything about you signals that. Your clients will want to be a part of that success and that business as soon as they can. And if you can’t work things out, you won’t be concerned.
To get busy, generate more leads. Follow up more passionately. Have a plan in place for every client. Make it “another one of those.”
Action Steps For Avoiding Lowball Offers
Once you get a “lowball” offer it’s almost always too late to change things around. The best way to deal to them is to avoid them in the first place. Here’s how:
- Generate a LOT of offers. Generate leads on a regular basis so that you’re always able to choose. A course like Jenny Beres runs is a great place to start.
- Put a plan in place to present your services. How you help them. The value THEY get. It’s not about your experience, it’s about THEIR results. Always.
- Generate empathy: understand where they’re coming from both personally and professionally. Understand what impact this can have, and offer to customize your proposal to overdeliver the things that matter to them. Do that.
- Ask Why: When you get it, ask “why” they think this is a fair price.
In the moment, it always feels tough to get a lowball offer. It feels like the end of the world and it feels like a bummer. The best thing to do is to focus on how it was your fault and how you can prevent it next time.