The Price and the Client

What’s on the iPod: Beautiful Day by U2

Another busy one yesterday, and I’m expecting it to repeat today. I did manage to move one of the interviews to email, which frees up a lot of time and helps both the interviewee and me get the story straight the first time. Also, I kept chasing that same tail — interview subjects for my magazine article. I’ve had next-to-no luck getting anyone to A) understand exactly what I want, and B) respond. I did manage two interviews, but I’m not happy. I can’t really get into the meat of it if I’m not getting the right feedback.

I had five minutes (only just) to chat quickly with a fellow writer via email. She’s put out quite a number of proposals lately, but no client has bitten. In fact, she was expressing disgust at how clients go silent after much contact once the price is out there.

So what’s going on? Could be any number of things, but you’re not going to know if you’re not doing some legwork. Here are a few things to try when the clients go silent on your price:

Check in via email. Only when I know we don’t mesh will I not follow up on a client communication. If you think all things are in alignment and you got a good vibe from the client, send a note asking if there were questions or concerns.

Call. Sometimes they go silent and you can’t get an answer to email. Don’t assume – call. I know some of you don’t enjoy using the phone, but sometimes that little call can clear up the mystery. They had to drop the project or they’re kicking it back to management for a final approval. You won’t know unless you check back in.

Re-examine the level of client you’re dealing with. If you’re high enough up the food chain. you’re not going to get the price push-back as often as you may right now. If the clients are consistently balking at the price, you need to find a different client base that is better able and more willing to accept a more professional rate. It could be that you’re offering too high a value to too low a budget range.

Accept that this is not your client. Sometimes your price just doesn’t fit their budget. That’s okay. If you’re unable/unwilling to come down a little and they’re unable/unwilling to come up a little, walk away.

How do you get a better return on your proposals?

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  • ChuckB September 20, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    More good stuff.

  • Lori September 20, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Thanks, Chuck.

  • Devon Ellington September 20, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    You've gotta think out of the box, beyond what they think they want, and pitch them something uniquely YOU that they realize they can't live without.

  • anne wayman September 20, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    I bring up price before I get to proposal stage often. I ask what their budget is (in my case, ghostwriting for individuals, they rarely have a clue,but sometimes…)I'll often mention a range being sure I don't low ball myself knowing full well my lower figure will be what sticks in their minds.

  • Lori September 21, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Good one, Devon. The same old just won't appeal every time.

    Anne, I do that, too. No sense in talking endlessly if the price is going to be the deciding factor.