Liaising with potential clients is an art, especially when it comes to money. It takes a lot of practice to be able to gauge your client’s needs & budget (or lack of) and negotiate an outcome that both the client and yourself are satisfied with. Here are two tips that I’ve found extremely useful when negotiating pricing, allowing the best outcome for both parties.
How can you find out a potential client’s budget?
The best way to find out a potential client’s budget is to ask. Although you can ask “What is your budget?“, I’ve personally found that mentioning the ‘budget’ word can get a bit sticky & things can get a bit vague when negotiating prices so I’ve found asking “How much do you plan to dedicate to this project?“ a better approach.
It avoids the ‘budget’ word and allows the customer to think about how much they want to spend on their project. It also allows you to get a better idea of what they are willing to spend, versus your own set prices, putting you in a better position to negotiate. Of course not all clients know how much things cost or why, but it’s your role as a designer to educate the client on these matters as well.
When asked to lower your prices
Ok, so now you know your client’s ‘budget’, but their budget is (*surprise*) way below your fees. My advice here, is to stick to your guns and not reduce your price(s). Instead, sell the value of your work, explain what they will receive and why these are your prices.
A handy phrase that I use when asked to lower the price is “As I can not lower the quality of my work, unfortunately I can not lower the prices.” Using this phrase shows that you are proud of the work you produce and want to produce the best quality of work possible. NB: See the Fast, Good, Cheap Pricing Method.
I guarantee to you, that in the long run, sticking to your guns is going to be more beneficial to you, your career and most importantly, your health as you will ultimately be working less, yet charging more.
For further tips on liaising with clients I recommend Jeremy Tuber’s book ‘Verbal Kung Fu‘ that I have previously reviewed on this blog.
Have you got any further tips for negotiating budgets?