Why Potential Clients Balk at Your Price

We've all been there. You're super pumped after a great meeting with a potential client, spend a ton of time drafting up a proposal (and let's be honest - it looks amazing), and eagerly await their response.

Then it happens. The moment that we all hate in the core of our being...

The client balks at the price. Perhaps flat out rejects it. Or worse? Stays silent and never responds.

I've heard a lot of advice for what to do AFTER this happens: don't take it personally and move on; explain your value; talk to them to see why they think it's too high; ask them what THEY think the value is worth; etc. And while no creative ever gives this advice to another, many people still wobble under pressure and lower their prices in this situation. It's like we immediately become plagued with self-doubt and worry that maybe we really did quote it too high.

But what's really going on here? When people "need time" or something is "too expensive," it's usually because they are uncertain of one of two things (or both):

1) They may not be sure of the gravity of their needs.

I'm sure you've had someone with a terrible website think that it's "decent" right? And YOU'RE thinking, "Haha! Don't make me laugh."

They say to themselves (or to you), "Well yeah I need a new one, but it's not like our company is going under. We do get SOME traffic....."

That's actually a defense mechanism, and you need to help uncover that problem they're having more specifically. You need to ask the right questions that help you dig deeper into their situation. You need to let them do the talking so they realize the really terrible place they are in with their crappy website. If you don't do this, you are actually doing them a disservice. It's not mean, it's being willing to make them feel uncomfortable - even if it's uncomfortable for you - so that they ultimately SAVE their business in the end.

Yes, I said you need to help them save their business.

But not for free because that's ridiculous. They're not balking at your price because saving a business shouldn't cost anything. They're balking at it because they don't realize they need saving in the first place.*

2) They may not be sure you are the BEST solution. 

In other words, you may have had an awesome consultation from YOUR perspective, but they may not have gained certainty on the value you're bringing them. So to a customer, what makes your web design or logo different than that other guy down the street? Or some chick on Fiverr?

You might know the difference, but that's because you're a creative. The customer is not, which is why they need you. They probably can't tell the difference between a great design and a good design, and if they could, they may rather just settle for good based on price. You need to help them see your value beyond your skill set in a way that they care about. You need to speak their language and stop talking about the details of your process. Honestly, they don't really care, especially not before you've made the sale. Now if they ASK what your process is, well that's different. But we creatives almost always start talking about it ourselves.

What the client really cares about are things like:

  • How will they make more money?
  • How will they stop losing so much money?
  • How much new traffic will they get?
  • etc.

By asking the right questions, you will greatly decrease these two objections to your price. It doesn't mean you will always get a yes from your client, but you can bet that the majority of them will want to work with you even if they have to say no.

What other objections do you get to your price?


*Even if you don't design websites and don't think your clients need "saving," this concept still applies.