I hear a lot of resentment from online consultants toward potential clients who question their price. You know, the old- why are you so expensive? I could get my neighbor, cousin, craigslist find, to do it for half the cost!
I know how infuriating it is to hear those words. It’s like getting all gussied up for a night on the town only to have you hubby call last minute to say he has to work late. You spent time thinking about working with the potential client, dreaming up strategies, talking with them so to you it only seems natural to take the next step and do it. When your client resists your price it hurts, whether you want to admit that or not.
So up go your defenses and you begin to think all kinds of evil thoughts about that potential client. Am I right? Of course, I am. Because when someone attacks your price by saying, wow, you’re expensive, your mind interprets that as an attack on your character and core identity. You hear: You’re greedy to charge that much. You’re a rip-off- it’s not that hard to do what you do.
That leads to some grandstanding statements like I’m the best at what I do and this is what I’m worth. Don’t get me wrong. I totally love the confidence. You have to be very confident in your abilities. However, new client have no idea how to determine the best. They don’t know how to evaluate your subjective claim of being the best. Testimonials help, true, but you can’t whip one of those out over the phone. So that’s not very convincing or effective.
Let’s shift thinking a bit. What if I told you there are many, many other reasons clients cry too expensive that have nothing to do with you?
Clients listen to what’s in it for me- WIIFM- radio. Sometimes the station doesn’t quite come in and it’s more like what’s gonna happen to me. These are the worries someone new to outsources or online consultants bring to the pricing or sales conversation.
- I don’t want to look stupid
- I’d hate to be taken advantage of
- Will I pay end up paying too much?
- Does this person really know what she’s doing?
- How will I manage if the job is botched or abandoned?
- Can I trust this person???
Your client wants to trust you but can’t do it quite yet. Think about how scary the conversation feels to her, especially if it’s her first time looking for online business help. Even though it seems like the Internet has been around forever some people still find it confusing, nerve-wrecking and dangerous to do business online. Your job as an independent consultant, the conscious Thought Leader, is to stay neutral in your emotions and help that person to make a decision.
What can you do to move forward?
Here are three things I do to lend a hand to someone who might not be my ideal client. Spending more time an unsure client seems counterproductive like more money down the drain. However, I’ve had the opposite experience. My willingness to hang in and help convinced clients that I did have their best interest at heart and they could trust me.
Use her comment to get deeper into conversation and discover her concerns
Look for workable solutions i.e. reducing the project scope; breaking it into chunks; referring to someone in your network
Be compassionate. There’s been a time when you’ve said those words-that’s expensive- and it didn’t mean you were bad, cheap, or a con artist, did it?
Is this a new idea? Would it change the way you interact with your online clients?