I used to worry about asking to get paid. I still do. There is (was?) some part of me that feels like a scumbag because I’m asking for money.
But it’s not actually like that. I realised that my clients WANT to give me money.
One client is struggling because their client can’t afford to pay them. But they are putting a plan in place to make sure I get paid. They want to pay me.
I’ve got a new client and I was holding off writing the contract because I thought they weren’t ready. He rang me up, interrupting me, and made me do it.
I had a coaching client and I was struggling to charge him because I was unsure if what I was doing was helping or not. He kept ringing me up reminding me to send him an invoice.
People WANT to pay you. They want to give you a fair rate. They trust you to do a good job and they know what that’s worth.
The clients who battle you on price – they don’t believe in you – and they’re invariably the cheapskates who never get what they want.
So don’t work for them.
You know you’re good at what you do. That’s why you dropped everything to work for yourself.
Find the clients who can see that. Find the clients who value what you do.
They’re out there. You just need to look in the right places.
Isn’t it nice when a potential client tells you their budget before you put together your proposal?
That way you can be sure you hit their numbers perfectly.
But let’s face it, it doesn’t happen often does it? Budget is a closely guarded secret, an adversarial tool in the war of attrition between you and your client.
Firstly, why is it so adversarial? That’s surely a bad sign for your future relationship. That’s why, for some of us, putting prices up front is helpful – it acts as a filter.
But you can also spin this around.
Instead of asking “how much are you willing to spend?” You can ask “what are you going to gain from this?” “If everything goes according to plan what difference does this make to your business?”
Everyone loves to talk about how great their idea is and you can use their measures of success to calculate the value of the project.
And then use that to price your proposal.
When I write a proposal, it always follows the same format.
What happens next
It’s pretty simple. It rarely takes me more than an hour to complete.
You could even argue that I’m just filling out a template.
And I guess that I am.
Because the structure is that way for a reason. It’s designed to guide the client to a conclusion, it’s designed to bring up objections early in the process so you can deal with them before they become a problem.
But just filling out the template isn’t going to win you the client.
What really matters is how you fill in the blanks.
What really matters is the information you put in there.
And that information is based on your conversations earlier in the process.
So, asking the right questions at the right time is absolutely vital.