There are ways to strong-arm a highly competent Freelance professional who is ready to give a client his/her best work into accepting less than that Freelancer’s proposed project fee. So many desperadoes are willing to work for pennies and that can make it difficult for those whose work quite simply is more valuable because s/he brings expertise and work ethic that ensure the project work will be flawless and client expectations will be met. Those qualities should justify almost any project fee. But sometimes, clients like to low-ball.
What do you do when s/he who would be your client tells you that you charge rather more than others for the same work? Remember that the best defense is a good offense and start justifying your pricing strategy from your initial contact with the prospect. Continuously model professionalism and expertise that separate you from the hoi polloi.
Remember also that Rule Number One in the consultant’s bible is to never cut your price. Not-for-profit organizations can receive a 10%- 25% discounted rate, but under no circumstances do you lower your hourly or project fee for any client.
Instead, add in a modest service upgrade at no charge, to make the price more palatable. You can also scale back the work and that would be associated with a fee reduction, but one does not do the originally requested work for less money. If the client becomes adamant about receiving the original project specs at less than your proposed fee, then find the courage to walk away.
I know that billable hours may not be falling out of trees, but you cannot participate in a race to the bottom. Do not get sucked into competing with online Freelance service mills. Read on and learn to create your rebuttal.
Exhibit your expertise
Clients get what they pay for and pay for what they get! Let prospective clients know that when you are hired, a task can be completely handed over to you and you will own it. Furthermore, you are willing to use your expertise to make suggestions that might improve the quality of the project deliverables. You are a first-rate service provider who is dependable, responsive, talented and trustworthy. Your work is done correctly the first time and there will be no need for either micromanaging or do-overs. The client’s role in completing the project will be much lighter and that adds up to value. These practices and competencies are reflected in your project fee and hourly rate.
Reveal your responsiveness
Especially when an important deadline looms, reassure your prospect that you are prepared to work hard and ensure that project milestones and the deadline are met. You understand that sometimes, late nights, weekends and holidays must be at least partly devoted to work. Your admirable work ethic is reflected in your project fee and clients who are in a hurry find your fee structure reasonable. Your project fee includes timely communications, responding to feedback, generating ideas and more.
Demonstrate your dependability
Clients can be confident and relax when you are on the job because they know and trust your work, attention to detail and diligence. You make life easier and allow the client to attend to other duties while you manage the project. Project work is reliably completed as requested and within budget. Your clients look good to their superiors, peers and direct reports. No one winds up with egg on their face when they hire you.
Trot out your testimonials
In addition to your LinkedIn recommendations and endorsements, you no doubt will be able to supply client testimonials from one or two satisfied customers who will speak on the record with a prospective client. If you have one or two client success stories on your web site so muh the better, as these are case studies that detail the client journey and spell out the wonderful work you can do.
Thanks for reading,
Photograph: Mike Tyson (left) by Milo threeoneseven for ESPN (date unknown)