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How to start the money conversation with a client

Posted by Ilise Benun on

Have you ever had this conversation with a client or prospect?

Client: We need a new logo by Friday. Can you do it?

Designer: That’s a pretty quick turnaround, but yes, I think I can manage that.

Client: Great, let’s get started. Just keep track of your hours.

It’s so short, how could it be harmful?

The client is neither abusive nor demanding. They’re simply asking for what they need.

But notice what they’re not saying.

There is no mention of money, only deadline.

Does that mean the sky’s the limit when it comes to budget?

Or does it mean they haven’t given any thought to the budget yet?

You need to know. This is the moment not to let slip by. This is the moment to initiate the negotiation. If you don’t, you may pay for it later — literally.

So here’s what you say:

“Wait, let’s talk about money.”

Or, “Before we get started, talk to me about money.”

Trust me. It’s an absolutely normal part of any negotiation. There isn’t even a whiff of a confrontation.

And remember, negotiating is expected from a professional.

To find out what to say next so they know there’s a contract to sign and a deposit to pay before you get started, read the rest of my article, How to Navigate Design Contracts for Smooth Client Relationshipson the web site (or in the Fall 2016 issue of the actual magazine).


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