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“This won’t take you long,” says the client…

Posted by Ilise Benun on


Don’t you hate it when a client says this, “This is just a small job. It shouldn’t take too long.”

Whether they are aware of it or not, this is code for:

“I can’t afford to pay much for this, so it couldn’t possibly take long.”

To me, that’s a red flag.

I’d much prefer a client who tells me directly they don’t have much to spend and asks what I can offer. Wouldn’t you?

Then at least you can negotiate. (Speaking of negotiating, listen to my new podcast interview on negotiating with confidence with veteran time lapse filmmaker and regular podcast guest, Michael e. Stern, whose voice oozes confidence, even when he’s being humble!)Michael e Stern on Negotiating with Confidence

So whenever a less-than-ideal client starts a conversation about a project this way, here’s what you can say,

“Actually, what you’re asking for is
more involved than you imagine.
So let’s talk about your goals and
we’ll do our best to offer an affordable solution.”

Even the pros hear this from their clients — so don’t think it’s you. In response to this tip, renowned copywriter, Bob Bly, wrote, “I often hear, ‘But Bob, this will only take you 5 minutes.’ I reply, ‘Nothing takes just 5 minutes.'”

But I am starting to understand why this happens — I’m learning from my own experience, because I also am guilty of this when I am the client — read about that here….

For more clear and direct responses to the crazy things clients say, download my “Money Talk Cheat Sheet.” 

And if you like this post, be sure to sign up to receive bi-weekly Quick Tips here.

  • More in: Bob Bly, Freelancing, HOWLive podcast, Micheal e. Stern, negotiating, Podcast, Pricing, problem clients, talking money

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