What to do when they just want a price

Here’s another question I answered recently through my mentoring service.

Q: I have a prospect that I’ve been keeping in touch with periodically. When we first spoke he told me that has a designer he already uses. Last week I sent a keep in touch email and he replied: “Thanks, I appreciate you keeping me in the loop. How much do you charge for design time? We have someone we use here. I’d like to be able to compare/contrast.” How should I respond?

A: The easy option is to compose an email message that explains clearly why you can’t just give your hourly rate and why pricing by the project is better for everyone. But you’ll probably never hear from him if you do that.

I think you could get a different response if you call him because in real time you’d have a chance to show what you know by asking the “right” questions and maybe even offering suggestions – and that must be done in real time. 

So here’s what I would do, especially if he’s waiting for an answer: pick up the phone and call.

Don’t even email that you’re going to call. Don’t offer to speak on the phone. Just pick up the phone and try to reach him — now.

If you get him, say this:

“I understand you want to compare my pricing to the person you’re using, but I don’t quote hourly – it’s all per project. That's better for everyone. That way you know what you're spending and I know what I'm earning.

"So in order to give you a price, I need some information. Even if the current project isn’t what I’d be working on, tell me about it and then I’ll get back to you with an idea of what I’d charge. That way you can compare.”

Then you proceed to ask the questions you’d need answers to in order to price the project.

If you don’t reach him, then you can simply leave that same message as a voice mail.

If he’s not willing to have the conversation, he’s really not a good prospect.

If you have a burning question, sign up for the free mentoring session here.