Why your clients won’t pay what you’re “worth”

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I admit, I’m not the greatest client.

For example, if my PPT deck needs a new look and feel (which it did! See the new one on the right — thanks to the amazing, Maureen Adamo), how long could that take? Isn’t it really just one slide with a few variations? What could be so complicated?The Only 5 Tools You Need

This may sound like I don’t appreciate or value the work it takes. But if you remember the “Clueless Client” from my “Problem Clients” presentation at the Ad Age Small Agency Conference, you’ll realize that it’s a simple case of wishful thinking, often rooted in a tiny (or non-existent) budget.

Because what the Clueless Client is really saying is, “This can’t take too long because I don’t have much to spend.”

You see, when I don’t have a big budget to spend, I pray the project won’t take too long or cost too much. (Although I know better than to say this out loud to a designer.)

I think this is what may be happening when some clients balk at your pricing.

They are, of course, not your ideal clients — they’re the ones you’re trying to get away from, the ones you’re trying to replace with better clients, which you hope are out there, if only they would find you. (Now that’s you engaging in a bit of wishful thinking, because you know that you have to go find them. Not sure how? Watch this video.)

Because if a client doesn’t understand your process, or isn’t aware of how much care and thought you put into your work, then they will have no problem convincing themselves there’s nothing to it. That’s how they become “problem clients.”

I think it’s actually your responsibility to cure them of this. And although you can’t avoid it altogether, one way to counter it is to use your own content marketing to educate your prospects about what’s actually involved in the work you do. (Case studies are a great way to do that — here are mine.)

Your marketing will go a long way to making them a little bit less clueless — although you can’t control their wishful thinking.

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