We live in uncertain times, the crisis has maybe reached it’s peak, but still customers aren’t really very eager to pull their wallet out of their pocket to pay for a new logo, corporate identity or website. Nowadays customers are even trying to bargain or to get discounts, etc.
We graphic and web designers don’t have the biggest luck with the ‘position’ of our field of industry, because investments in graphic and/or web design done by companies are 90% of the time the balancing item in their budget(s).
Forgetting or not knowing that a strong recognizable Brand Identity is perhaps the single most important factor in determining whether a new company or business will establish early on and succeed. Brand Identity is the foundation from which everything else flows and provides a focused, professional, consistent and unified idea on which strong brands are built.
But there is also a huge competition on the internet, not only by professionals, but especially by the wanna-be-designers. Who hasn’t heard the remark after presenting your tender for a logo design (in vector format, .. of course!) that you was too expensive .. and that their nephew will do it for free in (probably a hacked version of) Photoshop, .. sigh!
“IF YOU THINK GOOD DESIGN IS EXPENSIVE, YOU SHOULD LOOK AT THE COSTS OF BAD DESIGN”
Dr. Ralph Speth, CEO Jaguar
So, what to do if your client does not agree with the price of your tender? Don’t start giving discounts immediatly, first try to convince your client with the following 6 tips.
1. Give the Client Clarity
You must be able to explain your price to the client at all times. Don’t limit yourself in giving extra information in your tender. If you don’t add extra information, then only the final amount will raise questions, therefore include your hourly rate(s), used materials and – if applicable – the amount of hours for research and development.
Explain how you will work, what will be your target date for delivering the project, make sure the prospects knows what he/she is up to when working with you. Always be professional, honest and transparent.
2. Chop the Price up into bite size Pieces
Put the price in the right perspective for your client: “Okay, this is what you’ll pay for this project now, but you’ll be having this corporate identity for at least 10 years if your company, strategy or goals aren’t to change drastically over time”.
Break the total amount in smaller pieces by telling which services are included into the design process, for instance when you’re making a tender for a website chop the process up in coding, keyword research, search engine optimization, browser compatibility, validation according to W3C web standards, etc. and add a realistic price to that part of the process.
Not only does a client see which stages there are in your design process, but also how much services he/she will actually get!
Also a good alternative is to divide the total price into smaller bits, and to send the client 6 monthly bills instead of 2 or 1? It’ll cost you a little more time billing, but the client has the chance to spread the payment and the best part is, .. you will have a new project!
3. Explain the Difference
Try to find out who your direct competitors are in this specific project and what the differences are between the two or more variuos tenders. Feel free to ask about this when speaking to your prospect, use it as an argument to see if you can do something extra, without using the word ‘discount’.
Listen carefully to what the prospect has to say and make sure to ask specific questions about the services or techniques used by your competitors to realize this project. Focus on the differences and explain what it is the prospect most probably will get when working with the competition.
4. Point out the Deficiencies or Consequences
“Cheap becomes expensive”. An old Dutch proverb and wisdom, but even in 2011 as true and realistic as 100 years ago. Your potential client is only seeing a low price, or some kind of ‘basic’ setup. It’s up to you to explain that cheap work often results in cheap performance and that a customized product/service will gain the company more consumer trust than some kind of ‘basic’ crap.
How about the used technique (is it still up-to-date?) or material, what about service, warranty, ownership copyrights, etc., etc. More than often this are the points that make the difference between irritation and satisfaction in the eyes of a consumer.
Tap into the negative feelings everyone has experienced in his/her life with cheap (crappy) products or services, cause we all have had several of those experiences when products just broke or promised services were cancelled.
5. Zoom in on Things you do not Charge for
Objections about a high price can be easily suppressed by telling the prospect the services or features that you don’t charge for. This could be everything, an extra service, warranty, free hosting, ownership of the copyright or installation costs for example.
Besides a product or service you also sell a ‘good feeling’, that positive feeling for the customer can be enhanced by focusing on the after-sales that aren’t billed. You’ll give the prospect the feeling he/she will be getting something extra for the same price.
List down the details of the pricing and the aftercare arrangements that you will take for the price that you are offering. List down the benefits and the money value of your bid, make sure you secure Best Value by considering quality, design, and extra services, .. and not just the lowest tender price.
6. Go Back to the Targeted Buying Motives
Take the client back to his/her original wish. The prospect has a realistic problem and asked you to solve this, the tender that you have presented is the solution to the prospect’s problem. Guide your prospect back to the targeted buying motives, there where it all started. Because sometimes the prospect can forget what he/she originally wanted and the focus is too much on the price.
Sometimes you just need to go that extra mile to convince a potential client that your product and/or services are professionally designed and that the prospect is better of with you than the other companies that sent the prospect a proposition. Giving your prospect clarity about your product or service, being transparent concerning the price and showing authority on the topic should give the right insight about you and your company.