We’ve all been there before, presenting the best offer to your client. Even your client knows that they’ll benefit immensely from what you have to offer. And right after you’ve finished your presentation, the client drops the bombshell… They simply have no budget to engage you… So what can you do?…
“I’m Very Sorry, But We Simply Have No Budget To Run This Project”
Regardless what business you’re in, you’ll most likely have encountered something similar to this. This is especially evident in the service industry, when you’re trying to sell something that’s medium- to long-term, like a branding exercise. So what’s one to do when you hit the stone wall (or rather budget wall)?…
Well, you could do one of the following :-
(1) Turn Around And Walk Away
This is a surefire way to lose the sale. Of course, all salesmen (and women) have been taught about the sales closure rate. So if your closure rate is 10%, then this must be one of the nine doors that will close on you before you can find one that opens to you, right?… Well, yes and no. You see, that 10% is not carved in stone. And you actually do find some of your peers with a closure rate consistently higher (or lower) than this “standard” rate. So what’s stopping you from closing this one?…
Verdict – You lose!
(2) Reduce Your Price And/Or Increase Your Deliverables
It’s true that certain clients simply can’t live without a bargain. And bargain with you, they definitely will. They’s probably compare you with your competitors, insisting that they want to work with you… but at your competitors’ pricing. And you’re seriously contemplating whether or not to give in to their pressure. You consider reducing your price for the same offer, or increase your deliverables whilst maintaining your price. Anything to get your client to commit to you, so that you can close your sale.
But think about it – even if you manage to close this sale, you’ve reduced your overall profitability. You can almost guarantee that you’ll feel sore/angry afterwards. And this is detrimental to your future business, especially in the service industry. When your mood is down, you’d most likely not deliver to your usual 100%. You’d probably think the client wouldn’t realise it, or give it a pass since they squeezed you real hard on the price. And you’d be wrong… They’ll definitely realise it. But that’s not the worst. They’ll probably complain to their peers about how shoddy your work is, wrecking your future to secure other clients in the future.
Verdict – you win some, you lose some!
(3) Counteroffer Something Else To Fit Their Budget
You can maintain that your offer is worth what you’re asking for. So instead of actually closing your sale with them, you counteroffer them with something else that will meet their budget. You could offer reduced deliverables down to a price that they’re comfortable with. However, do stress that this isn’t the full fledged service as your original offer. And do make sure that they know exactly what they’re signing up for should they agree to proceed. Alternatively, you could offer to introduce somebody else who can offer what you do, but at an asking price that can meet their budget.
You don’t get to close this sale, but at least you part ways in good faith. Of course, make sure to you emphasise that you ask for your price because you’re definitely worth the value. Then you can subtly drop some hints that the other guy’s cheaper alternative may not be worth your value…
Verdict – you win some, you lose some! But at least you didn’t burn the bridge. There could always be a return further down the line.
Be Prepared To Walk Away, And Mean It
Many people think that whenever two persons enter into a negotiation, somebody has to win, and the other person has to lose. Like a coin toss, it’s either heads or tails. There’s no way for the coin to land on its side, thus neither heads nor tails.
When it comes to two parties entering a negotiation, sometimes, the coin really does indeed land on its side. And the outcome will be that both parties win (favourable outcome), neither party wins nor loses (not favourable, but totally acceptable), or both parties lose (highly unfavourable).
Negotiation doesn’t always go the way that you planned. In fact, most of the time, it doesn’t. So if it isn’t taking you anywhere, and you feel that you’re being pressured into a corner, just man up and walk away. You haven’t lost anything yet. Walking away is always better than accepting an unfavourable offer. At least your reputation is still intact.
But oftentimes, your client will not corner you all the way to the wall. They’ll almost always leave you a lifeline. I’m not saying that this lifeline is a guaranteed favourable compromise, but explore all avenues nonetheless.
How I’ve Learnt To Cope With This Situation
When it comes to branding consultancy, it’s a well-known fact that you can only advise your client on how best to grow their brand. As to whether they actually act on your advice or not is usually beyond your control. So I’ve devised a plan to breakdown my services into several options to meet my potential client’s budget :-
(1) Full-Service Package (Complete With Content Creation Services)
The core of every branding exercise is its content creation. And clients are notorious for their inability to commit to churning out contents on a regular basis. Hence the full-package, where I provide writers and content creators to help my clients to tell their stories, consistently.
Of course, this package is the priciest of them all, and will definitely not meet the budget constraints of many potential clients.
(2) Half-Service Package (Clients Create Their Own Contents)
Should the client be interested in our services, but are unable to pay our asking price, this is the package that we’ll recommend. The branding consultancy part remains the same, but the clients themselves will have to commit to churning out contents regularly and consistently.
Of course, we’ll guide them on the type of contents to create, and how to publish them in such a way that it regularly attracts traffic. However, based on past experience, most clients will eventually succumb, and completely stop the content creation altogether.
So if a client signs up for this package, I always leave an open-ended option to upgrade them to the full-service package. But I’m also always prepared that the client may simply choose to terminate their branding exercise altogether should they arrive at this point.
(3) Budget Package (Brand Audit And Branding Recommendations)
And finally, for the client who has the tightest budget of all, the most economical branding package. Well, technically it isn’t a “branding” package per se. It’s more of a one-off brand audit of the client’s existing brand identity (or lack thereof), and then provide a list of recommendations on how they can build and improve on their brand identity.
We take no responsibility as to whether the recommended actions are actually taken or not. Hence, we give no guarantee of any improvement in their brand identity. The client’ll have to make the effort if they want to improve on their brand identity.
Of course, if they do come back, requesting for “help”, we’d be more than happy to comply.
Never Say “No” To A Potential Client
The take away from this article is that one should never say “no” to a client. If things don’t look promising, you can always choose not to commit, and simply walk away. Whatever you do, never say “no” to them. Always leave in good faith, ‘cos you’ll never know when they’ll ask for you again in the future. Never let the client’s lack of budget be an excuse to squeeze you into a corner.
If you’re still reading this article, you’re probably interested in branding services. You’re also probably still unsure if you can afford to pay for it. Don’t worry, just drop us a message, and we’ll have a no-commitment chat on how you can do just that with whatever budget you have.
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Hello Jan, and thanks for your kind comments. Perhaps if you could drop us a message on the Contact Us page (link on the menu bar above), and I’ll get back to you with more details. Looking forward to hear from you.