Get a email script for responding to a prospective client who hears your fee or receives your proposal and tells you that you're too expensive.
What’s the comeback for when a prospective client tells me I’m too expensive and they can’t afford to work with me?
I am never going to be the cheapest option, lowest bid, or least expensive choice. I operated in that realm for years when I was young and inexperienced and didn’t know any better and it almost killed me. I worked around the clock, every day of the week, missing family functions and skipping events with friends. I was overloaded, overworked, overcommitted, overbooked, and overwhelmed, from overpromising and undercharging.
Then I got over it and learned how to do better business.
I learned how to better take care of my business, myself, and my clients. The first step was raising rates and aligning my project fees with the value clients receive and the impact of my work. This ensures I am compensated fairly for my time and allows me to work with fewer clients at a time, which means my clients always get me at my best and receive a higher quality end product.
Today, I don’t negotiate my rates.
I track my time and I know how long the work I do takes. I also know my hourly rate, the value of my time, and the impact my work has on my clients’ businesses, and I charge accordingly. I am confident in my packaging and pricing because it’s based on data and not made up or pulled out of thin air.
This means I won’t be sharing scripts for negotiating against yourself, lowering your rates, or providing discounts. Instead, I’m sharing three client service scripts to help you remain firm with your project pricing and own the value you bring to the table — scripts to help you say no to new work and turn away clients that don’t align with your business vision, niche, and goals.
Use these scripts to:
- Encourage and reassure a client who wants to hire you but is hesitant because of the cost to make a decision without pressure.
- Acknowledge that the initial proposal may be out of reach and offer a different option that is in their budget range.
- Agree that you’re not inexpensive and make recommendations to check out low-budget, lesser-than options (that make you look even better).
Check them out!
If you want to educate the client on why you’re worth the investment…
I know this is a significant investment and that at this moment, it is a bit of a stretch.
I can assure you, however, that I am delivering a premium service you won’t receive with a low-cost alternative. My clients have seen results such as [RESULT] and [RESULT] because I ensure your website delivers the results you need right now and supports your big vision for the future.
The last thing anyone wants is to invest time, money, and energy into building a website only to have to do it again in a year or two.
If working with me is out of reach at this time, I understand and hope you’ll keep me in mind for the future.
If you are, however, able to move forward, let me know so we can get the ball rolling. I would love to partner with you to bring your big vision to life.
If you want to offer a smaller package at a lower rate…
I know the package I presented is a significant investment and that at this moment it is more than you budgeted for. Maybe another option would work better.
I revisited your project requirements and scope of work and have come up with an alternate option.
You’ll still get an amazing website and achieve [CLIENT’S BIG GOAL]. But instead of a custom solution tailored to your exact needs, we’ll start with a commercial solution, limit the design customizations, and dial back the feature set to stay within your budget.
The new proposal is attached for your review. You’ll notice these changes:
- [REDUCTION IN SCOPE]
If you have any questions, please let me know. Otherwise, if all looks good, let me know and we’ll get you a contract.
If you want to move on because it’s not worth the hassle…
I know this is a significant investment and that at this moment, it is more than you budgeted for and are comfortable with.
I am definitely not inexpensive and I understand that working with me right now might not be the best fit — and that’s okay. If things change in the future and you’d like to revisit working together, I’d love to speak with you again!
Otherwise, you might consider checking out something like [LOW-COST OPTION] or [LOW-COST OPTION].
These scripts are just three you’ll find in Confident Comebacks, a collection of professional client service scripts that will help you quickly and confidently craft firm, fair, friendly responses to sticky client situations.
Firm, Fair, Friendly
In all of my communication, I strive to remain firm, fair, and friendly — firm in my offer and value, fair in my service packaging and pricing, and friendly in my interactions. This approach has never steered me wrong, even when agreeing with a prospective client that working with me may be out of reach.
What’s important to understand is that while a prospective client may not be able to afford your services right now, that may not always be the case.
Some of my clients saved up for months and even years to work with me and their commitments paid off with sales, conversions, and revenue increases of 5x-10x their engagement fee in the first few months alone.
They wouldn’t have stayed in touch, saved up, and come back to work with me after hearing a no if I was dismissive or rude about their budget, talked down to them because they weren’t ready to invest at the level I required, or just shut them down and sent them packing.
- Remaining firm, fair, and friendly and showing empathy ensured they felt good about our conversation.
- Providing alternate options removed all pressure to make a decision and helped them feel comfortable.
- Leaving the door open for a future partnership demonstrated that I believed in their continued growth.
Wouldn’t you want to work with someone like that too? Of course!
So next time a prospective client tells you you’re too expensive, own it, acknowledge it, and remove all pressure to spend beyond their comfort level by sharing alternate options and leaving the door open for a future engagement.