What To Do When A Client Can’t Afford You
It finally happened. It finally happened! You always had a “wish list” of clients in the back of your mind (or the back of your desk) and you finally were able to snag them. The meeting went great and they loved all of your work. Everything seems like it’s going swimmingly until you hear those dreaded words: “Sorry, we just can’t afford you.”
It is the worst feeling in the world to know that you got so close – and did nothing wrong – but you still can’t work with your dream client. Or can you? Short of just lowering your fee to work with a favorite client, something freelancers are usually staunchly against (for good reason), what can you do?
Check out these great ideas below.
If the two of you really want to work together, maybe there’s a way to work it out. For example:
· Have the client’s staff do part of the work that you normally do – like research, finding stock photos, or posting content
· Negotiate an extremely long deadline so you can work on this project in your down time, or alternatively, only work on the project in your off-season
· Offer a simplified version of your services. Perhaps they only get two logo designs to choose from instead of the customary three. Or perhaps they only get one revision.
· Barter products or services. Maybe they can’t afford to pay you in cash but can give you gift cards or services.
There are plenty of terms you and the client can negotiate that won’t affect the quality of the work.
You don’t want to lower your prices but your potential client has doubts about hiring you for the price you have now. Why not meet in the middle and give them a price they can work with right out of the gate?
An introductory price gives you the advantage of gaining a great new client you’ve always wanted while also letting them know that the discount won’t be around forever. If they get a better look at what terrific work you do and how much good it does for their business, they’re more likely to sign up for a long time.
The introductory price might even work so well you want to implement it into your regular price scheme. It could bring in tons of other clients who otherwise would go with a competitor but can’t pass up a good deal.
Talk With Them
Just because the client says right out of the gate that they can’t afford you doesn’t mean it is the final word. They may just be stalling for time or just unsure of your business prowess. It may be just the time for a little follow-up.
Email or call them back and ask to further discuss what can be done to win them over to your side. You may discover there’s much more to the story than you originally knew – honestly, there usually is more to the story, and it’s worth your time to find out what it is.
Make sure to friend them on various social media as well. Even if you don’t establish a client/freelancer relationship now doesn’t mean it won’t ever happen in the future.
Have you ever worked with a client who couldn’t afford your services? How did you work it out?
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