Accommodating a price sensitive client without discounting your price

Ooh, this is a sensitive topic that caused me endless grief until I figured out how to handle it. This has been a terribly difficult year for most businesses. As a result, you'll probably find that even your regular clients who never complain about price have limited budgets and are asking for cheaper prices.

I don't believe in discounting for the sake of it. It devalues your worth and it sends the message that you don't value your product or service.

"But, Marinda, I'm losing work because my client can't afford my prices at the moment. What do you suggest I do?"

I'm glad you asked.

Reduce your service offering instead of lowering your price.

We lost a bid this year and looking back, it could have been avoided if I'd handled it this way.

An old client who has never complained about price asked us for a quote on a video project. They wanted to create a video to tell the story of rural people supplying masks right in the middle of the Covid pandemic.

Naturally, I was very excited. It's exactly the kind of project I love working on. I created a quote that included everything I knew would make this project a success. It included a storyboard, script writing, a voice-over artist, and all the other bells and whistles this client would normally include in their projects.

The client came back to me and said that they were forced to go with a cheaper option because of their budget constraints.

Let's look at how I could have handled it differently to secure the bid:

  • I could have asked the client for a budget before quoting. This isn't always a fail-safe, clients often don't know what they want to spend until they see the quote. It would have been worth asking though.

  • I could have sent the client two quotes, one including all the bells and whistles, and a trimmed down quote that would still result in a successful outcome, but that would exclude quite a few of the luxuries included in the bigger quote.

I could have left out the storyboard, script writing and voice-over artist. If the client chose this option, they would have to do the concept and pre-planning. It's not ideal, but it could still work. Voice-over isn't always strictly necessary, we could have had text on screen where required. Again, not first prize, but also not a terrible compromise.

If I'd made these adjustments to a second quote, the price would have been much more affordable and we could have secured the bid.

You'll notice that I didn't actually discount our price at all. The client would still have paid full price for the cameramen, equipment and post-production, yet they would have saved a bundle.

I know that not every industry is the same, but I do hope that you're able to apply this when necessary so that you can secure your next bid.

Until next time,