I was chatting with one of my friends the other day over a nice pint of Staropramen and the conversation eventually worked its way around to the state of the economy and how people expect to get so much more for much less money.
The following was a response he had got to a recent proposal he had submitted:
"You may wish to re tender for nearer to half that amount (include VAT please)"
Not alone did they want him to halve the quote - but they also want him to absorb the VAT hit (20% here in England).
Of course he is saying "no" – but it got me to thinking of all the reasons why this may have happened and of the other things he could have said instead of just the plain no…
My first thought is you definitely never want people like this as clients as true to the Pareto Principle 80% of your difficulties will come from 20 of your clients – and by haggling so intensely like this at the beginning they have proved themselves already to fall into that 20%! It reminds me of a response one of my colleagues used to give in response to situations like this:
“I usually don't work with people who negotiate and lowball like you do. Because you just proved to be a pain in the rear, I'll only agree to work with you with an added PIA fee of 50% AND I can fire you as a client anytime I want. If this is acceptable to you, then maybe I'll think about it.
If not, please go be a pain somewhere else. My time is way too valuable and I've already wasted some of it with you.”
Which although harsh always made him feel better!
On a more serious note there are two other factors that are immediately obvious. I know my friend and the exceptional quality of the work that he produces therefore for these people to haggle to this extent means one of two things – they didn’t see the value in what he was offering or they were just tyre-kickers and time wasters.
One of the best ways to deal with both of those problems (and save yourself a lot of time in the bargain!) is to make sure that all prospective clients / patients / call them what you will are properly qualified – and you can do that via a well-established, regularly contacted email list.
If you have already built a rapport with them via emails (and your other web presence) they are already pre-sold on what they do before they contact you. The only thing left to discuss is when they want to start working with you and this is only after they have contacted you. No more chasing clients, cold calling or the like just a constant stream of pre-sold, hot, eager prospects.
If you haven’t already built this rapport than you can use wording along the lines of the following at your initial meeting:
“My minimum fee is X. It's important we get this established now, because if your budget can't stretch to that, there's no point in taking this any further. Do you have the budget and the authorisation to meet my minimum fee?”
If not refer them to your biggest competitor saying something along the lines of:
“Thanks for your time, but no one I know can deliver the highest quality results and give you exceptional service AND do it all at a low price. So I'm afraid I'll have to pass this time. Get back to me when you have the budget to pay for the quality you need.”
There is a brilliant little book on this (and it is well worth investigating and owning!) which shows you how to implement a lot more of these strategies and it is called “The Jelly Effect” by Andy Bounds which focuses on the afters or how you can talk about the benefit of what you do and offer and how their business / lives are going to be better off after you deliver your services.
Too many people focus on the features and how the service will be delivered and people don’t care about that all they are interested in are the benefits to them – and if you can master that you have perfected a major part of your business life.
To get your free 16 step report guaranteed to boost your own client base go to http://www.exponentialpracticegrowth.com/newsletter. If you are looking for easy to implement free business building strategies the information in this report is for you and is applicable to all businesses.
I have been involved in complementary health for over 25 years as both practitioner and lecturer. During this time I noticed that there was a wide discrepancy between how successful individual clinics were - a difference which had very little to do with the skill of the practitioner.
Learning from these successful practitioners allowed me to develop a system of easy to implement, ethical ideas for practice growth - the Exponential Practice Growth programme.