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15 June 2024

This Proposal Tip Can Change Your Life

Time to read:

3 Mins

The Saturday Freelancer is free thanks to ClientManager

Kyle Prinsloo

Author

This one big secret could change your life.


Let me tell you why, and what happened to me...


My Sob Story


This one big secret could change your life.


Let me tell you why, and what happened to me...


My Sob Story

A lead contacted me wanting to meet to discuss his project.


We met at a coffee shop and he told me about his idea - a trading platform.


After our chat, I met with the team to discuss the project.


A week later, we had another meeting with this prospective client to discuss the project scope in more detail.


We talked about his needs, what features he wanted, any design inspiration or competitors.


After this, we had another team meeting to research it further and figure out how we could develop this custom solution.


We started looking into finding the right integrations and software developers to make it happen.


It took us weeks.


Then we had to figure out how much we’d charge the client.


We thought an amount in the 5 figure range made sense.


So we sent the proposal.


And guess what happened?


...Nothing.


No reply.


So, we followed up.


And eventually we got a reply.


Guess what he said?


“It’s way too expensive.”


So I asked what his budget was.


He said: less than $2,000 🫠


This one big secret could change your life.


Let me tell you why, and what happened to me...


My Sob Story

A lead contacted me wanting to meet to discuss his project.


We met at a coffee shop and he told me about his idea - a trading platform.


After our chat, I met with the team to discuss the project.


A week later, we had another meeting with this prospective client to discuss the project scope in more detail.


We talked about his needs, what features he wanted, any design inspiration or competitors.


After this, we had another team meeting to research it further and figure out how we could develop this custom solution.


We started looking into finding the right integrations and software developers to make it happen.


It took us weeks.


Then we had to figure out how much we’d charge the client.


We thought an amount in the 5 figure range made sense.


So we sent the proposal.


And guess what happened?


...Nothing.


No reply.


So, we followed up.


And eventually we got a reply.


Guess what he said?


“It’s way too expensive.”


So I asked what his budget was.


He said: less than $2,000 🫠


My Big Mistake


I told myself there had to be a better way.


So I went for a long walk… to my couch.


And as I thought about it I realized my big mistake:


I hadn’t QUALIFIED this lead.


I had spent all this time and effort figuring out how to DO the project, but I’d forgotten the most important part:


Checking first if the client would be able to pay up.


With this particular client, it was a classic case of different expectations.


He expected it to be a simple, cheap project, and I expected it to be a big and lucrative project.


So the question is: how do you avoid this situation?


You need to qualify every lead before you waste time on the HOW - before you even put a proposal together.


So how do you do that?


You ask them a very specific question.


Here’s the one I use:


“Do you have a budget set aside for this project, and is it at least over $X?”


If they say yes, I’ll continue with more questions to understand the project.


If they say no, I’ll ask, “what is your budget?”


And if it’s completely unreasonable, I’ll suggest they work with someone else.


How to Solve for X


Now you might be asking, how do I know what my X is?


This is the minimum amount you’d be willing to accept for the project.


It might be a gut feel, but it’s a starting point (and your gut should get better at this the more you do it).


If you’re still not sure how to figure out your minimum desired about, I share 4 ways to price a website in this video.


Once you’ve solved for X, here’s another way you can pose the question to a client:


“Our minimum engagement for a website is X, but it depends on the scope of the project. Is that ok for you?”


When to qualify a lead


The most important part of all of this is:


WHEN do you ask this question?


Do you wait until you send the proposal?


Or maybe the 3rd call?


My advice:


Ask this question within 5 minutes of talking to your lead.


Sometimes I ask within the first minute.


Why?


Because I value my time.


I don’t want to waste it on dead-ends when I could be spending it:


  • Working on my business.

  • Spending time with family.

  • Playing golf or tennis.


This one big secret could change your life.


Let me tell you why, and what happened to me...


My Sob Story

A lead contacted me wanting to meet to discuss his project.


We met at a coffee shop and he told me about his idea - a trading platform.


After our chat, I met with the team to discuss the project.


A week later, we had another meeting with this prospective client to discuss the project scope in more detail.


We talked about his needs, what features he wanted, any design inspiration or competitors.


After this, we had another team meeting to research it further and figure out how we could develop this custom solution.


We started looking into finding the right integrations and software developers to make it happen.


It took us weeks.


Then we had to figure out how much we’d charge the client.


We thought an amount in the 5 figure range made sense.


So we sent the proposal.


And guess what happened?


...Nothing.


No reply.


So, we followed up.


And eventually we got a reply.


Guess what he said?


“It’s way too expensive.”


So I asked what his budget was.


He said: less than $2,000 🫠


My Big Mistake

I told myself there had to be a better way.


So I went for a long walk… to my couch.


And as I thought about it I realized my big mistake:


I hadn’t QUALIFIED this lead.


I had spent all this time and effort figuring out how to DO the project, but I’d forgotten the most important part:


Checking first if the client would be able to pay up.


With this particular client, it was a classic case of different expectations.


He expected it to be a simple, cheap project, and I expected it to be a big and lucrative project.


So the question is: how do you avoid this situation?


You need to qualify every lead before you waste time on the HOW - before you even put a proposal together.


So how do you do that?


You ask them a very specific question.


Here’s the one I use:


“Do you have a budget set aside for this project, and is it at least over $X?”


If they say yes, I’ll continue with more questions to understand the project.


If they say no, I’ll ask, “what is your budget?”


And if it’s completely unreasonable, I’ll suggest they work with someone else.


How to Solve for X

Now you might be asking, how do I know what my X is?


This is the minimum amount you’d be willing to accept for the project.


It might be a gut feel, but it’s a starting point (and your gut should get better at this the more you do it).


If you’re still not sure how to figure out your minimum desired about, I share 4 ways to price a website in this video.


Once you’ve solved for X, here’s another way you can pose the question to a client:


“Our minimum engagement for a website is X, but it depends on the scope of the project. Is that ok for you?”


When to qualify a lead

The most important part of all of this is:


WHEN do you ask this question?


Do you wait until you send the proposal?


Or maybe the 3rd call?


My advice:


Ask this question within 5 minutes of talking to your lead.


Sometimes I ask within the first minute.


Why?


Because I value my time.


I don’t want to waste it on dead-ends when I could be spending it:


  • Working on my business.

  • Spending time with family.

  • Playing golf or tennis.


Bonus Tip


To create an effective web design proposal:


Always provide 3 pricing options.


When I was a freelancing baby, my proposal only had one final price for the project.


But I realised I was leaving money on the table.


Let me ask you, how do you make a $10,000 Rolex look affordable?


You place it next to a $100,000 Rolex.


This is called Price Anchoring.


We want to do the same thing with our pricing!


As a guideline:

  • Option 1 should be your minimum desired amount ($3,000)


  • Option 2 should be 50% more than option 1 ($4,500)


  • Option 3 should be 80-100% more than option 2 ($8,000)


What you’ll find is most clients choose option 2, and some choose option 3.


You’ve just made more income, where you would’ve lost out by only offering one price.


Now the question is, the next time you get a lead, how are you going to handle it?


That’s it for this week.


Cheers!

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