It’s a word you never really hear, but it can make a real difference in how well we succeed as entrepreneurs, and as people…that’s where we’re headed today.
Something that’s hard to keep in mind sometimes, as we’re going about our the daily routine of freelance work, is the fact that the person we’re dealing with at the other end of that Internet connection, or phone call, or Zoom session, is another human being like us. Not that we ever completely forget that. I mean, we have standard courtesies built into our routine, We say please and thank you, but sometimes it doesn’t go much further than that.
I've found that, in any communication with clients (or potential clients), it's effective to try to engage with them just a bit. I don’t get too personal or probing, but I show I am interested in them and recognize they’re not just someone putting quarters into a (in my case) voiceover vending machine. I want them to see that I’m taking their humanity into consideration. That doesn’t mean getting wordy, or taking them off topic. A lot of clients are busy people, and some will find it annoying if we get too personal or require too much back-and-forth with them. But in a small way, I like to make sure there is more of a connection with each person, even when it’s a small order, so they know I’m someone real, and that I recognize they are too.
One of the best, and most appreciated ways to do that is to acknowledge the needs of the client. They may, in some way, communicate to us that their needs are unique or special in some way, and our recognition of that in our answers can go a long way toward establishing a good long-term relationship with them
Let me give you a real-life example. Someone contacts you through the Fiverr inbox and says they have a project that needs your services. They explain they don’t have a very big budget for the project, and they ask what you can do for them. There are two ways we can respond. We can get rigid, and just say, “my price is my price,” or we can acknowledge their situation and give just a little and say, “I understand about the tight budget! Let me take X-amount off the price to help you out this time.” It doesn’t need to be a big sacrificial discount. Just enough of a reduction that you show you’re respecting their request for a little help on price. And it needn't set a precedent, if you include some sort of proviso in there like, "this time," or "on this occasion," or "on this first order."
Sometimes a Fiverr buyer will fill out a form when they request a custom quote from us, which includes a budget number. The budget number is below what we would normally charge for the project they’re describing. If we charge our full amount, it’s going to feel like sticker shock to them, so we send them a little note with the quote saying, “Let me try and help get a little closer to your budget with this price break (of X amount) on our first order together.”
Or, same scenario, but the orderer actually offers you a budget above what you normally charge. You’re fully within your rights to come right in at their offering price, and you should, in my opinion, because all pricing is relative to supply and demand, but let's soften the edge just a little. If they’re offering a budget of $125, and our normal rate is half of that, or 3/4 of that, we can afford to come in slightly below their stated budget and offer to do the job for, say, $110. We still come out well on it, and there’s a psychological benefit to it. Everyone wants to feel they’re getting a little price break, even if it’s a token.
Token price breaks really do have a magical impact. When someone asks for a price accommodation, don’t look at it as an annoyance. Look at it as an opportunity. If a buyer has a choice of two suppliers…one who is rigid and inflexible and communicates in tight little businesslike sentences with no sign of humanity about them, and the other supplier is…I won’t say “chatty,"...but cordial and shows some indication that they are listening and trying to be accommodating, which of the two is the client more likely to want to do business with? And when it comes time for the next project, who are they going to remember pleasantly and be more likely to come back to?
Once, decades ago, I listened to a really inspiring message series by an entrepreneurial expert named Earl Nightingale, who used a word that has stuck with me through all these years. “Reasonableness.” It refers to a mindset that looks at business relationships through a different set of eyes; you could say, a more human set of eyes. In a place like Fiverr, where we may already feel we are offering at least a fair price for our services, we may be tempted to look rather coldly on anyone who seems to be asking us to compromise in any way. And I’m not saying we should bend like a reed in the wind. But if we show even a small amount of flexibility, it communicates something important to the client; that we’re recognizing their situation and trying to do what we can to be reasonable.
Sometimes, what they ask of us is something we can’t do. What then? We can show our reasonableness by telling them what we CAN do. Rather than saying, “I can’t give you a discount,” we can say something like, “That’s lower than I am able to go, but let me tell you what I CAN do for you. I know you’re also tight on time for this project, and I will give you one-day delivery at no extra charge on this first order together.” So, at the same time that we’re holding firm on our price, we are demonstrating our goodwill to them in some other way.
Remember the word, “reasonableness.” It’s a good word…it rolls off the tongue. “Rrrreasonableness.” And each time you find yourself confronted by a situation like the ones I’ve described, try bringing it into play. It’ll not only win you more sales and more work, but more repeat business from clients who have come to see that you’re someone who respects them and isn’t just out for yourself.
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