First I should say that this request is rarer than you may think.
This may be the type of client that is unsure of herself and will look for any excuse to get out of a project, delay things and make your life unpleasant in general.
If you’ve done a good job of educating your ideal consulting client and have given them plenty of reasons to see the value that you can provide to solve their problem they’ll have few reasons to worry about your fee.
In many cases, but not all, the type of client that asks for a discount on your fee is the type of client you have to worry about for two reasons:
1) That you haven’t done a good enough job of demonstrating what value your client will receive – and that means that they won’t be fully committed to the project if they don’t believe their ROI will be significant.
2) This may be the type of client that is unsure of herself and will look for any excuse to get out of a project, delay things and make your life unpleasant in general.
That aside, if a genuine prospect asks you to lower your consulting fee, what should you do?
Here are a few ways to respond:
- You can flat out say “No, I don’t do that.”
- You can say “For long-term projects or when we agree to a set amount of on-going, or large scale project work, I can offer a 5-10% discount.”
- A variation on the above is that you can offer your client a small discount if they pay you for the full project upfront.
- Another option is to respond with “I can reduce my fee if we reduce the scope of the project, what did you have in mind?”
These responses will typically get the conversation back on track.
My preferred method and the one I recommend is that you ensure that you have (and if you haven’t that you do so right away) described to your client the value they will receive.
In the Consulting Success System I talk about how to clearly articulate the return on investment your client will receive.
If your project fee is $75,000 that may sound like a lot.
But if your client is going to generate an extra $300,000 in profit as a result of the project with you at the helm, suddenly that $100,000 doesn’t look so bad.
The takeaway here is to ensure that you’re prepared with these responses when, and if, your ideal client asks you this question.