Are you ready to talk numbers?

When you walk into a meeting with a client, are you ready to talk numbers? Whether a client wants to know your hourly rate or your quote for an entire project, you need to have a handle on your numbers before you meet.

That’s not to say that you need a firm estimate for a project. You should never give a firm quote without having time to think a project through. However, you need to understand that a client will want to have an idea of a project’s cost. You’ve got to have a plan for handling questions — and objections — about your fees.

When a prospective client asks me about my fees, I tell them my hourly rate, but add that my rate isn’t nearly as important as the project total and the value they’re receiving. If I can do the work three times as fast as someone charging half what I do, I’m actually the better value. It’s also important to get my clients to talk about the value they’ll receive from the project, so that they have more of a focus on what they stand to gain than what they stand to spend.

I talk about handling client objections to price in my Consulting Fees Guide. What steps do you currently take to prepare to talk price in client meetings?

Related to consulting fees

Tony says:

I try not to talk numbers/fees until they see the proposal with the options, value, and cost all tied together.

Your ebook on consulting fees is very helpful to determining your worth and setting a rate that is comparable to the market.

CCKHSC says:

Stressing obvious benefits is the first thing anyone should do when posing a project to a prospective client. While certainly your prospects are going to be from the beginning thinking, “What’s this going to cost me?” your job is to show them how cost is less important than the overall value they will be getting and the lifetime value of the relationship with you firm in terms of increased effectiveness and improved operations. I think providing a rate card also can help to answer a lot of questions about “price” and also reinforce the benefits they will be getting if they work with you. And, I agree – for your own good, you definitely need to set rates that are competitive with other high-end professional services firms in your industry right off the bat.

Andrea says:

Thanks, Tony. I try not to talk numbers, but some people want to have some idea of how you calculate your rate. I think it’s fair to explain your rate — but to outline all the factors that influence it. However, I would steer away from giving an estimate for the project.