How to explain pricing to clients

Analogy 1

Building a website (service industry) is more like planning a wedding than buying a car. These are both major purchasing decisions that will be very familiar to almost everyone over the age of 30 and lot of people in their twenties. Whereas a car is a single, finished product that you can compare directly with others, a wedding is an event, planning for which involves a series of decisions small and large, and the plans are always changing and evolving slightly as the date nears. If your neighbor has a Honda Accord and you want one too, then figuring out what to pay for it should be pretty easy. On the other hand, no two weddings are exactly the same, and it’s impossible to know exactly how much one will cost ahead of time. However, unless the bride-to-be is a millionaire or wants to land herself in major debt, she wouldn’t start planning a wedding without at least a ballpark figure in mind for her budget. Establishing a ballpark figure from the get-go keeps things from getting out of hand and lets the developer/wedding planner figure out the best way to make those dollars achieve their goals.

Walking through each step of my process and comparing it like this has helped me build trust and rapport with potential clients. Once the client understands the amount of detail-oriented research, design, coding and testing that goes into a quality web site, they more often than not develop greater appreciation for the process and a better understanding of the difference between an India-outsourced template site that costs $500 and a custom, professionally designed solution that might cost $5,000 or even $10,000, but will actually achieve or exceed their business goals.

Analogy 2

Hey. Why pay for talent? After all, anybody can write an ad.

True. It’s also true that anybody can play the violin.Tuck it under your chin, pick up the bow, rub the bow across the strings. Even on your first try, out comes sound. Rule of thumb:

Keep in house only those functions that you could profitably sell on the street against professional competition.

Most clients wisely outsource creative and media functions, for the same reasons they outsource tax audits, legal work, and elevator repairs. In-house creative is often uninspired, pitiful and/or painful.

Come on, now. What is your basic business? It ain’t elevator repair. Or writing headlines. Do inside what you do best and turn to pro’s for all the rest.


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