Have you had potential clients telling you that they expect you to share your product discounts? I hear these stories about clients who want to hire your design expertise for a pittance and then want to manage how much money you make.
Don’t allow this to happen. It is a recipe for disaster and it’s wise to consider these scenarios:
Do you realize that you and your business carry the product liability on everything you buy and sell? This means that if something goes wrong, you need to stand behind the quality and correctness of every item you purchase for your client. This is true even when the vendor that you bought it from will not stand behind his product.
Do you know what is worse?
Bullying. Quite frankly, I believe that clients demanding to share discounts and wanting to control your money is a form of bullying.
Caving in to this kind of bullying pressure is the (Money Mirror) “Pleaser” behavior that will lead to client relationships that will only become more demanding and disrespectful as time moves on. Bad news.
Picture for a moment that same client going to a local retail furniture store and demanding to know how much the store is paying wholesale for one of their custom sofas. The store would laugh at the request! Then imagine that store allowing the client to tell them how much they were allowed to make on the sofa?
This scenario is never going to happen to a furniture retailer and it should never happen to you and your business either.
When you speak with confidence and clarity about your business and the way that you charge for your time and product purchases you will stop attracting bullying clients.
Here are some simple and easy ways to stand firm and be confident around clients who want to take advantage of you.
Tip #1 – Spend some time writing a script about how you work. Explain how your design fees are based on the scope of work involved and what services are included. Be sure to include your purchasing offer in this script. Practice reading your script out loud every day for 30 days, so that you become confident with these words. Be sure to post this page above your desk so that you can refer to it when a new client calls.
Tip #2 – When a prospective client calls and you make an appointment to see them, be sure to mail (not email) a thank you note that says “thank you for your call, I am looking forward to meeting you and finding out more about your project.” Include a “How We Work” or FAQ sheet to each client before you go to the first on-site meeting. This practice will set you apart as a professional and your terms of engagement are clearly stated a second time. This FAQ will help your potential customer ask good, clarifying questions so they understand exactly how you work.
Tip #3 – Last, but certainly not least, you have permission to say NO to clients who don’t respect your personal boundaries and your business parameters. When you let go of the high-maintenance, low-profit, “trying to get everything free” clients, you make room for the type of great clients who are a pleasure to work with to come into your business and pay you what you deserve for being an outstanding designer.