Today’s question is: Should you take the fee you charge for a first paid appointment and credit it from the total design fee for the project? It’s a great question!

First of all, the first appointment needs to be paid for. It is virtually impossible to go from free to charging a lot in one big swoop. So, it’s vital to teach clients to pay you from the start. You want to show value in that first appointment. Your clients need to not only get value from it, but they also need to realize you aren’t free.

The value you give in that first meeting should be substantial. It could be something that moves the job along further. You could do a budget on the fly, which is a fabulous thing to offer on a first appointment. It will help the client know what the job will cost. You will also figure out if it’s a job that you want to make an offer for and how much to put in for your design fee. By giving them a lot of value, they can appreciate the appointment more, and you get to show off your knowledge of design.

You don’t need to pretend that you won’t have to “not talk design ideas” to a prospective client until you’re hired because they’ve hired you for that first appointment. It’s your opportunity to show clients what you can do. Then, you will have an idea if they are really a client or not, and if it’s a job you can take on. If so, you can make them an offer.

Watch the video above where I delve into the three reasons why this selling psychology strategy can be successful. I encourage you to always do paid first appointments. Don’t do them for free so that you can establish your value and position yourself correctly from the very beginning. Make your offer this way so that you have some leverage to get hired to do the rest of the job.

Until next time, design something beautiful and get paid what you’re worth.

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