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Pitching a plan they can’t afford

“Hi, you probably don’t remember me. We talked about 2 years ago about our website”.  Actually, yes, I did remember him. And it was 3 years ago, not 2.

Have you ever had one of those meetings with a client where everything goes right? The ideas are flowing, the visions are focused and the personalities are clicking. Then you hit a brick wall spray painted with the word “Budget”. What do you do here? Everyone is on the same page. Everyone in the room agrees that this is the solution they’re looking for, but they just can’t afford it right now. You can do one of 3 things:

  • Compromise. – This is what most people do in this instance, and it usually nets them a client. But wait, you just spent hours researching and presenting this perfect solution. Now you’re telling the client that they can do with less. Depending on the level of compromise you’re playing with fire here. If thought out carefully it can work, but it could very well end up that when you’re done there are a few important pieces to the puzzle missing. All it takes is for a website and/or marketing plan to be lacking in one area and the entire thing breaks down. That makes an unhappy customer who will blame you for not having their best interests in mind.
  • Stand your ground, shake hands and part ways. – Nobody will blame you for this, and as hard as it is this is better than the first option. You have standards and you’re not willing to compromise and that’s ok. Who knows, maybe the client will think of you down the road, if they’re still in business.
  • Know it was coming in the first place. – If one of the first questions out of your mouth isn’t “what kind of time and financial investment can you make in this project” then you’re probably running into this problem a lot.

See, it’s ok to make a plan that you know your customer can’t afford, as long as it’s accompanied by a road map. Tell your client about your perfect plan, then tell them how they can get there. As a web entrepreneur myself, I know that passion, determination and a willingness to learn matched with a few points in the right direction can take a website a long way. In fact, it will go so far that eventually they will need to make a decision – work on the web presence or work on their business. It’s at this point where they can afford to hand over the website and/or marketing plan to a professional firm that can take it to the next level, while they nurture the business to handle the increase. Now you’ve got yourself a client who’s educated, well versed, open to new ideas and understands the importance of an effective web presence. Now that’s a client we all want!

That brings me back to where I started this post. 3 years ago we met with a client, who I knew could not afford our services at that time. But we did the research, built the plan, and gave him a road map. Now his business is hopping. His website is pretty decent and he has some fairly good exposure. Another thing he’s got is a bigger budget. Now, after a few revisions to the original plan we’ve signed ourselves a new client. One whom I’m sure is going to take advantage of all the opportunities we can create and truly appreciate our services. We’ve got a client for life, and it only took 3 years to create.