There’s something you must do in your first conversation with every prospect.
You need to talk money.
You don’t necessarily need to quote a firm price. And you don’t need to get into every detail of your pricing structure.
But you need to bring up money during the conversation.
Otherwise, you have no idea how your prospect is thinking about the value of your work. Or what kind of budget he or she is working with. Or how the person is thinking about the project.
Here’s how I do it. Once the prospect and I have discussed the project goals and scope, I’ll have a pretty good idea of how savvy the prospect is. Based on that, I’ll approach the issue in one of two ways:
In the first scenario, there’s always a good chance that the prospect will throw the question back at you. He or she might say something like “Well, I’m not really sure. What do you typically charge for something like this?”
If that happens, quote a ballpark figure. Here’s what I say:
Notice that I’m asking the money question again.
Why? Because I’ve just given the prospect what he or she wants — an idea of how much I charge. And once I do that, it’s easier to ask for something in return.
The response gives me a good idea of what kind of prospect I’m dealing with. And I can proceed accordingly.
Plus, if we’re too far apart, I want to know that now — not after I’ve spent hours talking with the prospect and putting together a quote or proposal.
This “always talk money” (or “ATM” for short) rule will save you a lot of time. And it will put more money in your pocket by helping you focus on prospects that are a better fit.
ATM: a very fitting acronym for a very important step in the client-intake process.