When You’ve Priced Yourself Out of a Client’s Budget

I often encourage my coaching clients to raise their prices.

When they do, a lot of good things can happen beyond just extra income.

But when they raise their prices consistently over time, they may eventually price themselves out of a client’s budget.

And they get the “Sorry, I can’t afford you” email.

If this should happen to you, you have a couple of options to deal with it.

Some options are good. Some are bad.

Let’s look at the bad one first.

Bad Option: Lower Your Fees

Most people’s natural reaction to this kind of “I can’t afford you” rejection is to feel guilty. (“My fees are too high! I’m being unreasonable.”)

And so they reduce their quote.

In most cases, this is a big mistake!

If you truly want to grow your business and succeed, you need to charge fees that will enable you to live well in the world and invest back into your business.

And remember, your job isn’t to land every single client. Your job is to land the RIGHT clients for you at this point in time.

Plus, the “I can’t afford you” client probably isn’t the right client for you. At least, not anymore.

So don’t make the mistake of immediately offering to lower your fee.

Instead, try this next option:

Good Option #1: Offer to do Less for Less

Offering to do less for less is a great way to hang onto that client without lowering your fee.

Work within the client’s budget. For example, if they want three articles for $XX, offer to do two articles for that price.

Or negotiate other elements of the arrangement that are of value to you.

Maybe you could do fewer rounds of revisions. Or extend the deadline. Or help them with the strategy portion of a project and let them handle the writing portion.

Let me illustrate with an example: With the rising cost of beef a few years ago, steakhouses became too expensive for many household budgets. People could no longer afford top cut T-bones and Porterhouses.

In response, steakhouses started adding non-traditional cuts to their menus, such as flatirons and skirt steaks. And by adding delicious sides, they could make meat portions smaller, further lowering the price.

Good Option #2: Start Targeting Other Markets

At the same time as you’re getting creative with the “I can’t afford you” clients, make sure you’re targeting other markets that have bigger budgets.

Let’s look at our steakhouse example again. At the same time that steakhouses revamped their menus to offer lower priced options, they also started targeting markets that could afford those higher-end cuts. And those were typically people dining on expense accounts or celebrating special occasions.

Adjust Your Approach, Not Your Pricing

If you start getting pushback from clients on your pricing, don’t take it as a sign that you should immediately lower your fees.

Instead, offer some alternative arrangements and start targeting markets that can afford you.

After all, if you’re dining in a steakhouse and you tell your server you can’t afford the Porterhouse, she’s not going to give it to you at a lower price.

Instead, she may suggest you try the flank steak or chicken breast.

And if that’s still a problem, she may recommend the noodle house down the road.


Plus … whenever you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you grow your freelance business:

1.  Grab a free copy of my book for ESTABLISHED writers/copywriters.

You’ll discover how to quickly and predictably reawaken dead leads, generate new client opportunities and convert not-yet-ready prospects into freelance writing clients. — Click Here

2.  Download a free copy of my new book for writers who are NEW to freelancing.

I’ll show you the 3 things you need to do to get your business off the ground safely and land your first paying client faster.  — Click Here

3.  Join my implementation program and be a case study.

I’m putting together a new implementation group this month. If you’d like to work with me to grow your income quickly with better clients (and become one of my new success stories). Just email me at [email protected] and put “Case Study” in the subject line.

4.  Work with me privately.

If you’re a 6-figure writer who’s trying to earn more in less time, with less stress, I might be able to help you get there faster than you think. Email me at [email protected] … put “Breakthrough” in the subject line and I’ll get back to you with more details.