07/30/2009: "What To Do When the Prospective Client Says They Can't Afford Your Copywriting Fees."
Perhaps the most common objection we copywriters hear is, "I can't afford your fees." In fact, that's the most common objection to just about any purchase.
In truth, people hate the thought of paying a copywriter. I'm not sure why. Few people have the training or ability to sell through the use of words on screen or in print. And, in reality, the success or failure of a business depends first on having a good product or service, next on providing quality service and finally on the sales message.
The copywriter can't control the two former must-haves but they can control the latter.
The first thing you should do is to give your prospective clients two or three options. Don't give them more. People get confused and when that happens, they make NO decisions at all.
I have done that in buying a TV. There are far too many kinds of televisions and too many features and benefits that I simply haven't decided what to buy yet.
OK. So to the heart of this post. What do you say when the prospective client says he can't afford your fees?
NEVER LOWER YOUR FEES! Let a deal go before you lower your fees. You can offer to do less work for less fee. But don't lower your fees. You know what your service is worth.
Here's what you do. Ask the person, "What do you expect to make from this mailing (or Web site or whatever he wants written.)?" Of course, he always hopes to earn a fortune. So he gives you a figure.
You then say, "OK. So let me understand this. You want to earn $1 million from this copy but you don't want to pay me $10,000 to make that happen. Is that right?
From there, he sees how ridiculous his objection is. He sees the outgo vs the income side by side and the $10,000 doesn't look so big.
Always show the prospective client the value he'll receive in return for his investment. Copywriting fees should not be negotiable. I know some copywriters do negotiate. But that's a mistake.
For every nickle you take off the table for the client, you must take an equal amount of your services off the table. You're not in business to lose money and you can't do a good job for your clients when you're not paid what you're worth.
Try this next time you hear the client complain about your high fees.
It will work most of the time with most worthwhile clients.