06/04/2010: "Why Prospective Copywriting Clients Won't Provide Their Budgets"
Almost all copywriters ask for a prospective client's budget on our quote forms or in our initial conversations. This has always been done and when business people really understood the way things worked, it was no trouble getting that vital information.
But today, almost all prospective clients either leave this blank or give the very lowest figures in your list. Why do they use this self-defeating tactic?
People --- all people --- know to the penny what they can or will spend on their copywriting project. They absolutely know. But when you ask them, they'll talk around it or simply say, "I don't really know." In other words, they'll lie or avoid. Very few will be honest. (Tells you a lot about taking them on as a client.)
What they're really saying is that they believe if they give their true budget, you as the copywriter will set your fees to grab every nickle. We know that's stupid and untrue, of course. In most cases, these people don't have enough money to even afford our services so we're not going to accept their projects anyway. We'd like to know that in advance. Right?
By asking for their budget, we're trying to determine, among other things, what they can or cannot afford. If they can't afford our fees, we need to know now. So do they!
If their budget is within our range but low, we may be able to give them a limited service plan and still provide them with value. If they have a really professional-level budget, we can offer them our best value --- the best plan we have.
That's it. It's simple. And that's why we ask for a budget.
But, the prospective clients will either lie about it or wiggle out of giving it. So we have to play the little game and it wastes their time and ours.
People need to grow up and know what makes business work. It would make life easier and more profitable for us all.