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7 Ways to Wipe Out Price Resistance


by Steve Slaunwhite


When you quote a writing job, ideally you want the client to get back to you with a Purchase Order in one hand and a thumbs up sign in the other.


But that doesn’t always happen.


Sometimes, when the client calls you back, or when you follow-up, she says, “Sorry, your price is too high.”


This puts you in a tough situation. You may have to negotiate, explain and haggle to get the job at a decent rate.


Now, there’s nothing wrong with negotiating. But it’s reactive. A better approach is to be proactive, and minimize or eliminate price resistance BEFORE you quote the job.


How do you do that? Here are a few tips:


1. Act confidently.


Imagine if a dentist says to you, “Hmm, oh, let’s see, my fee to pull your tooth is, ah, well, $400?” If you sound hesitate or unsure of yourself, especially when discussing your rates, clients will assume you are inexperienced. They’ll either not give you the job or, if they do, expect a lower rate.


2. Look professional.


Everything from your website to your business cards to the way you answer the phone should scream “I’m a professional”. If, through your marketing materials and personal presentation, you look like a professional, clients are more likely to pay you like a professional.


3. Establish value when you quote.


A quote is a powerful selling opportunity. Don’t blow it! Use your quote to establish the value of your services.


When I prepare a quotation, I begin by highlighting what the client is trying to accomplish, and then explain how my writing services will help to achieve that goal.


Next, I list, in bullet points, all the things I’m going to do on the project: study the background materials; clarify the features and benefits; develop headline concepts; organize the key messages; write the copy; handle requests for revisions promptly, etc.


Finally, I quote the fee.


This may sound like a lot. In fact, my quotations are usually a page long before the price is even mentioned. But, because I’m showing clients all that they are getting for their money, this quoting format works like a charm.


4. Highlight your experience, knowledge and track record.


Client testimonials, project experience, how-to articles, speaking credits, awards, they all help to elevate your status as a professional -- which minimizes price resistance.


In fact, I often insert a credential right into my quotations. For example: “John, I’m confident I can help make your direct mail campaign a success. In fact, a package I wrote for Scott’s Directories recently won an ACE award.”


5. Focus on higher-paying projects.


You can expect less price resistance when quoting projects that generate leads or sales. After all, your copywriting is helping the client make money! That’s why direct mail, ads, email promotions and similar projects often pay well.


Case studies, white papers, speeches, and annual reports also pay well because most clients feel these require a higher level of expertise than, say, a product brochure.


6. Specialize in one or more industries.


Clients are more willing to pay a top professional fee to a writer who has experience in their industry.


Let’s say there are two writers pricing the same job for a resort hotel. The first is good, but she has limited experience in that industry. Her quote comes in at $500.


The second writer bills himself as a “Travel and Tourism Specialist” and quotes $750.00 . To the client, paying the second writer an extra $250 is worth it because she thinks his writing will produce better results.


7. Know the going rates.


If you quote $2,000 for a press release, and the going rate is $500-$1,000, then you’re likely to meet with a heck of a lot of resistance – no matter how good you are.


There is no almanac of copywriting fees in this business. But there are ways build your knowledge of typical fees for typical projects. The more you know about what clients are accustomed to paying for writing services, the more confidently you can quote jobs without the risk of pricing yourself out of the market.



:: Steve Slaunwhite is the author Pricing Your Writing Services - a guide to setting your freelance copywriting fees.

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