If you’ve never had a client ask you to lower your fees, you are one of the lucky PR professionals! For the rest of us, here are 5 tactics you can try the next time a client mentions budget cuts.
Prepare facts: Many clients feel that they are paying too much because they can’t see how the cost translates into results. Be prepared to show the results of your efforts, and use numbers and statistics, if possible, to make your case. Facts will prevail over feelings, so prepare them in your own interest.
Focus on quality: Try to refocus the discussion on quality, instead of price. When you buy luxury goods, you care less about the price tag and more about the quality. So clarify that the work you’re doing is high-end service and not just daily routine business.
Use different terminology: Rather than “price” use the term “value”, and replace “cost” with “outlay”. Your wording matters, and it can help create favorable images in your client’s mind. Clarify that the PR services you offer take effort from you and your team (time, experience, energy, contacts, etc.) and that you deserve a corresponding reward.
Make comparisons: Use your client’s hobbies and interests to put your price in terms of a comparison that they can relate to. If the client is into cars, use automobile comparisons, “A Porsche is not a Hyundai”, or if the client is a foodie, think, “Lobster versus a hamburger.” Be creative in your comparisons, they can help you so much.
Stand your ground: Showing some flexibility on price is fine, and sometimes can save a client, but draw a line in advance of how far you are willing to go. You’ll lose credibility if you state the high value of your work, but then accept a significant fee reduction after some pressuring. It’s a bit like blackmailing – if you accept their demands “just once”, you will face new attempts again and again.
In the end, both clients and PR agencies need to respect each other’s bottom line. As long as you can prove your value and get results, stick to your price, but just make sure it’s within your client’s budget before they sign on.