I was talking with the head of one of our branding and design consultancy clients the other day and he was telling me of one of the issues he is increasingly facing with his rate card. Buyers are starting to view the services he provides (possibly due to the agency proposition but that’s a different story) as a commodity and as such are buying on price. These were his exact words …
“I was in a meeting the other day and was just about to start showing our work when the client said ‘never mind that, let me see your rate card’.”
He was really quite flummoxed and it is not the first time he has encountered this (and speaking to other clients since it does seem to happening more and more, maybe not quite as badly as that but you get the drift.
So I told him to do as follows; Have two rate cards to hand at all times. One your real rate card and one with no rates on it, but with room to write them on.
If asked for your rate card say “I’ll tell you what, I’ll let YOU decide what you think it SHOULD be after you’ve seen the work and heard of our successes and we can then compare what you think we’re worth with what I think we’re worth and see if there’s any common ground to move forward with a proposal for your next project”.
Obviously, when he has completed his rate card you both compare and take things from there.
Now I know some will refuse to play and some will be silly with their prices, but if they do that then at least you know the sort of person you are dealing with and grab your coat and run! But I suspect that most will play ball.