3 Strategies for Asking a Web Design or SEO Client for Their Budget

Asking for a client’s budget can be one of the most difficult parts of your initial conversations with a client. But since you’re likely not willing to work for free and you probably don’t want to go through all the trouble of researching the business, the project and putting together a detailed proposal if you’re budgets won’t even remotely match, it’s a good idea to talk about this before you get too far into the process.

When you’re done reading this, you’ll know how to professionally have a client tell you what their budget is and how to be able to present your quote in a way that will have clients agree even if you need to quote above their allotted budget. Sound good? Let’s get to it.

One of three things is going to happen when you ask for a client’s budget:

Some business owners will have no problem sharing and they expect the question. Others will be hesitant and may feel that you’ll charge more if you know their budget (they feel they may be able to get a better deal if you provide a quote first). Others may not have even considered the question.

In my experience, most often a client will say they don’t have a budget, are not sure what to expect and just want to get an idea of what it would cost. The truth is, even if they don’t have an exact figure in mind, they very likely at least have a range.

Provide Your Range

After discussing a client’s project with them, if they are reluctant to share their budget, provide a range that you will be quoting within. For example, you can share that your projects begin at a minimum of $1,000 and in your experience with similar projects, they can be up to $3,000.

By doing this you are both stating that you have previous experience delivering what the client needs and you are also providing a wider range so the client does not hold you to a number. If you quote just one number by saying something like “this will cost around 1,000,” and you later determine you need to charge more, the client will not be happy as their mind was set to the number you gave them. 

Try this out and watch what the client does after you provide this range. They’ll either say “that was more than I was expecting” or they’ll continue the conversation because the number they had in their head is either within the range you provided or above it. Then you can move forward knowing what the client really had in mind.

At this point it is your job to determine if you can help the client see the value of what you are providing (we’ll get to this in just a minute so hang in there with me) or if the client is simply just being cheap and unwilling to spend the money he should to invest in his business. So don’t just write the business owner off if they give you a lower number. Continue the conversation to determine this.

Name Your Highest Price

After you give a client a wide range like we just talked about, they may or may not tell you the number they had in their head.  If you’re really trying to get a number out of them, this tactic may work better for you.

This time you ask the client what their budget is and when they say they’re not sure and ask for you to provide a quote, start with the highest price you would possibly quote them. Believe me, they’ll bring you down quickly to what they can do.

Now that you have their number you can decide how to proceed. You can share with them what you can do for that but also incorporate what we’re going to talk about next.

Determine Your Client’s Customer Value

If you don’t want to directly ask a potential client for their budget, this is a great option to indirectly asking them. Regardless, this is an excellent question to ask. It helps you better understand your client’s business, what they need in order to achieve their goals and they’ll appreciate that you care enough about their business to ask more serious questions like this.

The question: what is a single customer worth to your business?

Now this could be a one-time fee that the customer will be charged or this could be the overall lifetime value of a client. For example, a deck builder is only going to be able to charge a client a one-time fee to build a new deck. On the other hand, a hair salon may see a new client every six weeks in order to have her hair done and the sale can also include additional services on top of a hair cut such as hair color and hair care products.

Now, if you serve a specific niche you should already have an idea of what your client’s customer value is. This can vary from location to location somewhat but you will still have a basic understanding of their customer value before you even speak with them. This knowledge is going to help you know how much you can charge clients, how you are going to be able to help them understand your value and why you are worth the investment you are quoting.

If you are an SEO and you believe you can help generate an additional $10,000 worth of online sales for a business, you can easily charge the client $500 or better yet $1,000 per month for your services. That should be a no-brainer for them as they will be receiving an additional $9,000 worth of revenue.

As a web designer, you should also understand the goals of the business and how you can help your client reach those goals. For example, when you take a look at a client’s current website and see how low their conversion numbers are, you can better design a website to help increase those numbers. So although it is not your job to drive traffic, it is your job to help design a website to better convert their traffic into leads and sales. When you can demonstrate how your designs are able to help increase their conversions to make them more money, again you can help them see the value of your services.

Which One

I always want a client to understand the value they’re getting from working with me which is why I like to understand their industry and their customers worth. This really helps me demonstrate the value. Other than that, I don’t have an approach that I use every single time. Rather, I listen to the client and try to get a feel for which one they may respond best to. You’ll get better at doing that over time as you talk to more and more clients. Initially, try out the different options and see which one flows more naturally for you. See which one tends to help you get the answer you’re looking for.

Wrapping Your Mind Around Pricing

When I first started my business, I hated selling and I was scared to give quotes. I knew it was necessary in order to run any type of business but I hated coming across as sales II by talking about prices.  I think most people starting out in business or even those who have been running their business for a while feel this way. In fact, it’s perfectly normal. I know you started your business because you want to make money but you also want to be able to help businesses reach their goals as well.

And the only way that you can do this is to talk about money. And it doesn’t have to be scary.

The truth is if you are not selling your services you are doing these businesses a disservice. They need your help in order to succeed. They don’t know how to build a professional website. They don’t know how to improve their website in order to convert traffic into leads and sales. And they certainly don’t know how to position their websites in search engines in order to bring new leads to their business. But these are the skills that are needed in order to grow their business. And that means they need you.

If the client was not prepared to spend money they would not be speaking with you. Just like they won’t do their job for free or low-cost, they don’t expect you to either.

So if you accept a project with the mindset that you are going to do everything you can to put this business in a better position than they were before they started working with you, there is no reason that you should not be paid what you are worth. In reality your job is going to help this business make more money.

Here’s What to Do Now

If you are serious about having better conversations with potential clients about their budget, what I want you to do is click here to access a list of questions you can ask potential clients about their budget in order to get the information you need. In addition, we’re also going to continue this conversation and you’ll learn more about how to use these questions to qualify a client to make sure you want to work with them and how to handle a client who asks you to change your price.

Being prepared is the best thing you can do to set yourself up for success. Go download the bonus budget question list and bonus materials on how to qualify clients and help them to see your worth.

Click here to download sample client budget questions

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