Man With Empty PocketYou’ve worked hard your entire career to build up a reputation and portfolio of work that reflects your talent. As a result, you’ve been able to raise your rates to reflect just how awesome you are, and that is something that has afforded you a great many opportunities.

So why is it such a heartbreak when one client you’ve always wanted tells you that your rates are just a little too high? You’ve got a ton of clients out there, so one more probably won’t make or break your company. But if it’s a client you’ve always wanted, you have to figure out what to do to get them.

This isn’t to say you should bend your prices just because one company can’t afford you. However, there are ways to get around totally altering your business for the sake of one dream client. If you’re sure it’s worth the hassle, try the following tips on for size.

Break Down Your Services

You approached the client (or vice versa) with something specific in mind – a job they need done, or a service you’d like to offer for a specific campaign they’re running. The trouble is, your prices don’t accurately reflect what you want to do for the client.

Why? Because you haven’t broken everything down. You’re offering two or three services when you really need to offer just the one. This could be why the client said they can’t afford you; they only need blogging, for example, and not editing and SEO work, which you’ve included in your price.

Comb through the services you offer and give each one an “a la carte” price. Also, try to combine different services for different packages – writing and editing together, SEO and social media, etc. Instead of a “one size fits all” price you can show clients options that closer suit their needs.

Leave Wiggle Room in Your Terms

Being the savvy businessperson that you are, you’ve probably created a set of policies and procedures that works best for both you and the client. But what if you were able to get the client to give a little in order to cut them a price break? These strategies might help:

  • Require quick payment terms (if you require all clients to pay within NET 30, give these guys NET 7 for a quick boost to your cash flow)

  • Require a larger than usual deposit up front

  • Ask the client to perform some of the services you usually perform – for example, if you’re writing new content for their website, ask them to actually place the content, saving you time

  • Arrange for an extended deadline or even to work on their project in your off-season

Clients who truly want to work with you but can’t afford you are often willing to be very flexible in order to use your services.

Introductory Prices

The reason for your dream clients’ hesitation may be unfamiliarity with you and your talent/product offering. Before jumping into a contract, they may be a little more cautious if they don’t have any “personal” connection with you and your company. This could especially be true if the work will be reflective of their business, like writing or graphic design.

To give them a little taste of what they could have, throw them an introductory rate. Make sure they know it’s a temporary price and the next one will be a little more expensive. But this way they can get an idea how great you are and it won’t break their bank.

You may find this introductory price option works so well you want to keep it around to gain more clients. You could even potentially use it in PR and marketing campaigns.

Have you ever lowered your price for a dream client? Why? How did it work out?


Jennifer Dunn is owner of Social Street Media, helping businesses connect with their customers through social media strategies and education. You can find her small business writing at Outright and WePay. Follow her on Twitter at @JennEscalona.