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Sometimes, people will not be able to afford the sticker price for your consulting services.
Instead of folding and offering an immediate discount, there are lots of ways to work with them collaboratively to create a win-win (read: mutually profitable) situation for both of you.
The first way is by removing scope.
What can you take off the table while still helping them accomplish their business objectives?
Examples might include:
1. Who has access to you (owner, staff, suppliers?)
2. Frequency of calls
3. Medium of contact (i.e. Slack vs. email vs phone)
4. Deliverables (or not)
5. Additional content or bonuses
6. What will you advise on or not
7. Access to your network/Rolodex
You can listen to episode 65 for examples of the levers of value I employ with my advisory clients.
Another form of scope change is to elongate timelines while reducing interaction.
I did this recently by turning a $27k/6 month project into an 8-month project for the same total amount.
We also agreed to do twice-monthly instead of weekly strategy calls instead, giving a longer lead time to their launch date (this was a new coworking business).
This actually resulted in being more profitable on a per-hour basis (not that I charge hourly), given I’d be having 50% less calls for 25% longer period of time for the same money.
It also reduced the stress that comes from needing to do everything quickly and intensely leading up to a launch. We have more time to get things done, which causes less stress for me.
You can also reduce prices for something beneficial to you in return.
Ideas include getting permission to do detailed case studies or testimonials (which will help win business later on), or getting constructive feedback on your process, referrals, services in kind, access to an audience, or any number of other factors that may create benefit to you commensurate with the reduction in price.
Whatever you do, don’t just discount your services for nothing in return.
There are a lot of ways to play with scope, time, access, and benefits to create a customized proposal that is a win-win for you and your clients.
The worst thing you can do is straight discount your time unless you feel there’s a good reason to do so.
If people can’t afford your services, and none of the above ideas work, it’s not your place to subsidize their businesses.