I’ll show you three tips you can use to make sure that you foster a positive relationship with your client, even if they give you a negative response to your client’s bid. Here’s a sample, but common, question: “How should I respond to a client lead that doesn’t want to move forward because they don’t have the budget?”

They didn’t take my estimate because it was too expensive.

Here’s the scenario: So you have been contacted by someone who wants a bid for work. You’ve put together the time, and give them an estimate and they come back to you. They say that they don’t have the budget for the project. So what do you do? Every freelancer deals with this question. It happens to all us. It’s happened to me.

Maybe I should I rethink my pricing?

One of our first responses is to second guess is our pricing. We start to think that we’ve put the price out there and it was too high. Now they’re going away and they are going to go somewhere else. So first thing I want to do is I want to let you know that as a freelancer, I want you to see your role in the process with your clients, or your future clients, is to provide them value.

Reframe the way you see yourself in the pricing and estimating process

One of the ways that we provide our clients value is in the estimating process. Think about it, when people are contacting you and asking you your opinion about providing a specific solution for them. It could be graphic design, or web development, or marketing, or some other service. You have to think about it from that the perspective of the client, the purchaser, the buyer. This may be their first experience with a real estimate. And, that’s important to recognize. Also, one of the things that should separate us from the crowd is how we position ourselves to help the client be able to make decisions that will impact their business in a positive way. We want them to be able to move forward. We want to give them what they need to make a decision. And usually that’s a yes or no decision.

But then you start to hear crickets…

You put together a bid or a proposal for your client, and you may not hear back from them awhile. And, you start to get nervous. But, when you reach out to them and you say, “Hey, what did you think?” And they say, “Well, it’s just more than what I was planning to spend,” or “I don’t have the budget right now,” or “The timing isn’t good, ” or you may get some other answer.

Did I price my bid too high?

Our first tendency is to think that we made a mistake and priced it too high. I don’t want you to think that way. Instead, I want to think about that you’re giving them—which is an accurate picture of what the cost of services is going to be.

How are you going to respond to the “NO”?

Your response is critical. I’m going to give you three tips that you can use that will turn a seemingly negative response, into a positive opportunity.

1. Don’t view their negative response to your bid as a personal rejection

I don’t want you to see it as they’re saying no to you personally. Don’t immediately assumer that they don’t want to work with you. And don’t automatically think that they’re offended by your price. For just a moment, think about when you’ve gone shopping for something, and you know something that you want. But you don’t really know how much it is going to cost. Sometimes when you go shopping and you find out the price is higher than what you anticipated—or what you thought it would be.

Does that mean you don’t want my services anymore? No.

It just basically means is that the money that you thought you were going be spending, is not going to be enough. So you’re going to have to go back, readjust your budget, start saving a little bit more money, so that you can eventually make that purchase. Put yourself in that situation and you might be able to see a little bit about how your potential client might be reacting to your bid. And that’s not a bad thing. You don’t want to take their response as a personal rejection, because one of the things that we do is we start to think that we need to counter with a lower priced offer, or we need to take that as a symbol that they don’t want to work with us and so we go away. That’s not what I want you to do at all. I just want you to understand that when they say no or when they don’t take you up on your offer, it’s not a, necessarily a judgment on you, and it’s not necessarily a negative thing. Just the timing and the budget might not work out for them at that moment.

2. Respond with an attitude of service

Next… In your communication back to your client, have an attitude of service, and let them know you ultimately want to help them get down the road. Any follow-up communication that you do with them to leave a positive taste in their mouth. It should help leave the relationship between you and your potential client, in a good space. Make sure that it’s based on your desire as a service provider to give them the best service possible and you want them to know that they can reach out to you when they’re ready to go. Leave that relationship open, and keep it positive.

3. Plan follow up communication for 60-90 days later

Finally, get on your calendar, and mark out 60 or 90 days from now. Write your client’s name in your calendar with their email address and phone number. Then in 60 or 90 days, when you see this pop-up on your calendar, reach out to them and check in. Say something like, “It’s been a couple of months since we’ve talked and I just wanted to check in with you to see how things are going. Please let me know if anything has changed or if there is something I can do for you right now.” This communication gives you an opportunity to inquire about the project and see if there’s another opportunity for you to potentially work together. But, when you send that communication, make sure that’s it’s from a heart of service and that you are interested in helping them in their business. You’re leaving them an opportunity for them to interact with you, but it’s in a way that is non-threatening and it shows them that you have their best interest at heart.

Developing a healthy client relationship

If you do these three things, then you’re going to create a relationship with a potential client who trusts you and understands that you have their best interest in mind.

And, when they are ready to purchase, you’ll be the person they call.

I want to invite you to check out our free Facebook group, it’s for freelancers. And we’re there to answer questions and to support one another, encourage one another, and if you go to Facebook.com/groups/freelanceonfire.

And, in the Freelance On Fire membership, we go in-depth with client relationships and show you how to get winning results from seemingly negative circumstances.

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