We will not solve your problems before we are paid.
The transition from intent prospect to new client occurs in steps. A client is not fully committed until they have parted with their money. Every client deserves the right to change their mind until he parts from his money.
When we are paid, the client can rest assured that our firm's time is secured and dedicated to solving their problem and not the problem of a client who has yet to pay.
The diagnosis of the client’s challenges cannot be shared with the client before we are hired and allowed to start our diagnostic analysis of the problem. We cannot prescribe brand strategy without proper research and diagnosis. We will not get to the stage in the escalation of commitment where diagnosis happens if the customer has not parted with their money.
Even after the client has parted with their money, it is part of our job to reassure them through an inevitable period of buyers' remorse. Guarantees are appropriate of the first phase of our work (Diagnosis & Prescription) in order to reassure the value of moving forward with us.
Talking About Money
We intend to address issues of money early so that it doesn’t have to be at later steps. We set a minimum level of engagement and declare it early in conversations so that if the client cannot afford us, both parties will be able to walk way before wasting valuable resources and time spent in unneeded stress.
Talk about it early and often. Those who cannot talk about it, do not make it. In every culture It is impolite to talk about money in a personal setting. Likewise In every culture, it is considered poor business acumen to avoid talking about money in a business setting. Don’t confuse social mores with sound business practices.
We make sure we never find ourselves attempting to clarify issues of payment after we have begun working on the engagement. It’s the simplest of business tests, one for which there is no excuse to fail. We don’t need to apologize for being responsible business people.
Where most of our value comes from
Our highest value is to bring new perspective and understanding to our clients’ problems. Like those in the medical profession we follow a predictable procedure:
diagnose the problem,
prescribe a therapy,
apply that therapy,
and apply again.
The first two are the thinking phases that proceed the doing. They are the basis of our deep expertise. Our biggest opportunity for profit margin and the most value our clients get from us.
Our policy on Discounts
When negotiating, we never lower a price without taking something away. We never take something away without making it clear to the client the necessary benefits of what is being taken away. All discounts are reflected in writing on the invoice.
Often, negotiating success goes to the party that is most comfortable talking about money. We address issues of money as early as possible in the engagement to ensure that that party is us. If we must, we will break down and explain how much something costs and why.
Before we offer any discount, especially to new clients, it is worth noting that we are much more likely to be talked into accepting terms that allow a client to pay over time than to give away discounts.
Expect to answer a question like: “If we were to agree to lower this price, is there anything else to stop us from deciding to work together right now?”
Minimum Price Requirements for work
We reserve a minimum price requirement for work. The necessity for waiving the minimum (there will be cases) shall never be a substitute for the necessity of using it in conversation. We reserve the right to waive it but we don’t have the right to waive it without mentioning it. That doesn’t count. Waiving it is reserved for extraordinary circumstances where our most loyal and long-standing clients need our support. We never go below the minimum for new clients.
We maintain a minimum level of engagement while we establish the criteria for who we involve ourselves with. One of those criteria is budget and specifically the fees that such budget would represent. We will not work at a loss only to hope that will change in the future. We understand that profit margin with a client, like power, only diminishes over time not grows.
“Before I say no, let me ask a few questions”
Project work is not typically what we are hired for and it is not consistent with the value we offer the majority of our clients. There are no guarantees attached to work that has not allowed for the collaborative diagnostic process that ensures our work is in alignment with the goals of your business. That being said, we will take on the occasional production project if the circumstances make sense and it can be done profitably.