On a regular basis I get a call or email from a prospective customer inquiring about the cost of our social media or web design services. And despite the fact that I have been in business for almost 10 years, I always hesitate before I answer.

Why? Because price is never really the issue. I have found that when people are buying something they have never purchased before, they fall back on price. What they really want to know is can I deliver what they need. When I get a request for a quotation, I always insist on a brief conversation before I shoot a number out there. Without it, I don’t know what they need.

After almost two years of training with Matt Nettleton at Sandler Trustoint, I have my questions down.

  • Exactly what do you want. All too often we assume customers are talking bout the same thing we are, but they are not. Their expectation of big or small may not be the same as ours. To find out I ask
  • Why do you want to do this. This is probably the most important question. The why gives you insight into their goals. Sometimes, what they are asking for won’t really meet their needs, it is better to find out on the front end
  • What is your time line? Need it fast? Rush charges may apply. There is nothing worse then starting something and finding out we have an unrealistic deadline. It is harder to go back once the project starts to change that
  • Did you have a budget for this project. We can quote services at a range of prices, but having a ball park helps narrow down what type of program we offer.

What if the prospect won’t chat, just wants the quote or suggests I send my questions in email? I typically refuse to quote. Why? If they won’t communicate with me during the sales process, they won’t get better once the project starts. It is hard to say no, but in the long run, I want to save our time for clients who will work with us so we can do our best work.