How to avoid unhappy clients!

value pricing

One of my private coaching clients is currently working with a copywriter to create some of their blogs and web copy.  They asked the copywriter to create a more in-depth piece of copy for a guide. The copywriter quoted a price of 3 days of their time to complete the work and the client accepted (mistake #1). 

The writer was given a detailed brief including who the guide is aimed at.

The first draft was less than stellar, and the client was disappointed.  It was too waffly, missing key points and too long.

Meanwhile, the copywriter explained that she had spent 3.5 days working on the project but wasn’t going to charge them for the extra 1/2 day.  She clearly felt she was going the extra mile.  She then sent in her invoice.

Now here’s the problem:

The quality of the copy was poor, and the brief hadn’t been met but because everyone was focused on time (mistake #2), the writer felt they were in their rights to send the invoice and indeed felt like they were doing the client a favour because they hadn’t charged them for the extra half day! 

Was this the writer’s fault? 

Well yes and no!

After all, the writer had quoted three days to do the work, charged a daily rate and the client had signed off on this.

Yet the client was frustrated because the piece needed extensive rewrites and it sounds like the writer wants to charge extra time to do that.  All a bit of a mess!

Can you see how everyone was focused on completely the wrong thing (mistake #3)?

Now, this is a pretty simple (but real) example to highlight what happens when we (and the client) don’t focus on the right thing (the thing the client really cares about).

So, what should we be focusing on?

The outcome the client is looking for.…in this case, a piece of copy that meets the brief and is written in a way that appeals to the target audience.

This is what value pricing is all about.

This is the classic example of the copywriter selling an INPUT (time) and OUTPUT (the copy) and not focusing on the OUTCOME the client was looking for (a quality guide that will appeal to the audience).

As I say, this is a simple example but highlights the reasons why we should never sell time and more importantly, we must recognise the client is never buying time (after all if you gave me a great guide I don’t care if it took you 3 hours or 3 weeks!).

Now I don’t know how this story ends (because it’s still ongoing) but the client has got to have an awkward conversation with the copywriter and one that potentially damages their relationship, puts the invoice in dispute and could well result in the client having to rewrite the copy and find a new copywriter!

This is a value-selling and pricing conversation.  If you want to read more about how you can implement this in your agency then download a copy of my free eBook on value-pricing and selling (just click here, no need to re-enter any details, and I will send it right over).  It explains the traditional ways agencies price and things to consider if you want to move towards selling and pricing based on the outcomes rather than outputs.

Value Selling

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    Rob Da Costa

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