How to Ask Clients for Money (when it’s not your favorite)
For many of us, asking to get paid isn’t among our favorite conversations. It’s something that takes practice. Here are some tips we suggest for building your confidence when asking to get paid what you so rightfully deserve.
Show them the value. When meeting with new clients, make a smooth transition from a discussion about project details into the value you’ll be bringing to the client immediately and over years to come. By doing so, you’ll build up not only their confidence but your own. Prove your worth by way of examples of past success and by speaking with assuredness about your experience. When your new client feels safe in your care, you’ll be able to show them that you deserve to get paid what you’re asking. Prep for this by practicing speaking about past clients and filling up your portfolio with only the best of past projects. What will you say about these to really wow new clients? What did you design for a past client that really boosted their business to new levels? What was your approach and how will that apply to this project?
Make it easy. We suggest offering the client various options by which they can pay right off the bat, making it as simple and convenient for them as possible. Have your iPad and Square reader out and ready to go. Grab their credit card number and enter it into your system immediately and discuss how you’ll be billing them so there will be no surprises. Ask if you’d prefer that you stop by in person and pick up a check. Be prepared and ready to have these discussions from the get-go. Don’t miss a chance to get this all squared away from the jump. This will make the entire process easier for both you and your client.
Give them options. Once you’ve established what your client will owe, give your clients a few options regarding how they’d like to pay (if you’re willing to negotiate this, of course). 100% down. 50%, 50%. 50%, 35%, 10%. 50%, 20%, 20%, 10%, etc. Once this has been established, put the dates in writing. Giving your client options here is just another factor in building a positive, trusting relationship between the two of you. When you either automate the payments or call to receive them, there will be no surprises. If you’re making a call, a simple, polite request for payment is all you’ll need. Leave out the fluff. Don’t apologize for calling and bothering them. Please note: As much as you have hope for a fantastic, pain-free relationship with this client, you will have to review what will happen if payments are missed. (This will also be detailed in your contract.) Let your client know why it’s important they pay on time, how this will affect their project timeline, as well as how it impacts how you’ve structured your own calendar. Get this out of the way so that you won’t have to deal with it later (with any hope!)
Be specific. When shopping at a store, isn’t it bothersome when you pick up an item you’re interested in only to find it doesn’t have a price tag on it? We think so. When you’re speaking with a new or potential client, be prepared to talk numbers by having a rough estimate of pricing for your services – or hourly billing – so that you’re not a deer in headlights when discussing pricing. Be prepared and after further discussion, be specific about what your client will owe so that there isn’t any gray area. Let them know how they can pay, the total cost of your services and when payments are due. Let them pick up your shiny product, hold it in their hand, know what they’re purchasing and feel like it’s worth every penny.
Make it personal. Great customer service always builds bridges between you and your client. Friendly notes and reminders when bills are due are always better received than cold, sterile ones worded in contractual type language. In addition, keeping clients engaged in other ways will keep you at the top of their minds.
We hope these methods will help you find it easier to connect with future clients, have easier conversations about money and keep your billing processes running smoothly. Good luck!