In this role play, Chris sits down with Sarah, a brand strategist. She plays the role of a client in need of some branding work for her business, and reaches out to Chris to see if he can help.
When the conversation kicks off, Sarah quickly gives a brief of what needs done, and states that her budget is £2,000. She’s just given an anchor, and that’s Chris’s cue to ignore that anchor altogether.
How you respond to price buyers or low budget clients requires a bit of acting. First, act like you don’t want the job, and instead, act as if you genuinely want to help the client.
For example, in the video above, Sarah gives her anchor but it is below Chris’s minimum level of engagement (MLE). He suggests that he might not be the right person for her to hire, and that she should probably look for another designer who can work within her budget.
Sarah’s come to Chris with a branding project because her business is facing several challenges, the biggest being a lack of sales. She feels that a rebrand will help bring some momentum back to their business, but is firm on her £2,000 budget.
Chris then asks, “Is there something about this project that I’m missing?” Sarah replies that there are other areas of the business to focus on, like marketing and hiring additional team members.
She’s voiced several concerns as to why she feels a £2,000 budget is substantial. But to essentially save her business, £2,000 seems like a disproportionate amount of money to invest.
Chris refers to a book by Jim Rohn, titled 7 Strategies for Wealth and Happiness. In the book, Rohn explains majors vs. minors. It doesn’t make sense to put in a major amount of effort for a minor goal. Conversely, you can’t put in a minor amount of effort for a major goal.
When Chris shares this insight with Sarah, it helps her see that £2,000 really isn’t enough to regenerate millions of dollars (or pounds in this case) for her business. She’s aiming for a minor effort for her major goal.
Oftentimes, clients will come through the door thinking they know what they need. It’s your job as the creative professional to help them understand that the challenge they’re currently facing can’t have a one-size-fits-all solution.
Through asking questions, and diagnosing the problem—not the client—you get to the root of what the client needs and how much that effort will cost.
When you start to wrap up the conversation, don’t offer to send a proposal. Instead, help the client explore other design firms so they can figure out the best fit for their project. Come with a helpful, empathetic mindset, and the client will remember you as more than just a designer.