Stand your ground

Quoting a client for a project is never a fun task. Crunching numbers, trying to figure out how long a design is realistically going to take you, pushing your diary around to find an open slot, deciphering how easy/difficult the client is going to be and how much feedback they are going to bombard you with, and then sitting on the “Send” button nervously for a few minutes before gathering the guts to send it on it’s way.

Then you inevitablely get a mail back from the client, explaining how they didn’t expect it to cost that much to put a website together. Trying to bully you into dropping your price somewhat, promising you “great exposure” and promoting your services to their “huge network of business contacts”.

Well here is a lesson to be learnt from the Welsh rugby team.

10 responses

  1. I’m not sure what those guys are doing in the video (not a sports guy, myself), but I’ve been having much success with my own tactic.

    I have potential clients fill out a quick form which includes fields for timeline and budget. Right off the bat, I can get a sense of where they’re at. Regardless, I always quote based on the time it will take me to complete a project, as apposed to quoting on the project itself. That way, I just come back with a time estimate and my rate. That’s it – it will take this long, and my rate is this much, so it will cost you this amount. End of story. No negotiating, no heckling, take it or leave it.

  2. I use a similar form-based approach to Matt. It’s a great litmus test for weeding out the clients who aren’t organized, realistic, or good at compromise. Passing them through the revolving door to make room for other potentially more level-headed clients is exhausting to our salesperson, but worth it.

    Was that the All Blacks war chant thing in the video? I couldn’t tell what to make of Wales’ reaction (haven’t watched that much rugby…)

  3. Haha trust the first two comments be from Americans with no clue about rugby traditions 🙂 Good feedback though about the topic on hand. I definitely need to revise my comment form next week!

    The “war chant” is called the “Haka” ( and is performed by the New Zealand All Blacks before each rugby game. It is supposed to intimidate the opposition before the game. Usually the opposition can’t wait to get it over with and start the game, albeit a bit nervously.

    This was one of the first times the opposing team stood their ground and showed no form of intimidation.

    As you can tell this is a bit of a tongue-in-cheek post.

  4. Didn’t wales lose?

  5. @Nic: Haha. That’s not the point!

  6. Haha trust the first two comments be from Americans with no clue about rugby traditions 🙂

    Hey, I at least knew it was an All Blacks tradition of some sort! It honestly seemed so campy that I assumed Wales’ indifference WAS the only appropriate response 😉

  7. @Darren: Haha. Glad you have the same opinion of the All Blacks rugby team as most of us South Africans do!

  8. Haha! Love the Haka. Do you recall the “response” of the Bokke in 1996 when the All Blacks came within inches of them? Classic! Of course, that entire final was brilliant.

    But yes, you have to take a stand when clients try to bully their way in a project – whether with regards to money, time, or “extras”.

  9. I just had a similar encounter with a client, I quoted and she had a problem with the cost estimate. I told her we could reduce the price to suit her budget, but she’ll have to kiss some features + functionality goodbye!

    She ended up asking me to “sponsor” her website, basically I was supposed to design the website for free (as she gave me the “you’ll get a lot of exposure speech”).

  10. I’ve been down that road a couple of times. I lost my shirt once by agreeing to the “increased exposure” con.

    It never pays to bow down to discount demands. It gives off the impression that you can be pressured for further concessions. Now I just smile and say ‘No’ politely until my tongue bleeds. Once in a while you will lose business, but they will respect you. And they will be back if they know that you do excellent work.

    It makes me wonder. Do these same people Nickle-and-dime the electrician when their geyser breaks down? Or are many of our potential clients still naive enough to believe that websites and web apps are still non-core?

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