Art of dealing with clients

Hey everyone!

In developing countries in particular, there are many low ballers who often offer website prices in the range of $200-800 and for clients they do not understand website enough to see the difference between a $200 website and a $2000 website.

Often times I had to use analogy when explaining to my clients who is less internet savvy on website projects pricing. For example the car dealer analogy where a customer wouldn’t just walk up to a car dealer and ask how much is a car? You can get a car with $5000 and with $50,000. Prices varies based on the car’s specification, built quality, design etc. They’re not just paying for a car, they’re also paying the years of R&D the car manufacturer has put in to develop the car. A $5000 car would serve its purpose going from point A to point B just like a $50,000 car but also need to take in consideration of it’s durability, safety/security, design/appearance etc.

It’s not really good analogy or it may be good but the way I apply it could be improved.

What do you think? What is the ways or analogy you’ve used when negotiating prices with your clients?


Interesting analogy. I find more effectiveness when emphasising the value they are getting from the price - most of the time the clients don’t have a budget in mind but they are more willing to pay when you can remind them of the differentiated and high value tangible outcomes they will get with your $2000 website. A few things could be:

  • custom written code (not templates)
  • any SEO efforts that you provide over others
  • no “cookie cutter” sites, individual love and attention to their unique business brand
  • level of service and expectation of ongoing support
  • specific content writing and graphic design services which a $200 site may not include

Ultimately, quotes reflect the amount of service and effort you are putting in, so the more you can highlight your additional points of difference and VALUE to them, the more aware they become of what they are paying for - or what they will not receive with other providers compared to you.

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Thank you for your advise sydneywebdesigns. Those are all good points.

I’m wondering if there is a good analogy based on a popular business we can use to help the clients better understand website isn’t just about something they buy off the shelves, throw contents together and that’s it. There’s more to it…

Or like the analogy of sales people is the backbone of businesses, would they prefer to hire someone with little experience, doesn’t look presentable (design), doesn’t do well in pitches and sales (functions and copywriting) etc. A website is very much like a sales person.

IMHO a problem is that a web dev does not need to have a license that would indicate they have a level of competence.

An analogy I like is a house.

You can hire an unlicensed contractor to renovated your home. They may do very good work at a lower price.

But a licensed contractor will do work that is “up to code” and take care of handling all of the legal hoops that need to be jumped.

If you look only at up front cost, sure, hiring the unlicensed contractor will cost less.
And as far as the visible result it may look the same.

But is the foundation safe, can the wiring handle peak loads, can the plumbing handle increases in pressure, has the rotting wood been replaced or simply painted over etc?

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there in lies the challenge, most client not understanding what is involved in the services they contact for ( whether is building a house or a website) would not really have an understanding of those terms ‘peak loads, increased pressure, etc…’
That’s probably the what makes the car analogy so good:

  1. most everyone has purchase a car
  2. everyone KNOWS there is a broad range in car prices (and capabilities)
  3. nearly everyone automatically considers those differences justified ( no one questions the difference between a Lexus LS and a Ford Escort)… but there in lies the true problem, as in our relatively fledgling industry part of client EXPECTATION is “a Lexus at a Ford price” and the BELIEF that prices come from the whim of the designer developer and not the cost of the materials or quality of the labour. It’s not a rational thing. It’s an emotional thing.

To gauge your client, and try to ween him/her off of the idea that web work is ‘magical’ and costs are arbitrarily set , presenting a FAMILIAR parallel , such as the car analogy or one like it , may actually turn out top be the most effective method of affecting the PERCEPTION of the client.

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The analogy of the house is quite good too, I’ve used it a couple of times but more towards older businessman who has gone through the hassle of dealing with renovation contractors. I tell them that if they pick the cheapest renovator, even they still purchase the same quality of materials which they likely will not, will they be able to pay a decent amount of salary to the worker, if the worker is skillful would he accept such low salary or move to another company that sort of thing.

It works but like dresden said it can’t be broadly applied to all clients hence I’m wondering if there is an even better analogy than buying cars. The flaw of the car analogy has been nicely pointed, they know cars, have a general understanding about it and they can even test drive it but they can’t do it for website and certainly no one is gonna design a mock up before project commencement unless they’re really desperate.

Is there a better analogy?

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How about aircraft or helicopters?

My previous comment was made on a mobile which is not easy to type lengthy explanations.

I hoped that someone would pickup and expand on the suggestion.

The point I was trying to make as far buying an aircraft or helicopter for personal use, price would be secondary to personal safety.

Hi John, using aircraft or helicopters as analogy to explain websites isn’t a good idea in my opinion. The point is to have an analogy subject that can be applied broadly to any audience and they will be able to relate like what dresden pointed out

That’s a common thing in business in general. On competitive markets you win your customers not only with product/service but also with customer service, reporting, maintenance and so on. If your customer can’t see the direct difference between the two products/services than you must earn his trust with the promise of great after-sales service and deliver on this ground (perhaps free trial or temporary discount to prove you’re good).

Nevertheless some customers will just go for “$5000 car” and there isn’t one great analogy to change that. I think it’s better to focus on your Target and values that let your brand grow.


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