Episode 25: Turning Client Objections into Opportunities: Expert Tactics for Negotiation Success

Lauren: 

Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of Earning by Design. I am going to be covering a subject which is about managing tough client objections during that final stage of closing. So this is when they’re maybe reached out to you about your services or they were interested through a referral or some back and forth. Maybe you reached out to them and they agreed to get on a call, and then you get on the call and they’re not 100% closed to work with you and maybe they come up with certain objections. So I’m going to go over some very common ones, such as what to do if this client is asking for results or experience when you’re first starting out or you haven’t worked with that specific type of client before. How should you handle a client who wants a lower price than you can provide, and what to do to make it more incentivized so that people want to decide sooner as opposed to dragging out that decision for a long time. And there’s going to be other points that we’re going to go over all in this episode.

Lauren: 

First off, you have to remember that overcoming people’s objections or that they would have some resistance is a natural part of closing clients. This is something that happens in every industry across the board, even when people are buying products and or services, which is what we’re obviously dealing with. So it’s it can be looked at as a way of being very angry angry at the client or getting all confused and anxious about the whole process. Or you can look at it as an opportunity to show the value that you can provide to these clients and it builds a stronger relationship with them as well. So if you approach these objections with this mindset of being patient, understanding where they’re coming from, what their concerns are, and really focus on finding something that is a mutually beneficial solution, it’s going to come out as a better result. Even if they don’t end up hiring you, you’re not going to leave all disgruntled. You knew that you were there to help them and to help them make the right decision for their business and them.

Lauren: 

At this time. It really comes down to having effective communication skills, really really having that empathy and being able to problem solve on the spot, because sometimes they’ll come up with something that throws a curveball in the conversation and you have to be ready and able to come up with some solution at that point. This can come through a lot of practice of those sales calls, getting with a friend or family member and just making them be as tough on you as possible. First, start out with just kind of easing into how is a sales call about, what is the general process, and then, once you’ve done that a few times, really well, then have them throw curve balls, like the client saying, hey, that’s way too expensive, what do you think I’m made of money and these kind of objections that are really really the far extreme. So when you do have these calls and they come up with objections, they’re not gonna be that nasty most of the time. So you’re going to be used to handling someone that is really nasty if your client was giving you, or your family member or your friend was giving you a lot of curveballs. So, with that said, I’m going to give you some parameters to think with and some points that you can really use to help you do better.

Lauren: 

So let’s take this first one, which is what to do when a client asks for results or experience, when you’re first starting out and you don’t have that results or those experience just yet. This is a tricky thing because when you look, when anybody looks to buy something, usually these days we get a lot of access to reviews so we can see what other people have seen that was successful or not successful about the product we want to buy. The same is true of restaurants. When we’re going to restaurants we want to know it’s good food. We want to know it’s good service. We don’t want to go places where it’s not well tested yet. Same thing when you walk by in a mall you see a store that doesn’t have a lot of people in it, you feel that there’s something wrong with it. So when you’re first starting out and a client is skeptical because you don’t have any results or case studies that are particular to them to show, really the best thing that you can do is be upfront and honest. You can say that if you’re totally brand new, you can say you’re just breaking into the design industry and you’re really looking to work with clients and you are willing to give a discounted rate to get an experience built up, but that you’re going to be there with them till the end and you’re really interested and eager to help them get the results. So that’s one angle to come at.

Lauren: 

If you have some sort of other clients that you’ve worked with in the past but maybe that are not very applicable to the type of client that this is thinking about hiring you. You should still show the case studies and show what your design thinking process was and what happened as a result. Show the testimonials related to those projects. That’s a really good way because, even if it’s not directly related, sometimes clients will be willing to still work with someone as long as they have design skills and they’re able to get a product. So other case studies would show that you can actually get those products. Also, it’s really good that you could maybe offer, like I mentioned before, a little bit of a discount for those first few clients Until you build up some testimonials. You’ll build up your own confidence and it’s a way that they can win and you can win.

Lauren: 

You could also if you have worked with other. Let’s say you’re starting out as a designer and you’ve never done design projects before, but you were in some sort of other field, maybe you were a waitress or you were some scientist or something totally disrelated. You could always say hey, you know, I worked in this industry for 10 years. These are the products I got, this is the results I got. It could be a good, just trust building aspect that shows you are a hard worker and you stay for the long term. That’s one other aspect to go with.

Lauren: 

And then it’s really just about setting realistic expectations. Be upfront on what you can realistically deliver to the client with what you have done. Be upfront on what you can realistically deliver to the client with what you have done. Tell them that. Reassure them. Tell them that you will do your due diligence of research so that you understand what they’re after, and you’re not going to do it just off the cuff without any experience. You’re going to go and do deeper research because you haven’t worked with this client before. The more reassurance, the more you can provide, they’re going to feel more confident and more likely to hire you. Just like if somebody was a new restaurant, they might give some free samples out or they might give you a discounted meal because they know they have to prove and they have to give some sort of incentive for you to be able to be a new customer when it’s one of their first.

Lauren: 

So if you look at these from this perspective of yourself as a consumer, you can see why someone would want to know this specific point and then go in with understanding why they would want to know that. So you can not get angry and not say, hey, but you got to hire me. Can not get angry and not say hey, but you got to hire me. You can instead go in with some understanding, reasonability and some empathy to their question.

Lauren: 

The next point about how to handle a client who wants a lower price than you can provide. So this is something that can either go way off the rails because you start saying no, no, no. So let’s just give an example. Somebody says okay, so the price. You get to the point of the price in the conversation and you say, well, this is between four to 6,000 or six to 3,000. And that’s the, that’s the price for this type of work. And then you go oh no, this is way too expensive.

Lauren: 

Now, if they say that you do not say well, I’m an expert and I’ve been doing this for a long time and you have to pay me that that is just going to derail the situation. They’re definitely not going to hire you and you’re not controlling it in a way that is showing you understand. Instead, it’s really important to listen. Let them talk about those different points, that they feel that this is too high, okay, and then make sure they know I totally get this Now, just so you understand the project that you’re looking to do. It is a lot of work on my end and it’s in order to get a really good product. I need to put in the time to make sure it gets to that point so we could do something where it’s more within your budget. And then you want to ask well, what is your budget? If that’s too hard, if that’s too high of a price, let’s talk about your actual, real budget, so maybe I can figure out another way to do it without all the work. So then let’s say they come back and say, well, my budget really isn’t more than $2,500.

Lauren: 

Listening to a podcast is fantastic, but sometimes we need a more straightforward way to access information. That’s exactly why I put together some free downloadable resources for you, including a free pricing guide with a free pricing list, how to get clients guide and how to manage your time better. These are packed with quick reference information and actionable steps that you can start using right away to enhance your own design business skills. Make sure to visit forthecreativescom and get your free copies today. You say, okay, so instead of doing X, y and Z, why don’t we cut it back to doing just X, and that way it will still be fair to you and you’ll still be within your budget. I can still get a good product. It’s not going to be as in-depth and as well-researched as the higher price point, but I can still get this product to you and then they can say, oh great. So it’s showing that you are willing to work within their budget constraints and give some sort of wiggle room there.

Lauren: 

Another point is that you can just always go back to those initial points that they really, really wanted to have changed. That’s why, if you go through the discovery call you talk about, you want to ask questions about why do they need a designer, what are they looking to achieve, what are their goals, what are their struggles with their marketing, and then, if you take note of whatever they said, go back to that and make sure you address. You know this is the reason that I’m not just an order taker. I work with you to really make sure that this gets back to the goals you have of reaching more of your clients, to getting more attractive branding and more cohesive. And that’s why I don’t just do something for $100, because it takes a lot of my own time and I want to make sure that I’m doing the best job I can for you.

Lauren: 

So if you go back to what they need and always go back to the goals, it’s not then just about how you’re doing something to them and charging them higher prices. You show them that you care, you are empathetic to what they need and that is going to. Even if they don’t end up hiring you, they’re going to remember that you cared enough and you are not just somebody who’s trying to slimy sales them and trick them into something. Another thing is always, if you have them at this stage, you can always provide examples on the call about what you have done for past clients and then, in your proposal, show and follow up with examples of past clients. If there’s been results that have been noted, definitely share those too, share testimonials, and that will help them to gain more confidence that the money they’re investing is going to come back and give them some real ROI, which is return on investment.

Lauren: 

And another thing is you want to make sure that you’re not just avoiding the objections or if they say, oh, that’s too expensive, and then you just say, oh, yes, I know, okay, well, um, um, well, I can just give you a proposal later and um, yeah, um, I’ll figure it out, then, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll cut the price. Like that’s going to give them low confidence. When you start hearing somebody on the phone say um, um and hesitating, that shows that they can control you and they will continue to walk all over you if you let them. So don’t do that. Make sure you have practiced enough so that you take these objections head on. You’re there to direct them, to directly, answer them honestly and avoid being defensive.

Lauren: 

Focus on providing solutions. This is where those problem-solving abilities is really important. When they come at you with something that their budget’s too high or they aren’t able to get they have to get it done in the next week, or things of that nature you look at it from a different angle and see how things can be done differently. Something that could also happen is offering alternatives in pricing. So maybe, if they really really can’t fit that budget restraint, maybe you can ask them well, how much is your budget every month? Maybe we can have this process be over a few months so you don’t have to pay everything now. You can do it over, let’s say, a three-month period or if they pay everything in full. Sometimes I’ve seen that people give a discount, like a 5% discount, if they pay in full. So there’s some wiggle room here. You don’t have to just always say, no, this is the price, and this is the price and this is the price.

Lauren: 

Work with them, but don’t be too overbearingly propitiative. Don’t make it so that they feel that they can always get away with something. Be kind, but also be firm and professional. You don’t have to be run over as a designer. You can stand with those pricing. If the pricing, if they still after all that they still say no, it’s still too high Say, well, you know, maybe you should work with somebody who has lower, lower budgets or can accommodate your lower budgets.

Lauren: 

And if you are ever in the need of somebody who has a higher budget or would like to come back in the future, I would be more than happy to work with you and just leave it at that. You don’t want to go around banging your head chasing this up, because then if they feel that they’re paying too much and they’re feeling like they are giving you some sort of some red carpet treatment of like, well, I’m going with this person, then he has to give me everything and they have to give me all sorts of extra service, and they’re going to be expecting a lot if you have to wiggle them into agreeing. You don’t want to be in that situation. Just if it’s not the right fit, it’s not the right fit, just go ahead and move on at that point. So another thing that I want to make sure you know as a tool is when somebody and this happens sometimes when you had a great discovery call, they were okay with the budget, you send the proposal and then you have have silence, and the silence goes on and you follow up and then no, they still don’t answer, and then, maybe two months later, they finally say oh sorry, I’m just getting back to this now, it wasn’t really a priority. Are you still able to do this? And you then have to go back in figure out is this still within the budget? Is this still within the price point that you’re willing to do? What else has changed? Maybe you have a lot of clients and you can’t do it, so then you would need to. You would be able to charge more because it’s a matter of now.

Lauren: 

You know you’re not desperate for work, so at this point, what’s really can be very workable is that when you send a proposal, you say either this is valid for two weeks, so they have to make a decision in two weeks, or four weeks, and you give them a timeline, because that gives them a point to know they have to make a decision by this point, whereas if you just send it and then let it go forever, it could literally go forever and it’s out of your control. So that’s a really good way to put some constraints on it and make it so that they don’t just walk, you know, make it, make you go crazy, trying to follow up and figure out and everything of that nature. So that’s a way that you can do that. Ensure, though, that when they come back and they’re looking for a new budget, let’s say it goes on for two weeks and then they come back looking for a new budget. Maybe you do adjust it at that point, because they’ve already given you, they’ve already made you have to do work and do this proposal, and then they want to come back to you. So maybe then you increase it by $100.

Lauren: 

Make it so it’s not just something out of the blue, and it’s really an honest point that there is an urgency there. So, in the end. Just remember that overcoming these objections it’s something that, if you go in there with that mindset of build a stronger relationship, be there to understand what they have to say and see how you can problem solve, to see why they’re objecting, and then you can go in with empathy and see how you can still get the client. Not cut yourself, but maybe do a smaller package, maybe do a starter package instead of doing the full, full project. It’s happened to every designer. If you haven’t run into it yet, it will happen to you. It’s happened to every designer. If you haven’t run into it yet, it will happen to you. Just remember, when you say that price, the absolute worst thing that they will say is no. And if they say no, there are more clients out there. There are more people who need and value your services. So be sure to not take that first no as something to stop you as a designer. Keep going. It’s only a small percentage that do say no and if you provide that value, you show on the phone call that you really really care. You can back it up with great, great results if you have them. Otherwise, a really nice portfolio, even if it’s full of passion projects, really helping them understand how important they are to you.

Lauren: 

Thank you so much for listening to this week’s episode. I appreciate every single one of you. Have a really wonderful rest of your day and I’ll talk to you next time. Bye for now.

Lauren: 

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of earning by design. If you found value today, I would be incredibly grateful if you could leave a review on your favorite podcast platform. Your feedback not only helps this podcast to grow, but it also helps to get in front of more designers who need help too. So thank you sincerely for being here and for more resources to help you succeed in the world of design. Please visit for the creativescom. That’s the number. For the creativescom. We offer a variety of courses, programs and free resources, all tailored to enhance your design skills and your business knowledge. Also, be sure to follow me on Instagram at for the creatives for more updates and tips, and, if you haven’t already joined my growing community of over 100,000 subscribers on the for the creatives YouTube channel that has more content, all designed to fuel your creativity and your professional growth. Until next time, keep creating, keep exploring and continue to push the boundaries of your own creative journey. I’ll be here to guide and inspire you every step of the way.

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Vital tips to closing deals with confidence.

As a designer, you’ve likely faced the challenge of dealing with client objections during the final stages of closing a deal. These objections can be daunting, but they also present an opportunity to showcase your value and build stronger relationships with your clients. In our latest podcast episode, we delve into effective strategies for managing these tough conversations:

  • Understanding Client Objections: Approach objections with empathy and understanding.
  • Addressing Lack of Experience: Be honest, offer a discounted rate, and showcase transferable skills.
  • Negotiating Pricing: Maintain professionalism, explain the value of your services, and explore flexible payment options.
  • Incentivizing Quick Decisions: Create urgency with timelines for proposals to encourage prompt decisions.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Role-play sales calls to build confidence and handle objections effectively.

Dealing with client objections is a natural part of the sales process. By approaching these conversations with empathy, effective communication, and a problem-solving mindset, you can transform objections into successful outcomes. Remember, every objection is an opportunity to strengthen your client relationships and demonstrate your value as a designer.

For more in-depth strategies and practical tips on managing client objections, be sure to listen to the latest episode of Earning by Design. where I share valuable insights that can help you turn objections into opportunities and close deals with confidence.

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