Successfully handling client objections is an essential part of running a freelancing business. However, when faced with a prospect or client objection for the first time, many freelancers don’t know what to do. Even worse, they may take the objection personally.
Facing an objection from a prospective client doesn’t have to mean that you’ve lost their business. Instead, it can be the launching point for a discussion that leaves of both you feeling better about doing business with each other.
In this post, I’ll discuss seven common prospective client objections. I’ll also invite you to share client objections that you’ve faced and to explain how you’ve handled them.
Here are seven common objections that prospective clients often bring up and tips for handling each objection:
- You Don’t Have Enough Experience. This can be a challenging objection to overcome if you are just starting out. Take this as a challenge to show them why you are qualified. If you are a student, tell them what you accomplished as a student. For example, “I was top in my design class at college.” You can also refer them to your portfolio or professional samples. (If you don’t have a portfolio or professional samples, your next task is to create them.)
- You Are Too Old. While age discrimination is illegal in the United States, this objection crops up anyway. Fortunately, it’s easily dealt with if you’ve been keeping your skills up-to-date. List some recent courses or projects that you’ve completed that show that your expertise in the latest developments in your field. Refer this prospect to your latest samples. This is where your own blog and guest blogging can help strengthen your freelancing resume. Make sure that what you write highlights your knowledge.
- Your Fees Are Too High. Your first task is to discover whether your fees are a little too high or a lot too high. If prospective client feels your fees are a little too high, you can work with the prospect to show them why you are worth the extra investment. If the prospect feels your fees are a lot too high, then they are probably not a true prospect for you. You can decide whether you want educate them about the value of your work, or you can just let them go elsewhere. Just don’t waste a whole lot of time on someone who is unlikely to buy.
- My Last Freelancer Did X. Sadly, clients often judge us by what our predecessors did. This can be good or bad, depending on the predecessor. If you find yourself working with a client who has been burnt by a freelancer in the past, you may wind up working twice as hard to prove yourself. Just stay calm and remind yourself (and from time to time, the client) that you are not that other freelancer. Remember that the client has been hurt in the past and is now wary of freelancers.
- I Can Do This Myself. Many prospective clients say this and it may indeed be true–in theory. Your prospective client very well might have the skills to do the project that they are assigning to you. In reality, however, the prospect probably doesn’t have the time to do the work. That’s why they need you. Point out that by using your services, they are freeing themselves up so that they can devote more time to what they really want to be doing.
- I Need This More Quickly. This can be a great point to start negotiating from. Ask the client when they actually do need the project. Maybe they can reduce the scope to get it sooner. If you charge rush fees, this may be the time to implement them. You might also wish to bring in a subcontractor to help you meet their more aggressive deadline. If you find, however, that the deadline is totally unrealistic, it may be time to educate the client about how long the project actually takes.
- You Don’t Have (Specific Experience). A very common objection that prospects make is that, while you have experience, it isn’t specific to their project. They might phrase such an objection like this, “we were really looking for someone who has experience designing websites for nonprofits.” If you feel that you can do the job, explain how your past experience ties into their project. Be as specific as you can be. Remember, you may see these commonalities, but to your client their project is totally unique.
A Final Word of Caution
Clients and prospective clients often don’t voice their true objection. Sometimes, they voice everything but their true objection. Other times, they just quietly slip away.
That’s why it’s up to you to open the dialog and get them to voice what’s really bothering them so that you can deal with it. Try saying things like, “what could I do to change your mind?”
What are some common client/prospect objections that you’ve encountered? How have you answered them?
Share your stories in the comments.
Image by ImNotQuiteJack