Common Mistakes: Indulging clients with big dreams and small budgets


It’s very challenging (and frustrating actually) when I get a bride who has been dreaming about her wedding her whole life and starts describing a million dollar event without the least awareness of how much things actually cost. Then, there is another group of clients who actually know what things cost, but in their minds somehow expect that you will either lower your prices or do some kind of magic to give them what they want for a very small budget.

place settings, table setting,flowers,wedding centerpieces,bouquets,arrangements

Here is an example of an event that ended up being bigger than the client’s original budget. However, they did receive a great value. For example, the flowers in this centerpiece also ended up working as the giveaways for the event–two for one.

I have received countless calls from vendors and friends describing jobs from one of my books clients wanted them to duplicate for very little cost. I have also seen pictures of some of these reproductions vendors and friends have created from my books and they’ve done incredible work for much less than I was able to (you know who you are–congratulations!).

After making the mistake of indulging my clients with the fantasy that they can get more for less, this is what I have learned to bring them back to reality:

  • In that initial meeting you do want to hear all their dreams and wants. However, you need to establish a very clear explanation of your services and cost in a way that any client can understand easily.
  • It helps a great deal when you have varying levels for your cost choices (from less expensive to the more costly). It’s important that you have visuals to describe what a client will get at each level. For example: this table is $200 with an explanation in great detail why. This other table is $300 also with an explanation, etc.
  • This level of detail in explaining is important for your services as well. I find that once a client learns how your pricing works, it’s easier to make a sale.
  • Explain to clients that you are willing and excited to give them their dream event, however they might have to decide what is more important to them because they simply cannot have it all. (Most clients understand this. The ones that insist in getting it all for less are NOT for you.)
  • It’s all about romancing the clients, treating them with great care, and being very firm on your costs. I find that even very wealthy clients became wealthy because they learned how to spend their money effectively by getting the best value possible. So, it’s up to you to convince them what they are getting is valuable.

Regardless of how much money a client has, they all have a cost they are comfortable spending. You always need to find out what that price is. I have also learned that if there is something they really love and want (and can afford), they might be willing to spend a bit more. It is up to you to create an environment of upselling. (Next week I’d love to talk about how you upsell–the art of getting a client to spend more than they originally intended.)

Question: Can you actually say NO to a client who wants you to lower your prices? If not, how do you deal with them?