One of the most frustrating things that you’re going to run into when you start pitching clients and you’ve probably already realized this, is how do you qualify a client and make sure that people have the right budget?

The 4 Steps Guide to Qualify a Client and Get Always a Budget

The most frustrating experiences are when you go for days and days with multiple calls with somebody, draft a proposal and you never hear from them after, or you hear from them two months later and they say they went with another firm because you were too expensive.

A little worse than that is that you probably sent out the proposal and they gave you a call to tell you they can’t make it work for the price you’re giving, that’s the ‘best case scenario’.

The thing is that clients don’t know how much you cost so you’re shocking them when they see the price and that’s why they’re having this reaction.

In this post, I’m going to cover how to get their budgets and how to qualify a client before you spend all the time writing a proposal.

Let’s begin…

1. Always Mention Price on Call #1

Mobile App developers don’t like doing this. They always say their apps are customs so they can’t really figure out a price which is totally not true.

I’ll tell you right now that an Uber clone could sell for $450,000, an e-commerce site is probably about $250k to $350k, and if you want to go all-in or for a smaller site maybe $50k.

How did I come up with those prices?

Well, I made them all up! I’ve been selling mobile apps for years and I know what these things cost.

You know even better than I do what your agency charges for apps, you and your sales people can throw out prices on the phone, that’s my main recommendation in order to qualify a client.

If you tell someone that wants to build an Uber clone that it cost $150,000 you’ll get an immediate reaction from them.

They’ll either change their tone to try to convince you to lower it down or they’ll totally go for it.

So, you say the budget, you pause, wait for them to say anything, sometimes they will, sometimes they won’t, the first person to speak in a negotiation loses –it’s somebody’s rule.

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2. Ask: “Does that Work?”

The way this works in practice is you talk to the client, let’s say they want the Uber clone, then you tell them how you would achieve their projects and all the things that it includes, from API to UX and UI design and the research to make sure that it’ll work, you tell your price and ask them if it works for them.

Overall you’d tell them what are the components you’ll work with, assure them you’ve done that work before and you know what you’re doing, THAT should explain your price, whether it’s too expensive or it’s alright for the client (You qualify a client).

If it doesn’t work, you can pitch other options like an HTML5 app or even passing it out to one of your partners –because you’re building partnerships, right?- that could do the app a lot cheaper than you can.

3. Never Send a Proposal Without Discussing Price

You never want your customer to see the price in an email before you discussed it over the phone.

Normally, the way I get through that is telling everybody our pricing on the first call. That’s the easiest way I find to do it.

Other agencies will set a proposal meeting before they ever discuss the cost and they’ll send an email maybe 5 to 10 minutes before the meeting. This way you can look at the price when they are already committed to meeting with you.

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The reason you don’t want to show the price over an email is for sticker shock, basically if you’re charging $150k for an app and the customer sees that without any chance to talk to you whether it’s too expensive or ask any questions, they’ll freak out and, in my experience, you’ll lose the meeting.

It’s close to a 100% of the time if you send a price without ever saying it verbally first.

4. During that First Call Set a Specific Time for a Follow-Up Meeting

If they’re serious about buying from you, they’ve thought about their decision-making process and they’ll meet again with you in the future.

The way I like to transition into this is if they are cool with the price, is by asking them what are the next steps for them.

They’ll probably need to talk to their co-founders or if you’re talking to SMBs or startups they’ll need to get a decision by the end of the week and that’s when you can ask them for another meeting as soon as possible.

They either push back and ask for the back-and-forth emails where you can send the proposal email with the link to your Calendly or ideally, they meet with you as soon as possible.

You’ll be surprised when you start doing this on how many of your customers are willing to meet with you in the same week, sometimes even the next day.

If you qualify a client, you’ll speed up your sales cycles a lot with this method.

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About The Author

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Alex Berman is the founder and chief content creator of X27 Marketing. He is passionate about promoting efficient B2B lead generation channels and executing on data-driven strategies for his clients.