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Research-Backed Tips to Get Clients to Agree to Your Rates

Updated on January 17th, 2022

I’ve been asked a lot about cold pitching lately and, in response to these questions I am also told that some people are getting messages like this one:

What are your compensation requirements? If they align with what we can afford, we can explore the conversation further, if not, I don’t want to waste your time.

Or this one:

Thank you for getting in touch with us and we would like to know more about what you have to offer. Given our size, we are very price sensitive at this point so one of the first things I ask is either your business model with working with companies such as us or the rate of your writing services.

Any freelancer will attest to the fact that potential clients can be very price sensitive. If you, as a freelancer, are not able to properly communicate the value your potential clients will get by paying the rates you charge, or why you’re worth as much as you charge, this will result in you losing the deal. Below are some research-backed tips for getting clients to agree to pay your rates:

Work on Your Perceived Value, Not Just Actual Value

Many freelancers make the mistake of working on improving the actual value they can offer potential clients and ignoring their perceived value: they constantly work on improving their skills and ability, they constantly improve their knowledge and experience by studying materials in their field, yet they do little to improve their marketability and perceived value.

It takes marketing ability to sell a product or service, and that includes yourself as a freelancer. Sometimes a quick look through some marketing and sales material can give you some great ideas. Ask a friend who is in sales to hear your sales pitch.

More than anything else, your perceived value is what will determine whether potential clients agree to your rate or look for someone else. This was established by Richard Thaler’s beer on the beach experiment. The experiment established that people would be willing to pay almost double for the same beer if they got it from a fancy hotel resort compared to if they got it from a run-down local grocery store.

If you allow potential clients perceive and see that you are a premium freelancer, they will pay your premium rates. If they can’t see you as a premium freelancer it will be tough to convince them to pay your rates.

Sell Results, Not Your Service

As a freelance writer, how much do you get paid per article? $20? $50? $100? This freelance writer was paid $10,000 just for one article.

At the end of the day it’s easy to get ourselves boxed up in the mentality of “industry rates.” Experience has shown that most clients do not care as much about industry rates as they care about getting themselves a bargain and paying for results.

If you’re struggling to get potential clients to agree to your rates, perhaps it’s time to reframe your messaging and marketing. Start emphasizing results when you mention your rates: it’s easy to find a $10,000 design expensive, but it becomes a bargain if that same design can boost conversions by 20 percent and revenue by $7,000 monthly. Sell results to your clients and watch them agree to your rates easily.

Work on Getting Social Proof that Clients Can Recognize and Respect

Finally, another way to get potential clients to effortlessly agree to your rates is by working on social proof. When potential clients see you as a struggling designer, it’s easy to find your average rates expensive. When a potential client realizes that you’ve done design work for Coca Cola and Apple, however, they easily rationalize even extremely high rates. This is explainable behavior, and it is well justified by research.

Get social proof by working for major clients and highlighting this fact, by getting covered in the media and by getting testimonials from your clients that have gotten results from your work.



Joseph Ola

Joseph Ola

Joseph Ola, a versatile freelance writer from one of the biggest countries in Africa. He writes about tech and financial advice.

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