Your project rate: the make-or-break of your success.

You have one chance to make a good first impression. And although your first proposal may end up looking very different to your final agreed contract, what you choose to add into your first pitch could very much determine whether the client chooses to explore an opportunity with you, or not. 

We know that setting an accurate consulting rate is a topic close to many of our independent consultants’ hearts. And along with a high-profile topic, comes lots of debate as to the best strategy to adopt when pitching. 

So – with Talmix customers in mind, and knowing what success looks like to them, we’ve put together a few thoughts about why setting a realistic project rate is the best strategy to set you on a course for project selection.

We know you’re worth it. Make sure the client knows that too.

Every so often, we receive proposals from consultants who pitch their services at triple, and sometimes even quadruple the rate of the client’s project budget. And sometimes, a slightly higher proposal rate makes sense – but only when the consultant has taken the time to explain why the client’s budget may not be on par with a true reflection of the work involved, and subsequently the rate that accompanies it.  However, very often, a higher proposal rate is rejected at first glance purely down to the fact that the client does not receive the justification for the increase of cost.  On the contrary, on the occasion where a project budget appears to be too low, the consultants that stand out from the rest, are those who pitch what is possible to be achieved at the client’s budget, but also adds on additional services (and their accompanying costs) that will enable the client’s bigger picture success. 

Margin of Flexibility

From our experience of working with a large quantity of projects over the years, we have developed insights into what clients deem to be acceptable rate flexibility, and on average, those consultants who have proposed a rate that is 50% higher than the client’s budget, and who have taken the time to justify their increased costs, do appear more successful in moving through towards the next round of selection, than those whose project margins are substantially more than the client’s budget.  

Proposing a fixed day-rate

Many of our consultants are also hesitant about setting a fixed day rate with a client within their initial proposal – and rather, instead of proposing any type of fee, revert to a desire to discuss it with the client in further detail. Keep this in mind: There are consultants who are pitching at realistic, set rates, who can do what you can do, and who are successfully giving the client the information they need to make a first-round decision in shortlisting who to discuss the project with further. If the client feels that information they need, which includes an indication that matches their project budget, is missing – they will simply rule you out of the shortlist and move onto someone who has given them what they need.  So, pitch what you can do, at the rate that the client has put forward, and if you are lucky enough to be shortlisted – then take the opportunity to discuss it further with the client and come to an agreement that suits everyone. 

For more tips and ideas taken from winning proposals, join our live broadcast on 6 June. 

About the Author

Katy Roberts

Katy is an independent marketing consultant and founded Fresh Brew Marketing out of her love for the cuppa. A seasoned marketer, Katy writes for several global publications and provides outsourced marketing services to businesses throughout the UK. She is a keen geocacher and rates running around in city centres dressed in Christmas lights as one of her most successful Social Media campaigns to date.

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