On making proposals

Clients so often want you to tell them what your work will cost before they really know what they want you to do. They know they have some kind of problem and they want you to solve it. And that’s if you’re lucky! Or worse, they tell you what the solution is and you know it’s not what they really need.

So don’t automatically send a pricing proposal. Your task is to read a lot between the lines and figure out what their problem actually is and what will help them. Engage the client in a discussion. Ask a lot of questions. Learn what they have already and what they hope for and how it all fits into the big picture. Make suggestions and see how they react. Come back to them with a restatement of the assignment that makes sense before before you scare them off with a price for the wrong thing. And get all parties to agree on the brief.

Selling them something that’s the wrong thing will hurt you in the end – even if it’s what they asked for. If you can frame the client’s brief the way you want it, you can set yourself up for doing some truly excellent creative work as well as for solving their problem.