How Clients De-value Expertise

May 28, 2009 by  

I always try to establish myself as a “marketing partner.” I can’t stand being referred to as a “vendor.” It takes a lot of effort to move that perception of value in the minds of some people.

This parody video just made me sick to my stomach…. because it’s spot on. I’ve heard every one of these excuses so many times during my career. It’s incredibly frustrating and demoralizing how some people undervalue the expertise of others.

  • “I want the highlights. But can only pay for the trim.”
  • “I don’t want you to work for free. It’s just a test. You can roll the cost over next time.”
  • “I’m not making any money either. You gotta work with me.”
  • “We’ll make it up on the next one.”
  • “I can cover your hard costs. But that’s as far as I can go.”
  • “We need you to show us how you make it so we can do it in-house next time.”

My advice is to stick firmly to your position and don’t give it all away. Sure there are times you may want to barter or there could be some tangible benefit. But there’s no reason to be bullied into giving your skills away especially to someone who obviously has no respect for you.

What are your thoughts? How do you combat this behavior in your day-to-day business relationships?


One Response to “How Clients De-value Expertise”
  1. PBirn says:

    First, does a gut check. Do you feel in the pit of your stomach that this is someone who you can trust, will look out for you and not keep asking for no pay favors? If they don't pass ALL of these tests stop returning their phone calls!

    Some people just do better with facts and figures. In that case, assuming they get past the gut check, show them a simple work effort budget. This is a high level breakdown of the hours by specialty to get the job done. This usually helps refocus the conversation to be more business like and shows you are the type of professional they NEED on the job.