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Pay More for Less Output

When American president Woodrow Wilson was asked how much time he spent preparing his speeches he said: That depends on the length of the speech. If it is a ten-minute speech it takes me all of two weeks to prepare it; if it is a half-hour speech it takes me a week; if I can talk as long as I want to it requires no preparation at all. I am ready now.

“Less is more” sometimes means “giving you less (output) requires more work”.

The output that the client sees and the actual project scope can, but absolutely don’t have to be proportional. In many cases like the one above, they are reversely proportional i.e. when output shrinks the actual amount of work involved balloons and vice-versa.

I’m usually all for not-oversharing details with the client, but this is not the time to keep silent. No one likes paying for what they cannot see, and clients without personal experience in such a project can easily be confused by a lower output paired with a higher price tag. I have been asked by clients whether that was a mistake in my proposal:) In fact, that was a good segway into explaining this to them without sounding presumptuous.

Even if you ultimately base your price on inputs or value, taking time to explain the reversely proportional relationship between your output and the project scope can positively affect your relationship with the client.

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