The Pre-Send-Send: How to Tell a Client How Much You Charge

Most everybody is at least loosely familiar with the philosopher and author Voltaire. Sure, he's well known for writing one of the first sci-fi novels, and being a huge advocate of freedom of speech and religion, but did you also know that he gamed France's lottery system?

After meeting with famed mathematician Charles Marie De La Condamine, he and Voltaire started an underground syndicate to buy countless lottery tickets for almost nothing. Basically, they were guaranteed to win the lottery. And win they did.


Condamine and Voltaire showing off their sweet sweet riches


By the end of their pseudo-legal con, Voltaire ended up with 500,000 livres (which, in today's currency, would be worth about 5 million dollars.) But he and his syndicate could have only pulled this off with proper study and preparation.

While we may not be bon-vivant old-timey French philosophers (well, except for me), we still want to come at our work with a similar sense of preparation. This benefits not only us, but our clients as well.

We want all of our clients to feel ready to work with us, and to never get any anxiety or second-thoughts when they're interested in hiring us. One way to prevent this is to use the Pre-Send-Send, which will make our clients feel good and prepared to work with us.

The typical process when we work with clients goes like this:

  1. Client asks how much we charge for our work

  2. We freak out

  3. We sheepishly send them a (way-too-low) price

  4. They never respond

  5. We feel bad and wonder if we're ever going to make a living off of this whole "video games" thing

Let's switch things up so no one needs to go through this soul crushing process anymore.

First, instead of just responding to the client with a price

We're going to want to make a project proposal. Basically, this is just an outline of how much we're going to charge for our work, roughly how long our work will take, and what resources our clients will need to give you to make sure we can get the work done.

And once that proposal is ready

Don't send it to them right away. That’s where the Pre-Send-Send comes in. It works like this:

Instead of shooting over the proposal, send them an email to let them know how much the price is going to be a few hours in advance.

Just sending a simple message like this will work wonders: "Hey, as a heads up, I'm finishing up your project proposal right now. It's going to come in at $2000. Thanks!"

Then all we have to do is wait a few hours (to give the client enough time to read the first email), and then we send the proposal itself over.

This way, they won't be shocked when the proposal does arrive, and they'll be far more open to having a conversation about the price (or they'll just hire you outright without protest.)

So, before you send over your proposal, let them know the price in a simple email, wait a few hours, then send the proposal itself.

The client will be far less scared of however much you're charging and will be way more likely to get back to you positively.

Try this!

I want you to go out and try this as soon as you can. You may even have a potential client that you're talking to right now. Try it with them, and then get back to me about how it went.

And if you have no idea how to make a project proposal, fear not

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