From either the bakery or VoIP consulting, I get to sift through “feelers” on a daily basis.

Some come from people who have an exact idea of what they want, are familiar with market pricing, and have realistic budgets. These are educated potential clients. Generally, these clients want quality and will pay (within reason) for good, quality work.

They are rare gems, and we act on them very quickly.

Most feelers come from people who want the best — but have no knowledge of what pricing may cost. They may like a photo, they may have had a friend say “you need this,” or may need to “one-up” the Jones’.

These clients do not have budget expectations and can be easily offended by reasonable prices. In the bakery world, the response might be “for a cake???” In the tech world, you get “this guy in India can do it for 1/10 of that price.”

Although the client’s budget may be unrealistic to me, the price is unrealistic to them.

Unrealistic expectations work both ways.

There are many ways to handle different price expectations. Being gruff (and perhaps showing them a Good, Fast, Cheap diagram) generally will only make things worse.

Remember, always be nice.

“I have a very low budget, can you create this?
“You’ve described a highly available phone system capable of serving more than 100,000 clients. Generally, this system will require a considerable budget to get started. With a lower budget, we can create something that will work for a few hundred clients and grow as the budget increases.”

Every question is an opportunity.