Someone asked me, "How do I quote consulting work for clients?" That's a long answer, much longer than the time I had to answer it. But I was able to share three ideas that have made a world of difference for me. If you want more check out this book by Randy Illig and Mahan Khalsa. It's a game changer.
Rule #1: No guessing
Don't assume you know the budget. Ask. Don't guess the time frame is 30 days. Ask. Don't assume they have the money available to pay you. Ask. We make so many assumptions about what clients want us to do and what their goals are. And these assumptions get us into trouble. Refusing to guess does slow down the process. It requires more conversation (not email) between you and the client. But it builds trust and it sets you apart from other professionals.
Rule #2: Slow down for yellow lights
This one is hard. Our tendency (on the road and when dealing with possible projects) is to speed up and just get through it. If the prospect keeps jumping all over the place and can't decide what they want then slow down and ask if you can narrow the scope or expand the budget. If you find out the decision maker is going to be out of town slow down and reschedule the presentation. If you can't get information when you ask for it slow down and find out if this is going to be a problem when you are working together on a big project. Don't speed up. Slow down. It's much faster in the long run.
Rule #3: DELIVER proposals
This is the BIGGEST mistake I see CPA's making. If a prospect or client wants you to email your proposal, politely REFUSE and suggest another option. CPA's balk at this and make all kinds of excuses, but these excuses are driven by fear, not legitimate concerns from the client. There are several options available. The telephone turns 141 years of age this week. Eighty year-old great grandparents are using Skype and FaceTime everyday without a hitch. If it's not feasible to meet face-to-face there are other options.
There is no substitute for a real time conversation. In about 50% of my proposals we end up making changes during the meeting that INCREASE our role and result in even more profitable projects for us. That will not happen if you email your PowerPoint or price quote. AND your refusal to play the email game will make you stand out from your competitors. It will build trust and assure clients that you know what you are doing.
I would encourage you to pick up a copy of Khalsa and Illig's book, Let's Get Real or Let's Not Play. It is very practical. If you don't mind some vintage video I did a presentation for my clients YEARS ago, and you can view the recording here.