Talking Money with Your Clients

How talking money with your clients will make you money

Susan Fennema is the Chaos Eradicating Officer (CEO) of Beyond the Chaos, LLC, a project management and operations consultant company specializing in helping FileMaker development businesses. I did a very enjoyable series of interviews with her in early 2018.

Sadly, I missed her DevCon 2019 presentation, Talking Money with Your Clients. If you didn’t see it, you can watch it below. And you should watch it if you are a FileMaker developer – in house, independent, subcontractor or small business operator.

I captured screen shots of each segment, and provide a time shot of where each starts – just in case you want to jump around or go back to find that one nugget you forgot. The video is at the end of the post.

Here’s why you should watch

A list of what you will learn by listening to this video
3:30 Each item on this list is explored in depth, details you’ll want to hear.
4:40 Detailed info on how it will help you as a developer
What Makes Money-Talk Scary
6:50 We’re all scared by talking money with a client or a superior. Tackling it head on makes it so much easier.
10:20 Without confidence it gets much harder.
11:35 Money makes good things possible.
Can I get a ballpark price?
14:05 Good discussion here on if, what, and when to do these items
Or a Guesstimate?
16:41 Guesstimates will be remembered. Always. Good answer: I have to do discovery to even before thinking about that. And discovery costs $1500.
Project Management Starts Here
20:20 Keep your project from going off the rails. And the missing the third basic is above is timing.
Writing the Proposal
21:45 Studies have shown that 3 options move the client from “Do I work with you” to “How do I work with you”. And much more – like putting a deadline or timeframe for completion.
25:35 My advice: Listen to Susan.
Payment Terms
27:35 Fennema always asks the full amount up front (I get at least 50% or a prepaid hourly contract). She also advises to try to avoid milestones – something I use in all big projects. I’m not sure most clients would for full payment in advance. Might be worth a try sometime.
Proposal Process
31:17 I like her advice here – I always present now in person or on Zoom session. I will be more aware of being confident without hesitation.
Proposal Process - Follow up
At 34:25: Follow up – a must do! I use MailTrack to let me know when someone opens my email. Very handy at times.
36:30 I’d add to her very good list: sometimes you have to be patient and let a negotiation play out. And buy and study this book: Never Split the Difference – Negotiating As If Your Life Depended Upon It . It’s the best negotiation book I’ve ever read. It’s written by Chris Voss: A former international hostage negotiator for the FBI offers a new field-tested approach to high-stakes negotiations – whether in the boardroom or at home.
Getting Paid
42:05 No need to add more here…just listen.
Managing Money and Budget
43:05 It’s good to keep money front and center throughout.
Changes Aren't Free
44:02 Identifying changes is tough sometimes. It’s easier is you spec out the project in detail.
46:51 Managing Expectations
I’ll add: remind you client that speedy back and forth during development means faster delivery.
48:05 Mirroring your clients phrasing gives you a chance to summarize and clarify. Then label their request as an add-on or as something not covered normally.
The result. Happy Clients, lesson learned, completed projects, value delivered, profit
49: 02 I’ll add this: lots less hassle and more time to enjoy things that are important.
50:30 Do not skip the Q and A – lots of specific advice given here.

You’ve been patient…here’s the actual video!

The slide presentation is available here.

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