[thelist] Customer requirements: simple?

Matt Warden mwarden at gmail.com
Tue Sep 7 21:32:39 CDT 2010

On Tue, Sep 7, 2010 at 4:51 AM, Alex Beston <alex.beston at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi list
> I thought I would throw up a thing for discussion.
> Should we answer email from people who want things that are "simple" and
> "just the basics".
> I think it ought to be put down as a red flag client moment and dismissed as
> such.

I'm going to disagree with some of the responses you've received so
far. You're not in the business of educating potential customers on
the very business they are trying to get into (running a site in some
fashion). It leads to very long sales cycles, and your reward is
peanuts for pay and headaches along the way.

That said...

In my experience a lot of time these are just folks who are very
inexperienced with negotiating on price. If they really thought it was
simple, they probably wouldn't be coming to you. They are using cue
words like "simple", "quick", etc. in attempt to negotiate. So handle
it like any other negotiation on price.

I'd have the conversation with them. It's not necessarily a waste of
time. And you don't have to be the party pooper who is instructing
them on their naiveté. Just ask the right questions. "Have you thought
about how you're going to handle X?" "What about the scenario when Y?"
"Do you already have A, B, & C done and ready for me to take the next

Each time you ask a question like this (to which you probably already
know the answers), you're tipping the needle back a bit in the
reasonable pricing direction. And it's not a lecture where you are
explaining how the world works to them.

(You should be able to get a feel in the first 10 minutes whether
these guys are going to pay your market rate or not. If not, move on.
Even in this economy, no one needs to be inviting headaches.)

Matt Warden
Austin, TX, USA

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