When  proposing a fixed-price project to a client, I nearly always present three options for doing the project:

  1. lowest price / lowest value
  2. medium price / medium value
  3. highest price / highest value

If the client has a very small budget, then I’ll sometimes figure out a “lowest value” project that has the client’s employees doing a lot of the legwork, and where I provide the process for doing so and the analysis.

An example:  I provide an interview guide and training for the product managers to do their own win/loss interviews.  For competitive analysis, I might provide the framework, project manage the research activities to be done by employees, and then I’d do the end analysis.

For the highest value option, I usually pitch something that is very valuable to the client but beyond their stated budget.  It is usually  a full-service option that handles any and all administrative work and also provides the secondary deliverables that the client would usually derive on their own from our research.

So, for example, instead of just providing a competitive analysis report, the “gold” option might also provide 1) a sales training presentation on the competition, 2) battlecards for Sales, 3) 10 product videos, each 3 minutes long, highlighting key product differences, and 4) a deck (complete with speaking notes) that the VP Products can give to the executive leadership team.

When you present three options, most of the time people select the medium option. But you’d be surprised at how often the gold-plated, highest-value option also gets selected.