DO YOU BACK DOWN TOO EASILY? A FREELANCER’S GUIDE TO NEGOTIATION
This week I was asked to fly across the country for a one-day meeting. I hesitatingly agreed.
Meeting in person has its benefits, but flying across the country for one meeting means leaving my other clients hanging and my employees scrambling. On top of that, I will have to work nights and weekends to make up the time I’m losing and then there’s the emotion. I’ll be leaving my family for this time. It’s the first week of summer vacation, so I’ll be hiring additional help to cover the times my children are not in camp. These are all the things that flashed through my mind as I agreed and told my client I would send over potential travel costs.
But when I sent over the costs, my client balked. He was shocked at my prices and I was shocked at his reaction. He thought my one day fee was exorbitant, as was the hotel cost. I quickly responded with my gut starting to ache with anxiety and the back and forth began, before my logical brain yelled STOP!
What was missing in the negotiation was the value.
I know my worth. I am good at my job and I bring residual value to any team I join. And, in this particular case, I bring additional value because I have done these types of meetings before and I’ve worked with the team leader before.
But I hadn’t reminded my client. Instead, I backed down and started changing my price.
The truth is, there is little value to me being in this meeting. I won’t make more money because of it, I won’t be meeting potential clients, or learning a new skill for my business.
In this meeting, I am giving my expertise. Not receiving anything.
I deserve to be paid my worth.
So, what should I have done before negotiating?
CLARIFY THE SITUATION
Make sure that everybody involved understands exactly what is expected from each party. Negotiating is tough, but when you have settled on a price, only to find out that the job is not what you expected, that’s ten times worse!
START 10% HIGHER
If you know (or think) you might end up negotiating, come up with your top price and then add 10%. This way, when you come down in price, you will still feel good about your price. Added bonus, your client will also feel like they have won.
I offered to be available via video conference, but this option was never mentioned after the back and forth started. This is important because it was a big mistake on my part. Think about it… if it was never brought up as part of our ongoing conversation then it was not the end result the client wanted. He wanted me there in person. Why? Because I’m good! So, why am I on the ropes?
- When providing options be sure that you are happy with all of them.
- Don’t offer ten options. Two is enough. And keep in mind that there is always a third option: work with someone else.
TAKE YOUR TIME
My first response was two seconds after I heard the client’s initial disappointment. If you have a choice between making a plan in two seconds or 24 hours, which would you take? I acted like a dumbass because I didn’t think things through.
ACCENTUATE YOUR VALUE
When you go to a doctor and she suggests that you take a pill to cure your illness, do you start making alternative suggestions? No, of course not, because you went to the expert. You either take it or you don’t. Do you think your client would be haggling with a shoe salesman on the price of a pair of sneakers? No! They either buy the sneakers or don’t see the value.
If your client is haggling with you, they don’t believe that you are worth your price.
BUT – they wouldn’t haggle at all unless they thought you add some value to their business.
So, either you convince them of your worth at a price you’re both happy with, or you both lose.
How to convince a client of your worth
I would like to be there with the team as I think it will really help to bring marketing and sales into place at once. I believe the brainstorming and relationship building will generate a wealth of ideas. There is also value in the fact that I have worked with you at many quarterly events before and – as you already know – my follow up post-meeting ensures that the ideas generated are actually put into practice.
That being said, being available via video conference is a lot cheaper and still brings me to the table. I will still be able to run with the ideas presented after the meeting using this method, but there will not be the same camaraderie, and I will not be able to assist you as I might in person.
- explain what you will be doing for your client
- hint at how you are better qualified than anyone else that could do the job
- lay out how you’ll be making life easier for your client as an individual, rather than a business.
- bring up the other option and make it clear that it’s an option, but not the best option.
CLOSE WITH CONFIDENCE
I’ve provided an exclusive price for being there in person, and an exclusive price for being available full day via conference. Let me know which one works best for you.
Close the door on this. It’s costing everyone money to go back and forth on this, not to mention the anxiety. Be clear that you’ve provided two options, you’re ok with either option, and they get to choose one… not come up with another option!
Have you had to negotiate with a client yet? Need to know other types of negotiation, like billing? Check out our other posts on this topic on our main blog page: https://abaskmarketing.com/blog
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