Last Updated on September 29, 2022 by Umer Malik
The lure of the freelance life is compelling. Who wouldn’t want the ability to set their hours and be their own boss? However, the joy of being self-employed can quickly become a nightmare when you cannot pay your bills. Knowing how negotiation can be the difference between getting paid what you’re worth or being at the mercy of clients who think they can lowball you.
The good news is that there are many reputable negotiation training courses available that can show you the ropes. Here are some of their top tips you can use to negotiate like a pro.
Know your worth
Your worth determines your fee. It’s, therefore, crucial that you’re able to articulate what value you bring to the project. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time convincing others to pay you what you’re worth, making it almost impossible to build a successful business.
So, before you schedule a sit-down, think about the value you bring to the table. Start by listing your skills, accomplishments, and experience. For instance, have you received awards for your work? Do you have a degree or certification in your field? Have recently completed a high-profile project that’s received impressive feedback? Think of what achievements speak directly to the customer’s needs.
Also, find out the going rates in your industry to help you determine what to charge. Undercutting your price may get you more clients initially, but it could also devalue your work in the long-term. Overcharging could scare off potential customers.. You can use websites like Payscale or Glassdoor as a starting point.
Do your homework
When you’re armed with information, you can make a strong case for the value you bring to the table. So, carve out some time to research. Negotiation training courses recommend scheduling an informational interview with customers you’re courting.
Use the meeting as an opportunity to learn more about the customer’s specific needs and pain points. Here are some conversation-inspiring questions you could ask to help you uncover key details:
- What are your top priorities?
- What challenges do you face regularly?
- How can I help you achieve your goals?
- What does success look like to you?
Prepare your proposal
Negotiations can be emotional, and it’s easy to get sidetracked. To prevent this from happening, have a well-crafted proposal in hand before you meet with customers.
A great proposal is specific, clear, and concise. Include a section on your process, your timeline, and the deliverables you’ll provide. Also, list your fee and how you arrived at that number. State an actual number and not a range. That’s because when you offer a range, people tend to fixate on the lower end. As a result, you could end up being shortchanged.
Avoid using the same proposal for every customer. Instead, tailor it to the specific negotiation at hand. It shows you’ve taken the time to understand the customer’s needs and are invested in their success.
Identify your walkaway point
Walking away can be tough, especially if you’re desperate for work. However, negotiation training courses say it can be your greatest bargaining chip. For one, it keeps you from acting out of desperation. When you’re desperate, you’re more likely to accept any terms, no matter how unfair.
Secondly, it opens the possibility of a better offer. When customers see you’re willing to walk away, they are highly likely to sweeten the pot. Finally, it takes the emotion out of the meeting, allowing you to focus on the facts and get the best possible outcome.
To find your walkaway point, ask yourself how much you need to make the project worthwhile. Consider the cost of your time, the materials needed, and your overhead costs. Once you’ve arrived at a number, build in some “wiggle room.” This will give you the flexibility to make small concessions without undercutting yourself. .
Negotiating takes confidence, which is best built with practice. So, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro, carve out some time to sharpen your abilities. You could look into online negotiation training courses or try practicing with friends or family members.
Practice is most effective when it happens often. After all, you don’t know when opportunities will arise. So, it’s best to be prepared. During your practice, try to mimic the conditions of a real negotiation as much as possible. That way, you’ll be more comfortable and confident when it comes to the time to put your skills to the test.
Strong negotiating skills could mean the difference between getting the job and being passed over. By preparing ahead of time, you can put your best foot forward and make a great impression.
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