Negotiation is an art, and not everyone has a natural talent to ace it. However, it is an art that can be learned and perfected. Commercial negotiations can be daunting - be it for your salary or for getting your parents to get you the latest car or phone, and having the right negotiation skills is not just crucial for your career growth but are an essential life skill. These skills are necessary for both our formal and informal transactions.
Why Is Good Negotiation Important For You As A Freelancer?
Being a good negotiator can help your business in several ways. It will help you build better relationships with clients and create the right brand image for you. This will then, in turn, help you avoid any future conflicts with the same client. As a freelancer, this skill is of particular importance. You are representing your brand; you fill in for different roles all alone, and you must assess your value realistically. You are an expert in your field, and not being able to negotiate a rate that is worth your expertise will result in drained energy and minimal monetary returns. Both of which are highly disadvantageous to you, the person, and you, the brand.
Before You Enter A Negotiation, Keep This In Mind:
Negotiation can fail miserable and leave you in a weak position if you don't have any experience of the work. Thus, before entering a negotiation, it is essential to have a minimum acceptable rate set out for yourself. This rate is something that you can work out for yourself, considering the time and effort that your tasks will require from your end. It does not have to be the rate you pitch to your potential client. Rather you need to have this in your head so that when push comes to shove, you don't simply reject a project because it isn't paying you above your minimum rate, especially when you are just beginning with freelancing.
Try to Charge On A Project Basis
A mistake that freelancers can make very soon and quickly is to create an income ceiling for themselves. Taking a lump sum amount tends to limit your earning. However, when you are charging per project, the revenue stream can be unlimited. It is essential to make your client worry about the value of the work you are producing. If you put a ceiling to your work and tell them the time rate, it will be easy for them to accept that, given they might have had a higher budget, but your weak demand makes them immediately hire you since they are benefiting more from the deal. Even in cases that you can produce the work quicker than required - let this work to your advantage and not theirs.
Negotiate Based On The Client's Expectation, Not Yours
One can often undermine their work and charge a lower rate based on this perception. However, what you should be doing is the exact opposite. The opinion of the client and what he thinks in terms of the value of the work produced is what matters. You should study the nature of the work and its importance to the client. In scenarios where the impact of your work is more widespread, you will be in a better position to negotiate and amp up your rate. Consider why the client is getting this job done from you and then adjust your worth of the project slightly - to meet halfway.
Get Them To Reveal The Budget
It is smart for you to get the client to name their price or rate, which they would be okay paying. Clients often have prior experience in such things and thus may not always be ready to spill the information to you from the beginning. Therefore it is advised to lead the negotiations by asking them about their budget from the get-go. It is rare for the client to give you the actual and exact figures; however, if you try and understand the scope of work with them, they are likely to reveal some numeric value. This information can thus prove to be highly essential for you in making the decision instead of taking the job or reject it.
You must start high. Negotiations are bound to pull down whatever it is that you propose, and thus starting high is the safest way to go about it. The client will haggle you down, and they will call you out demanding such a high price, but as you both eventually reach a conclusion, still above you minimum rate, he will believe that he has won; however, in hindsight, you will get what you were aiming for from the start! Moreover, if your price is only a satisfied percent higher and your client still goes ahead and rejects the proposition, you will know that they were never really here to negotiate but give out their rate to you!
Give Yourself Time
In case the client has asked you to mention your rate before you understand the nature of the job thoroughly, take your time before you accept the offer - no matter how good the compensation and task may seem. Often clients will give you a very rough estimate of the job and requirements. You should mention that you might fluctuate a little depending on how the work unfolds and the time it may require. If the client is interested, they will most likely get back to you with the contact details.
Most Importantly, Don't Waste Energy Negotiating with Clients Who Are Not Right
You can have the best skills up your sleeve, and you may also have the best negotiation terms ready and laid out, but you may still never be able to convince a client who wasn't looking to be confident in the first place. Some clients come in with the idea to get the job done on their terms, and they may listen to you try to get your point across - they may end up rejecting your bid anyway!
Thus, it is advised not to waste your energy with clients who often end up rejecting your bids and refuse to budge their rates for you. Freelancing can be highly beneficial if you know how to make way for your brand! It is challenging to ace your negotiation skills immediately, but we hope these tricks can help your coming bid!