If your negotiating skills are so bad you are afraid to go to yard sales, this post is for you. We are going to cover how to negotiate effectively. I read in one of John Maxwell’s books that leaders aren’t born, they are made. It’s a skill set in other words. It’s why the old story about the journalist in a remote village resonates with me.
If you are not familiar, the story goes like this. A journalist was dispatched to write a story on great leaders who came from unlikely places. In his quest, he came upon a remote village high in the mountains of a foreign land. He walked up to the village elder and asked, “Excuse me sir, were any great leaders born here?” The elder replied, “No just babies.”
I love that. Leadership is an acquired skill. Nobody comes with a preset. The same is true for negotiation. Get ready. Your days of avoiding yard sales are over. Following are 3 keys to negotiate effectively. Use these to land more clients and stay in the black.
3 Keys to Negotiate Effectively
1. Panic is NOT Your Friend. In my last business venture, we essentially banned the majority shareholder from speaking at meetings where potential customers were involved. We expected push back. He panicked. Every. Single. Time. The result was always the same. He would make too many concessions so the account was not profitable, then get upset in staff meetings and blame someone for the under performing account.
2. Expect Pushback. The nature of negotiation is volley. You should expect a bit of pushback. Any business worth their salt wants to get the best deal possible. If you have a client that immediately accepts your offer, you need to raise your prices. This will enable you to approach negotiation with confidence and not get taken advantage of because of your low prices. Be prepared for them to haggle.
3. Concede Smart. If you have qualified the lead, you should not be too far apart on the numbers. That’s the truth of the matter. When the potential client pushes back, there are a few things you can do. Rarely do you have to concede on price. The examples below will give you some ideas on what to do. this list is not exhaustive, but it will get your brain thinking like a negotiator. Feel free to incorporate your own as you see fit.
Real World Negotiation Examples
- Add Value. You could add something else to the offer. In my case, I might offer a site evaluation for SEO or offer to refresh a few pages of web content in addition to what I am already offering.
- Finish Early. If time is a factor, try shortening the deadline. If you are swamped, this is not the best thing to do, but if you can get to the project right away, a shorter deadline is of real value to the client.
- Ask for More If you are not too far apart on the numbers (again, if you have qualified the potential client you shouldn’t be) ask for additional work. Using me as an example again, if a client is interested in hiring me for a set of business blog posts, I might ask for more posts in return. I might tell them I will be happy to honor that rate for 8 posts rather than 4. This mitigates risk on my end and also gives me the chance to make more money long term.
- Discount to Your Advantage. Finally, you might ask for the entire project fee up front in exchange for honoring the reduced rate. This is usually a last option for me, but it does work. I just don’t like giving up money if I don’t have to. I work too hard for it.
It’s Not About Getting to YES
Remember, negotiation is not about getting to “Yes.” This can be tempting if you are new or it has been a while since your last sale. Resist the urge. Negotiation is about coming to terms that suit both you and the potential client. Win-win is always better than Yes.
Besides, giving in makes you look like an amateur. Refusing to budge makes you look like a snob. Both of these result in frustration and ultimately harm your business. However, in order to negotiate effectively, you have to be smart going in. That is something I will cover in next Tuesday. Have a great week. End it by hitting a few yard sales. I hope you make out like a bandit.