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How to Negotiate With New Clients

PayPal’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Study, reported that despite women representing 66% of the 5-9’er community, revenues for women who work a side hustle is 71% lower than men.


Particularity for those of us that are service providers in our businesses, we know that for the most part, we don’t come to the table to talk about money.


We come to the table to talk about being helpful, providing value, being an asset, to teach or to mentor. All those things are great and as women, our “nurturing” gene is baked into our DNA. It’s what makes us women.


But—we should stop being afraid to talk about money. Or at least stop putting it last in those client meetings.


Despite popular belief, money is not the root of all evil. Associating money with being bad is not a realistic perspective.


If we can change how we view money, we can change how we negotiate and ask for what we want. It will then become easier to make talking money with our clients empowering instead of scary and nerve-wracking.


1. Talk About Money From the Beginning


Don’t wait until things grow too comfortable to bring up the topic of money. You’re not there to be your client’s best friend. You’re there to deliver value to their business and in return your expectation should be to be compensated.


Even if your client doesn’t ask, be clear from the start about your financial expectations as a consultant or freelancer. This will help normalize the discussion of money when you’re negotiating with new clients.

2. Let Value Drive the Conversation, Not Price


Get the conversation focused on what you are going to help your client accomplish, and away from a price-only discussion.


When you start negotiating with new clients, focus on your process and the value you’ve achieved for other clients using the same methods.


From my experience, most clients tend to have their own budget constraints and are under pressure from their bosses and stakeholders to get as much as possible while spending as little as possible.


When you’re able to communicate the value your service provides on a deep level, your client will be in a better position to understand the cost structure and be able to justify it.


3. Defend Your Authority with Data and Resources


Enter client meetings with reputable data that affirms your position as an authority. Let your clients know that you are dedicated to seeing the process through.


Whether you’re a freelance graphic designer, photographer, marketing consultant, or blogger, it’s important to know your business and your industry in a way that will allow you to respond to challenges confidently and respectfully.


In fact, not only must you know your business, but you must know their business as well. Research their website, scroll through their social media and read through online reviews to see what their customers are saying about them.


It serves you no good to attend meetings or jump on calls totally unprepared.


4. Understand That You Can Never Get Your Time Back


If you feel your time is worth a specific dollar amount, charge for it and stick to your guns. You can get money back, but you will never get your time back. The minute you even entertain discounting your rate, you lose credibility.


Your clients expect you to talk about money. In fact, if you don’t bring up money, they might end up thinking you’re a joke who shouldn’t be taken seriously at all.


5. Know That Experience Leads to Confidence


With all the tips and tricks in the book, it will still take a certain level of experience and confidence to learn how to love talking money with your clients.


In the beginning, you might be a bit green and anxious to pull the trigger on sending your first few client proposals and invoices. But you will become more confident and sure of yourself as your experience grows.


Learn from each mistake and don’t be too hard on yourself if you’ve found that you have undercharged or weren’t as upfront as you should have been. Mistakes will help educate you to move forward with more experience and confidence.


The Take Away


When it comes to negotiating with new clients, money is a currency, a proxy for human needs. But we all want to be valued for our time, we all yearn for experiences that enhance our lives and make us happy and we all strive for quality of life.

And that’s really what it’s all about.