If you are running a business, you will be in the situation of negotiating at some point and you should be equipped to deal with it confidently. A quote by John F. Kennedy says:
“Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.”John F. Kennedy
In line with this quote, here are some tips to help you stay calm, confident and get your desired outcome next time you’re in the position of negotiating.
- Move away from thinking it’s an attack
This is the best mindset tip we can share and it can make a difference. Move away from thinking it’s an attack and look at it as a positive sign the client wants to work with you. If they weren’t interested, they wouldn’t be wasting their precious time talking to you. They would simply say no from the beginning.
Why is this important? Because if you think it’s an attack, you will become defensive, you will start justifying and you will start compromising.
That’s not a good position to negotiate from.
If you’re not confident and you don’t believe in the value of your services, your client will start doubting too. And if the client can’t trust your expertise, chances are they will choose someone else who they can trust.
- Prepare as you would for an interview
If you think about it, an interview is a type of a negotiation setting. You go there to talk about your skills and expertise and convince the employer you are the best candidate for the job. Similarly, in a client negotiation, you will end up talking about why you are the best fit for them.
Preparation is key. So research the client, go back to what was said in your discovery call to understand what their problem is, how you can help them fix it and achieve their goals.
Think about any potential question they may ask so that you are not caught off guard. When that happens, you might talk faster, gesticulate, or become defensive. Worse, you could go completely blank and not find your words. Either way, it looks like you’re not very confident and makes the client think twice before saying YES to working with you.
- Empathy – put yourself in their shoes
Your priority is not their priority. They don’t really care that this contract will help your business scale or bring you financial stability. Try to see the reality from their perspective and understand what their priorities are. They care about their concerns, the problems or goals they have and how you can support them. Some need accountability, others need support or a sounding board. Some just need an expert to do the work for them and remove the hassle. Once you understand their reality, you will be able to offer and negotiate a deal that will work for both parties.
- Prepare case studies, social proof, maybe a similar example even
Showing them what you did for similar clients will help remove their worries and doubts. They will build trust that you can help them too, that you are truly an expert and you are worth the money. Seeing your process in practice will give them reassurance and help them visualise how your partnership will work.
A testimonial from a client will confirm their thoughts and perceptions of what you can do for them and will reassure them of making the right choice. Help them rationalise their decision even further.
- Talk about values if relevant
People seek out values in other businesses as they would in friendships. Research into purchasing showed that when a purchase is tied to values, it makes customers more inclined to spend more money. If you have the opportunity to talk about your values and show how you act on them, do so. Your content is the best place for it. In a call, examples of situations that reveal your values, will make you more relatable. It will help your client connect with you even more and when that happens, emotions are triggered and the likelihood for a collaboration increases.
This doesn’t mean you should use manipulation or lie about your values. Authenticity is key when it comes to client relationships.
- Apply and get better with practice
If you feel like negotiation is not your thing and handling difficult conversations doesn’t come easy, we created some templates to help you. The key is to practice until it gets easier. But applying without a clue where to start, won’t ever make you want to start. These templates help you do just that. Even beyond the negotiation stage, some of these scripts cover:
- How to say NO to a client
- How to tell your client your prices have gone up
- How to ask for testimonials
- How to welcome your client onboard
- How to follow up with a client after you sent them the proposal
And more. You can discover all 27 templates here.
They were created to save you time and hassle. But more than anything, these templates are meant to give you a starting point in handling client questions and remove the discomfort of a negotiation. So that you can always get the best for your business.
Have you ever been in a situation where your fear of negotiation stopped you from getting the best possible outcome?