Negotiating successfully is an art that you must learn. When it comes to doing business, you want to get the most for your time and money. Many people, especially freelancers, are intimidated by the thought of negotiating.
They picture a room with oak-paneled walls, dim lighting, sitting in a chair at the end of a long table. At the other end is the person with whom they’re negotiating. They may even feel like an enemy you have to outwit to get what you want, strategizing your next move and looking for a kill shot. This is not an accurate representation of what a successful negotiation looks like.
While there must be some strategy and planning when negotiating, the goal is for both parties to benefit in the end. To negotiate successfully in business and life, there are a few fundamentals you should learn.
Know When to Negotiate
Timing is everything when it comes to negotiating successfully. There are right and wrong times when you should try to negotiate with someone.
The Right Time
When you have built rapport and a relationship with the other party, you can negotiate. Because you have trust between the two of you, they are more willing to listen to your offer and reasoning.
A successful negotiation also takes place when both parties benefit from the outcome. When you find yourself in this situation, then it is the right time to negotiate.
The Wrong Time
Greed is an ugly trait, especially in business. If you are already receiving a discount, you should not try to negotiate. They have already graciously done you a favor to save money. You don’t want to ask for more.
Know Your Value
As a freelancer or business owner, you should know what your worth is to someone. Be confident in the rates that you have set for your time or product. If you need a confidence boost, back up your reasoning for setting your rates with proof. This could include how your services increased the profit of one of your clients and so on.
When you are confident in the value you have placed on yourself and your business; you are more likely to get the rate that you ask for.
Remember, it’s okay to walk away from a negotiation, especially when it’s with a potential client. It’s better not to have a client than having one who doesn’t respect your value.
Both Parties Must Benefit
I’ve mentioned it before, but a fundamental part of negotiating successfully is that both parties must benefit from it in the end. It doesn’t make sense for someone to give you a discount and not receive anything in return. They would be losing money!
For example, you are looking for a clothing manufacturer for printed t-shirts and would like to negotiate the price. You know how much you’re selling them for. The manufacturer knows how much he can sell them for—a middle ground where both parties benefit starts with you buying more products for a lower per-unit cost.
The manufacturer is selling more products, and you’re receiving a lower price per unit. It’s a win-win situation!
Before you sit down to negotiate, do your research. Come with numbers to back up your reasoning for negotiating. Know how much you can spend, how much you’ll profit, and your competitors’ rates.
The more research you do, the more successful your negotiation will be. It’s hard to argue with facts. Don’t just throw out a number that you feel is fair. Prove to the other party that you know what you’re talking about.
Give Yourself a Range
You know the negotiation tactic of always aim higher or lower than what you actually want. While this is excellent advice, you should still set a range of outcomes that you will accept in a negotiation. Aim higher or lower, but also set the lowest or highest that you will agree on.
Not having a set number allows you to enter a more fluid negotiation and better compromise the situation.
Always Be Respectful
No matter which way a negotiation goes, you should always be respectful of both the other party and yourself.
Have respect for your value as a freelancer or business.
Have respect for who you are negotiating with and their business.
Ultimately, have respect for the decision that is made at the end.
Start Having More Successful Negotiations
By putting these fundamentals into practice, you will find yourself having more successful negotiations. Don’t ever be afraid to negotiate if you know that it is the right time. You can either save or earn more money with a minutes-long conversation.
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