Avoid this Freelance Marketing Mistake - Don't Say You'll Negotiate Right Away

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Today I want to touch on something that drives me crazy when other people say they'll do it, even freelancers that I'm thinking about hiring - when you're in the initial contact with a prospective client and you mention upfront that you're willing to negotiate.

This is a critical mistake that causes people to question your value immediately.

Click on the video below to watch or read on for my tips on how to handle negotiation in your freelance business.

 

Don't Negotiate Right Away

There is nothing wrong with negotiating. It's often part of the freelancing process. But when you tell your client immediately that you intend to negotiate, you already weaken your position for those negotiations. You're already telling the client that your rate can be adjusted before you know anything about who they are, how they work or the type of project they want you to complete.

You're in a much better position to negotiate or to even let the client know that you're open to negotiation after there has been a conversation. This is because you and the client want to be on the same page about the exact type of work that needs to be completed, and how you can help them complete that work.

I see a lot of freelancers do this upfront, and I think it's because as they're writing an Upwork pitch or getting ready to have a phone call with a prospective client, they get nervous about talking about pricing or money. That's pretty common across the board with freelancers; it's very hard to be upfront about your pricing.

 

Create a Customized Proposal

If you do give your pricing upfront, it's not entirely clear to the client what that entails because you don't know the full scope of the project yet. You can easily get yourself in a position where you're working on projects that have a much bigger scope than you anticipated and you end up far underpricing yourself. So you want to avoid that.

You always want to have a conversation with a client when you can so that you clearly understand their expectations and what you can offer.

Customized proposals are often much easier to create, so even if you're on Upwork and you're submitting a bid and you have to put some number in that field, you can say, “This is just a general number based on what I've read so far. I'd like to have a five-minute phone call with you to discuss this further.”

 

Offer a VIP Discount

Even if you are willing to negotiate, you can flip the script and essentially say the same thing a different way.

I tell my clients about a policy that I apply to people who purchase a certain amount of content or work every single month. They receive an automatically applied discount because they are classified as a VIP client.

This does a couple of things; instead of saying that I'm willing to negotiate, it encourages them to be the one to make the decision about how much they're going to spend. That puts the ball in their court rather than me saying, "Well yeah, there's some wiggle room in negotiation." Explain to them your policies for negotiation and give them an opportunity to think about it.

Negotiation is very common in these types of situations, but don't price yourself out of the scenario before you even begin. Don't let them know that you have a lack of confidence or clarity about your pricing.

Get on the phone or have an email exchange to learn more about the project. You're going to be in a much better position to give an accurate price. From there, you can negotiate if you're truly interested in taking on the project, but don't say it upfront. It just weakens your position immediately and it makes it all too easy for a client to take advantage of you.

For more freelancing tips, check out my YouTube channel!