In one of our previous blog posts, we talked about mastering the interview process. We shared some valuable tips that can increase your chances of getting hired.
But we didn't talk about one of the most critical parts of the hiring process – negotiating.
Let's face it; negotiating is a tough skill to master.
It's not easy between all those mind games, wording games, and compromises. What's even more frightening is that no book, video, or article can prepare you for the dreaded process of negotiating. It's something you learn right on the spot, probably while making numerous mistakes.
However, that doesn't mean you should leave everything to faith and enter any negotiations overconfident and unaware of your position. That's why we prepared a guide you can use to feel more optimistic about the entire process of negotiating.
1. Learn about negotiation as a process
Negotiation is nothing like building technical skills for a job. Sure, you need to work on your skillset before feeling confident in your ability to negotiate, but it can be overwhelming for many as a process.
In fact, 40% of adults in the United States don't feel confident in their negotiating skills, leading to accepting job offers way below a respectful pay rate.
For this reason only, you must get familiar with the topic of negotiating. There's nothing wrong with not knowing anything; you can continually educate yourself. Luckily, with technology on our side, you can easily access some of the greatest minds in the negotiating world with just a few clicks.
Start by reading some of the most popular books on negotiation. For example, Never Split the Difference, written by the former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss, is one of the best books on negotiation. But, you can discover other books on negotiations. The important thing is to change your perspective about the entire negotiation process and learn a few tricks down the line.
Or, if you don't have time to read, you can always listen to podcasts on your way to work or while exercising. You can choose any of these ten negotiation podcasts and learn how to master the art of negotiation.
Although negotiating is a process best learned by doing, it can be very beneficial for you as a freelancer to come prepared and know what you are getting yourself into.
2. Provide value for your client
Most freelancers' rookie mistake is that they're focused entirely on the price. We've already talked about the common freelance mistakes on our blog, but covering this issue requires an entirely different approach.
When you're focused on the price only, you may create an impression that your primary care is money only, and you're not interested in building long-term relationships with your prospective clients. While this might be the right approach for many freelancers, it can lead to failed collaborations.
On the other hand, when you're focused on providing value for your clients, you'll be able to increase your credibility as a freelancer, ask questions, and genuinely show interest in the company. This tells your client that you're interested in the company, know your work, want to solve their problems and care about the job.
The process of providing value for your clients can be time-consuming, but in the end, this is the process that pays the most. If you go with this tactic - providing value before mentioning any money - the chances are that you'll end up closing a deal with much higher rates than what you initially thought.
3. Define your minimum acceptable rate
Many freelancers overlook this, and that's how they end up accepting deals for a much lower price rate than usual.
The minimum acceptable rate ( MAR) is the lowest equivalent hourly rate you are willing to accept for the job. The formula is the following one:
( Personal outgoings + Business outgoings) / Hours worked ) + Tax
Always consider the taxes and make sure to have this formula written somewhere. You'll know the lowest acceptable rate when you have your MAR, and you won't go below that.
4. Decide on a payment method – per hour/per project
There are many different ways freelancers charge for their work. Writers can charge per word, designers may charge per design, web developers per hour. It all depends on your preferences.
However, before deciding on a definitive payment method, do your research on what's the best option for you particularly. Most freelancers pay per project, as that's a good way of representing the project. Regardless of the hours it takes to finish the job, if you charge by projects, your clients will value your work more.
Plus, you're limiting your earning potential when you charge by the hour. If, for example, your rate per hour is $50, and it takes you 3 hours to complete the job, the price your client needs to pay is $150. That's it - you can't go above this price.
But, if you charge by the project, you're not limited to this price alone, and your charging potential can grow significantly.
5. Get your clients to name a price first
Last but not least.
There's an old, unwritten principle in the business world – he who names a price first loses.
That's still true to this day. Make no mistake; you will be asked to name a price at one point in your career. But the worst possible answer to that question is to name a price.
One effective technique to use is to remove the reflector from you and turn it back again to the client, with a simple question, "Which number do you have in mind?" or something similar to it. This technique is called mirroring, and you can read a lot about it in the blog run by the previously mentioned author and former FBI negotiator Chriss Voss.
Any answer is better than naming a price. When you can motivate your clients to quote a price first, you'll know how much your job and your position are worthy in their eyes.
As we mentioned before, negotiating is not an easy process.
But learning about it can be so much fun, especially when you'll get a chance to try it out.
When you feel ready, check out our Buyer's Requests – there are plenty out there for you to choose from.