“That’s My Rate and I’m Sticking to It” Bad News for Freelancers and Solopreneurs
Freelancers and Solopreneurs - learn to communicate your value
Lisa Gates, a negotiation consultant and executive coach who knows how to bridge the gap between self-worth and net worth, shares how you should communicate your value to potential clients.
In a recent presentation to a professional association of productivity experts, I was asked a question that always floors me:
How do I get better at saying, "that's my rate and I'm sticking to it"?
Typically, my answer is something like, "Your bottom line is not your starting point...you need to find your wiggle."
Whether it’s an hourly fee or a retainer for a package of services, freelancers and solopreneurs who think they need to steel themselves to a solid, gotta-have-it number, unwittingly give themselves absolutely no wiggle room and more often than not fail to get the client.
What's more, they tell me they feel disingenuous asking for more. "I don't want to lie about my rate," they say.
It's at this point I like to start talking about price vs. value by way of my favorite subject: shoes. When you walk into Nordstrom, you usually have a rough budget in mind about what you want to spend. You say to yourself, "no more than $150." And then the salesperson brings out a few pairs, including a cool pair of Paul Green boots marked down from $325 to $195. Now your mind kicks in and justifies that extra $45 bucks because, well, they're on sale, it's a killer brand, they fit like butter, and the salesperson tells you that you look hot and that they'll last forever.
You buy that pair of shoes not just because of the price, but because of the benefits they promise to deliver on your feet. The value they will bestow on your wardrobe. The original price was the anchor, the sale price was, in effect, a concession, and $150 was your bottom line. In the end, you and Nordstrom wiggled your way to agreement.
At this point, I hear a lot of "yeah, buts" and questions about how to set fees and rates that provide for wiggle room. So I ask people to imagine doubling or tripling their hourly rate. Now instead of "yeah, buts" I hear gasps of horror.
Are you kidding? I’ll never get work
The number you set on the table is far from what’s hindering you from getting the gig or job. What’s missing from your success quotient is the experience of having a good conversation—listening and feeling heard, with both parties going the extra mile to find mutually beneficial solutions. (It's also about evaluating the market you serve, so keep reading.)
Most of us excel at this kind of conversation, but because negotiation carries the baggage of conflict, we discount the possibility of a collaborative, mutually beneficial exchange.
Fall in Love with Your Wiggle
Negotiation is not about sticking to your guns. It’s about communicating your value to your conversation partner in a way that allows them to see opportunities and solutions they couldn’t see before--solutions you are uniquely qualified to provide.
If you’ve based your income goals on your hourly rate, and you have a habit of “steeling yourself” during conversations with potential clients, you get two kinds of results: you either whittle your rates and packages down past your resentment number (what you were trying so desperately not to do), or you fail to get the client because you didn’t have any give and take.
No grace. No wiggle. No bank account.
Re-Value Yourself and Re-Examine Your Market
Once upon a time you invented your hourly fee. You looked at what others were charging, researched, tested your offers with some low hanging fruit, and settled into a groove. That groove is now a rut and the only way out is to raise your fees and re-examine your market.
Diana, a friend of mine who is a productivity consultant, decided to shift focus from working with individuals to doing workflow coaching and consulting for small businesses. In other words, she shifted her focus to a market that matched her career aspirations and her income goals.
A year ago Diana started out charging a small fee for group trainings, and the same hourly coaching rate she’d been charging individuals. She was working harder, making less and getting fewer clients.
To stop me from browbeating her, Diana doubled her hourly coaching fee and tripled her training fees. She now has more work than she can handle and she met her income goals midway through the year.
While the money’s good, what’s really shifted is Diana’s experience of negotiation. Because she created wiggle room in her fees, her mindset changed from “steeling herself” to something more like “improvising a recipe…a pinch of this, a dash of that.”
From a skills perspective, Diana spends most of her energy asking open-ended diagnostic questions for discovery, needs assessing and brainstorming and she feels she’s working less to “sell” and more to “accommodate” by focusing on value over price.
And when she anchors her rate, she lets it sink in. If her potential client seems a bit itchy, she asks more questions. And if things feel like they’re headed south, she changes the conversation. She tosses everything out the window and asks, “If you could have anything you want, what would it look like?”
So…slow things down, get conversational, raise your fees, and call me from the bank.
TO DEVELOP YOUR SELF-CONFIDENCE CONTACT 3PLUS NOW!
Originally posted in LinkedIn Pulse
Found that interesting?
Learn more about our services
Make your dreams a reality with a professional evaluation of your career to date.
The evidence is in. More women in your company can deliver 35% greater financial returns. (Catalyst)
Dates for the Diary
September 17th Latham Watkins Brussels 1200
In-house corporate event
Inclusive Leadership Workshop
September 20th EIGE Vilnius 0900
How to combat sexism in the workplace
Peer review of EU booklet authored by Dorothy Dalton
September 30th BD Foundation Webinar with Dorothy Dalton (online)
Topic: Leading with Emotional Intelligence
October 3rd JUMP Hub Brussels
Gender equality: how to build an attractive employer brand without falling into the trap of “gender washing”
Infrabel, rue de France, 9, 1070 Brusells
Open registration : http://jump.eu.com/hub-sessions/gender-equality-build-attractive-employer-brand-without-falling-trap-gender-washing/
October 15th NEHRA Event at AXA Brussels
Best Diversity and Inclusion Practices
October 22nd and 23rd Unleash Conference Paris
Open registration: https://unleashgroup.io
Download and listen free podcasts
How to Create an Effective USP What is a USP? Our Unique Selling Point or UVP (Unique Value Proposition) is our key core message about where...read more
How to Rethink the Modern Workplace for Gender Equality New research shows that diversity and inclusion is a top priority for leaders. So why...read more
Menopause in the workplace In this podcast with Nicki Williams award winning author, keynote speaker and Founder of Happy Hormones for Life,...read more
How to Cultivate Empathy in the Workplace Nancy Milton, international business communications expert, keynote speaker and author, share some vital...read more
Taking Care of your COW Tanvi Guatam, international Personal Branding expert says there is a misconception out there that a personal brand is...read more
The importance of Hard Talk Dawn Metcalfe, author of Managing the Matrix and Hard Talk, shares with us tips to achieve the lasting communication...read more
When Does Female Rivalry Turn into Sabotage There’s a lot of stuff written on social media about female rivalry and competition between women. Some...read more
Goal setting tips to boost your career The happiest people are those that really love their jobs. Those that don’t, dread Sunday nights and...read more
Sexism: How to stage a Bystander Intervention in the Workplace In this power coaching podcast, we're going to tackle one of the questions...read more
How to Get Noticed by Head Hunters & Recruiters In this power coaching podcast, we're going to tackle one of the questions asked multiple...read more
Men opting out of mentoring women suggests that it is women who are at fault, rather than mens behaviours. This is a leadership failure that needs to be addressed.read more
The age-old debate around gender quotas still prickles feathers today, but have they gone too far? Or should we be stricter in implementing them?read more
Conscious inclusion means not just creating initiatives, but creating a culture where people can speak out and raise awareness of unacceptable behaviour.read more