We often assume that negotiation is all about getting our way; a way of manipulating others to get what we want. In reality, negotiation is about how to get along with people. Negotiation is actually something we do every day, sometimes without realizing it. Be it trying to convince a client about the value of your work or seeking a deadline extension or even haggling price with a seller, we all negotiate one way or the other.
In the gig ecosystem, negotiation is one of those topics we are somewhat reluctant to talk about. No doubt, it can be difficult but it is crucial if you want to become profitable. Sometimes we tend to view negotiation as an argument, as something negative, as something to avoid but that should not be so.
Negotiation is simply a process where two or more parties with different needs, viewpoints and goals find a common ground that is acceptable to all parties involved. In a freelance business owner’s case, negotiation is the process of bargaining with a potential (or existing) client to get the best possible compensation for the value of your work while giving the best value.
The goal is to be fair to both parties. An effective negotiation results in a win-win deal. Whether you are just starting out as a freelancer, or are neck-deep in the game, I would like to reiterate a few reasons why you should take negotiations seriously as a freelancer.
To Get The Best Deal
Negotiation makes it possible for all parties to arrive at an agreement that meets the needs of all involved. As a freelancer, you want to get the best compensation for the value you provide. It is in negotiating that you communicate your value to the client, clearly listing out the scope of work of the project being discussed. Negotiation helps you to lay out your best work.
To Improve Client Relationships
The ability to negotiate helps you get along better with people. This is because when you negotiate to the satisfaction of all parties involved, you build trust and generate goodwill.
When you negotiate, you communicate what you need and want, and find a middle ground between that and your client’s needs. This facilitates empathy. The understanding forms the basis for a longterm relationship because clients like to work with people they can trust. This trust, in turn, opens new opportunities for more projects, turning a one-time client to a retained client. Your capacity to negotiate well is a major key to your success as a freelancer. A retained client relationship can be a guaranteed source of income, and negotiating well helps get you there.
To Identify Unfavourable Terms
Negotiation helps you know when to walk away from bad deals. If you’ve set your minimum-acceptable working conditions and a client is unwilling to concede to any of your requests or come to a compromise, you may not want to work with that client.
Negotiating gives you a glimpse of the kind of clients you are going to be working with and could be a way to filter good agreements from bad ones. Always be firm and friends and set your standards especially with new clients.
Knowing how to negotiate effectively as a freelancer is the difference between hundreds and thousands of income. Do you have other ways that freelancers can benefit from negotiation? Share in the comments below.