Now, negotiation mistakes. I thought it was a very relevant topic to cover because of many misconceptions around negotiation, and even more little mistakes we’re all guilty of. Negotiation is often seen as something dodgy, perhaps close to haggling. Oftentimes we expect that when we give our price, the client says yes (hopefully) or no and that’s it. I think we’re not really prepared to discuss the price and work required to find common ground, and in fact that’s what negotiation is: “a discussion aimed at reaching an agreement”.
This month, I discuss how to prepare for negotiations, how to carry them out and how to avoid negotiation mistakes. But let’s start with an overview of the most common mistakes, all of them I’ve been guilty of myself. I’m hoping that browsing through this list will challenge some of your assumptions about how you work and get paid for it.
1. NOT negotiating
The most common goal is just never even attempting to negotiate with a client. You give a price, the client says it’s too much, and that’s the end of it. There’s not really much discussion to reach an agreement here.
2. Allowing the client to control the situation
In fear of negotiating, or perhaps naming a price too high, we may just let the client dictate the conditions, and then sheepishly accept them. Of course, this is very dangerous for your business, not to even mention that it looks like shifting responsibility for your profits (or apportioning blame for the lack thereof) onto somebody else.
3. Failing to listen to your client’s needs
When I was starting early in my career, I was so excited when a client would approach me that I’d send them long emails with detailed offers and great benefits of translation for their business without even trying to listen in and analyse when the client may really need. Since I changed the tactics and concentrated on asking as many questions as needed before naming the price, I’ve managed to become much more effective in negotiating.
4. Negotiating only on price
Money is only one element of the exchange…
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