Negotiating is an art. It takes the right attitude and experience. Obviously, some people are better at it than others. Some people making their living as negotiators. Whether you are that type of person or not, there will be times in your life where you gonna have to figure out how to work things in your favor, your pay being one of them. Especially in the freelance world, your pay are greatly constantly determined by you. Sometimes you will agree to go below your rate because that’s all they can pay but the experience is worth it, then there will be other times you should convince them to pay you a higher rate because you know they have the money and you deserve it. Walk into that negotiation meeting or get on that call with a strategy. Use the following tips:
1. Separate the person from their position.
This is one of the primary points of the popular negotiation book Getting to Yes. When we argue over positions, our egos are attached to what we are proposing. Instead, focus on the other party’s underlying interests. Find where interests overlap and work to develop solutions with the other party as a partner not as a combatant. An example from the book:
Consider the story of two men quarreling in a library. One wants the window open and the other wants it closed. They bicker back and forth about how much to leave it open: a crack, halfway, three quarters of the way. No solution satisfies them both.
Enter the librarian. She asks one why he wants the window open: “To get some fresh air.” She asks the other why he wants it closed: “To avoid the draft.” After thinking a minute, she opens wide a window in the next room, bringing in fresh air without a draft.
The librarian could not have invented the solution she did if she had focused only on the two men’s stated positions of wanting the window open or closed. Instead she looked to their underlying interests of fresh air and no draft. This difference between positions and interests is crucial.
2. Money isn’t the only factor in a negotiation.
If we make it all about money, the negotiation only has one measure of success. In a 2001 Harvard Business Review article, Harvard professor James Sebenius advises us to recognize the other factors that may be less black-or-white.
For example, when negotiating a project with a client, price isn’t the only thing on the table. You can discuss deadlines, delivery methods, communication preferences and a host of other options. Give a little on deadlines, but propose a higher rate. The more variables you can negotiate, the higher the likelihood that both parties will feel like winners.
3. Practice your negotiating skills with a friend.
Think back to the first time you drove a car. It was likely pulse-pounding affair that caused quite a bit of stress and maybe even embarrassment. But, as an adult, you can now hop in your car and drive to the store with barely any stress. So what happened? Practice made the difficult into the routine, and negotiation is no different.
Do you know that friend you have that can poke holes in any idea? Enlist him or her to enact all of the possible scenarios for a negotiation to help you prepare proper responses. If you’ve already made your mistakes in the (forgiving) company of friends, you can remain calm, cool and collected when it’s casino games time. Personal finance author Ramit Sethi drops a ton of knowledge about negotiation on his site I Will Teach You To Be Rich, including this tip: “The people around you matter. Practice matters,” writes Sethi. “If we just become marginally better negotiators than we currently are, we can reap disproportionate rewards.”
4. Never name the first number.
It’s accepted wisdom that naming the first number is bad negotiation form, but rarely do we see an exact script and reasoning for a stingy negotiation partner. Short story: the other party often has much more information than you do, so have phrases like “You are in a much better position to know how much I’m worth to you than I am” ready for use.
5. The first number named has a profound impact on the rest of the conversation.
The blog “You Are Not So Smart” tackles the psychology behind the phenomenon of naming the first number, or “anchoring.” When we have to guess a number or price for which we have no previous information, we crave a “foundation” to base our guess on. Think of your perception of value when you discover a pair of shoes were “originally” $200 but are now “on sale” for $50.
It’s one of the many reasons it pays to make the other party name the first number whenever possible: if you were to name a less favorable number it could “anchor” the conversation to your disadvantage.