Negotiation Skills for Freelancing: How To Win Better Deals

We’ve all bee taught to be humble, nice, and forgiving. We’ve been taught to believe in others, work your socks off, and be the best you can be.

Things are rarely that nice in the real world, especially in business. When you deal with clients and vendors, you are literally out there on the street. You are working with a bunch of unknown parameters. You are literally in the thick of wilderness and operate around thousands of blind spots.

You key to freelancing success and to make sure you have a sustainable freelancing business is to negotiate and make more money for every hour spent.

As for most things in life, you can learn the art of negotiation skills for freelancing. You’d just have to start with the following:

Know what you want clearly

You can’t enter any kind of negotiation if you don’t know what you want out of that interaction. Meeting clients, vendors, or anyone else puts in various situations that you’d need to know how to get out of, in a way that works for you.

If you walk in unclear, you’d walk out with a deal where you don’t win.

Get tough

If you were any degree more meek, needy, or hungry for the deal than the other party, the other guy would eat you for lunch. Don’t be someone else’s lunch or dinner.

Eat others alive, if you should, or stay clear.

Successful negotiation requires a certain mindset that stems from mental toughness, lessons from the street, and the ability to take risks.

Always negotiate from value standpoint

Never try to negotiate deals with your personal stories at stake. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had sleepless nights, unpaid bills, and even if creditors were knocking on your door.

Also, don’t negotiate based on price.

If you ever find yourself saying anything like:

“I am the cheapest in the market…” “Show me another freelancer who charges less than I do….”

Stop it. Now. Negotiate on the value you provide — nothing more; nothing less.

Keep those numbers on your side

If the first step is to negotiate from a value standpoint, the second step is to know your numbers. You should know not what you do (which you do know), but how your contribution adds value.

If you were a web designer or developer, you’d say:

“My website design can easily bring about 350% more conversions and increase your ROI by…”

If you were a blogger, you’d say:

“A single, SEO optimized blog post stays on the web, getting you at least 400 visitors per day, growing at 20% each month, to get you sales equivalent to…”

Numbers are everything in business. Don’t underestimate the confidence you get with numbers on your side.

Be willing to walk away

At the end of it all, you either win or lose in a negotiation. No act of negotiation is a zero-sum game. Lose if you have to. Or, be willing to walk away from the deal if you find yourself on the losing side.

With experience, you’ll develop a sense for it when you are about slide into the losing side of the game. But whether you get it or not, you get an amazing sense of power when you are in a position to walk away from it all.

How do you negotiate? How has the negotiation skill help you with your freelancing?

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Originally published at peerhustle.com on August 14, 2015.