You have found a client, the job seems to be a good fit, and then the dreaded question – How much do you charge? This is such a tricky negotiation and can depend on all matter of things on both sides of the negotiating table. Of course, you want to make as much money as you can, but at the same time, you don’t want to scare off a potential customer with rates that are too high.
I recently attended a lecture about learning to talk about money and defining your value. When the speaker asked the audience to shout out their one greatest contribution at work there was a definite gender bias. Women tended to suggest a soft skill (getting along with everyone, facilitating meetings, good with customers), while the men tended to talk about hard skills (tangible contributions, how much money they made the company). Although every person is different, many don’t know how to talk about money and are uncomfortable with salary negotiations.
Define Your Value
If you are your product (for example, freelance writer) you need to know the value of your contribution.
- How much education and experience do you have?
- How much direct and indirect (researching, meetings, email) time does it take to do your job?
- What are the industry standards (research salary sites, such as payscale.com and specific industry sites)?
- What continuing education courses do you take to stay current and even become an expert in specific areas?
Sell Your Product
Practice your pitch and make sure you know exactly what you are selling. Find a price that you are happy with and try to sell a little higher. Prove to the client that hiring you would be the best thing for their company.
- Talk about industry standards and how you provide MORE (mentoring, meeting planning, deadlines met, presentation and speaking skills).
- Research the company and explain how you will add value (streamlining a process, developing a process to prevent previous mistakes, attracting more customers, making a product easier to use).
- Quantify your services (last year I had 32 deadlines and met them all, I produced 45 blog posts and had fewer corrections than the other writers).
- Provide recommendations from people you have worked with in the past that really explain how you helped their company.
The most important part of defining your value is to be confident. If you know your value in relation to the rest of the industry, can prove your services will add value and can provide solid information to back up why you deserve your stated rate then salary negotiation can become no longer scary but actually fun!