You Want to Negotiate? No Thanks
The simple answer?
My peace of mind.
The not-so-simple answer? Read on…
The beauty of doing this ‘online thing’ long enough is that eventually you learn your own value (usually through trial and error of undervaluing yourself).
Nothing beats real life experience for a blog post, right?
FIRST… before I explain why I choose not to negotiate with people, let me just say that this isn’t coming from a place of pissiness or anger. So go ahead and put your ‘Spock’ hat on (yes, as in Spock from Star Trek. You know… the guy who doesn’t read emotion into things) and try and read this from an objective place.
My guess is that this may resonate with many of you on a personal level. Which makes sense, when people try to negotiate with you it IS personal. My tendency in the past was to get really pissed off with a “who the bleep do they think they are?! I would NEVER do that to someone!” (riding high on the martyr train on this one). Then I had the blessing of having a mentor tell me something that made all the sense in the world (even though it bugged me at the time).
She said “Kim, people can ask for whatever they want. It’s up to YOU to give it to them or not.”
So much #truth in that, right?
The reason I got personally offended every time someone asked for more or wanted to pay me half of what the proposal stated was because I wasn’t trusting myself. I was coming from a place of ‘needing’ the money, the work, the validation, you name it. As opposed to the value I was providing (which includes my own value & knowledge).
The other huge obstacle in my way was that I never started this business because I wanted to build websites. Crazy, huh? I simply fell in love with WordPress and one thing led to another. Then of course I was in the time for money trap and had a hard time seeing my way out of the cluster I had created.
I wish I could tell you exactly when this shift occurred, it wasn’t like one specific moment per se. It was a gradual shifting that happened because of the work I was doing on myself in conjunction with the team I had hired to help me grow my business. As soon as your expenses per project go up all of the sudden you get out of the solo show mentality (because we don’t often think of projects in terms of our own time. At least I didn’t) and want to make sure your costs are covered AND you’re profitable.
Novel idea, huh?
I’m sure there are other industries (outside of buying a car) offline where negotiating is a standard practice (and who knows, maybe it’s a standard practice for some people online as well. Maybe this is just my issue?), but for the life of me I can’t think of any where people try to nickel and dime you or work outside of the agreed contract the way they do with web design.
And you know what?
This is interesting because I’m having a bit of an ‘a-ha’ moment right now.
I have other services I offer (podcasting services or coaching as an example) and I have never ONCE had someone try to negotiate, nit-pick or try to change the terms once the project has commenced (and for what it’s worth, I rarely have people do this anymore with websites anymore, I just happened to have a couple of instances in one week so there’s this little ‘niggly’ thing I want to get off my chest).
It reminds me of a post Chris Lema wrote about his experience with a car dealership and the dentist (if you don’t want to read it, in summary he points out that if you have a bad experience at one dentists you don’t go to a new dentist, tell them you had a bad experience/wasted money with the other dentist and expect the new dentist to discount their work for you).
Sounds pretty crazy when you look at it from a different perspective, right?
Here’s the thing.
When you trust yourself and say “No thanks” to people who want to negotiate with you, one of two things will happen:
1) They’ll agree to the original proposal/price/contract
2) They’ll go away
Either way, you win.
If you’re looking to get more experience, then go find the people you want to help (there are a TON of non-profits that could use your help. Whether it’s websites, marketing, training, you name it).
Don’t work with the people who come to YOU to hire you and then want to negotiate the hell out of your price (because they’ve decided that the thing they know nothing about and came to you for, isn’t worth what they’ve “decided” it’s worth).
What I’ve found is that this tends to happen when people don’t understand something.
Which is O.K.
But it doesn’t mean I have to work with them.
And neither do you.