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How Should Freelancers Prepare For The Negotiating Process

26 June 2019 | 0 comments | Posted by Simon Beaufort in Temping

How to negotiate as a freelancer

Sales negotiation is an integral part of the many business support roles a new freelancer takes on as a solo agent. If freelancers aren’t prepared for negotiations, selling their services can be a difficult path to navigate—and a harsh learning curve. You may not know the current rates or what to charge for your work given the project. You also may not naturally possess the negotiating skills to ensure the process runs smoothly.

However, the skills needed to prepare for negotiations can be obtained by signing up for classes, such as sales negotiation training in Johannesburg, or by reading up on the subject. This article helps you understand how you can build confidence as a negotiator and freelancer. You also learn to create a mutually beneficial plan based on market rates.

This article also explains how to set payment guidelines that work for you and your clients.


Training to negotiate can be a daunting prospect for new freelancers or those who haven’t had much experience in negotiating. Many freelancers find themselves undertaking most parts of their business without any direct experience, including acting as their own sales department. Lack of negotiating experience can cause some freelancers to baulk at the thought of negotiating, no matter how much faith these freelancers have in their work.

Taking part in Negotiation Simulation training lets participants practice real-world negotiations through role-playing. Being able to practice before undertaking real sales scenarios is a valuable asset, allowing would-be negotiators to gain confidence for the real thing.

Compare Rates

As you move forward with your business, you may start to see a trend in what you are paid per hour. Forbes editor Laura Shin says analyzing how much you are paid per hour will give an idea of who is paying you the most money for your services.

Of course, make sure you don’t forget the clients who help you build your passions, and don’t sell yourself short, either. It may be okay to get paid $36/hour from a client working for a company you’re passionate about while charging another client $100/hour for work outside of your interests.

Once you have your rates set, it’s time to use sales skills to promote your services. Letting potential clients know you’re ready for their business can help bring in more clients that appreciate your talents, which improves your sales and your bottom line.

Negotiating Value

Knowing the rates gives you a headstart, but there are several other aspects to consider in negotiations.

First of all, it pays to plan ahead on what you want to say to your potential clients. Plan what you want to say about your expertise and what makes your services stand out. It’s important that you sell potential clients on the value of a project before discussing the price. Talking about what you bring to the table helps your client understand the true value of the project.

While you may have a certain price in mind, the client you are planning to work with may have a small budget. It pays to consider continuing discussions even if their offer is lower than you expected. In time, your willingness to work with their budget might help build your reputation with the client.

Reputation is key, and your flexibility may mean the client recommends you to other potential clients with larger budgets. Building your reputation is an important precursor to building your sales.

Make the First Offer

It’s important to be the one to make the first offer when selling your services. The first offer put on the table is often the offer on which negotiations revolve around, in a process called “anchoring.” Ensuring your offer is delivered first is a way to prevent the client from anchoring their offer.

While you want to make sure your client’s needs are met, making your offer first ensures talks don’t get stuck around a figure that doesn’t reflect your calculations. After you’ve made your offer, if the client can’t agree to your terms, it’s okay to ask what their budget is.

Asking about the client’s budget can allow you to figure out what the client may be thinking. When you have more of an idea where you stand, you can either start the haggling process or move on to another client. You may be able to reduce your service offering to agree on your client’s budget.

Haggling Can Pay Off

When you meet with a client with the hope of making a sale, don’t forget the art of haggling. Carol Tice, a freelancer since 2005, says that haggling can be worthwhile.

While the client may have a certain price in mind and can’t go higher, it’s more than worthwhile to still make the attempt. After all, if you don’t ask, you might lose a sale you might have won otherwise.

Sell Yourself

Remember the reason that you’re negotiating in the first place. The client is looking for someone to perform a particular project, and the project is in an area that you have expertise in. It’s important to use your expertise as part of your sales pitch. Discuss your skill set with the client, letting them know why you are perfect for their project.

Discuss Payments and Deadlines

As a freelancer, you can also set the terms for deadlines and when you are paid. Train yourself to resist being strong-armed by people who have fixed terms in mind. You can negotiate being paid in instalments. Grab of a colleague or friend to play the role of the client in a simulated negotiation. You’ll enter your client negotiations with a bounce in your step from coming up with ideas and testing those ideas in the face of adversity.

Again, you can also discuss deadlines. If you have other jobs that pay better or if there is a client you really want to work with, you can make those jobs and clients a priority. As a freelancer, you have a right to decide your own schedule.

Rounding Up

Freelancing can be a scary venture if you don’t know your stuff when it comes to negotiating a sale. However, following the tips from this article can help you start out on the right foot and grow your freelance business.

Your skills and expertise can help you promote yourself and improve your business model. As you move forward, you can build a reputation to support your freelance business and build your bottom line.

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Recommended reading

If you enjoyed this post and have time to spare why not check out these related posts and dive deeper down the rabbit hole that is freelancing.

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