“Walk the plank!” Those are the commonly damning words of the wealthy merchant to the melancholy writer. As sad a fate as any for a writer to encounter upon the seven seas. Argh! However, what if I told you that Ol’ Captain Matt Gallus had the secret to getting the prices you deserve? And why not? You worked your grammar, clarity, flow and other writing skills to the bone. You sharpened your main sword, but every pirate who has lived to tell the tale knows that it’s the dagger in the dark that you have to watch out for. What seemingly unrelated skill will give writers the edge?
In the words of King Stannis to Jon Snow in the Game of Thrones, “You haggle like a crone with a codfish, Lord Snow.”
Now you might scoff and say, I don’t need negotiation skills because I’m already a very talented writer, one of the best. That’s all fine and good. Nevertheless, if you meet a client knowledgeable in the secret arts of negotiating lower prices, you will dangle helplessly at the precipice as your customer has the unspoken edge, even if you’re the best in the business. Don’t back yourself into the low-price corner without a sword. Every good writer should be a good salesman as well. Argh!
Defense Against Haggling Clients
When a client first asks if you will lower your prices, you have to first determine if it is truly a lack of gold or a customer trying to get away with paying the lowest price possible. However, you should never lower the prices without lowering the services. For example, if your client wants a lower price, you tell them that that will place a limit on the number of revisions they can request due to time constraints. This shows clients that you are serious about the price and that you were not overpricing your services to begin with. In addition, they will respect your work more. You do not want to simply argue that you will never lower your prices. Give them a logical explanation for why you will not lower the prices, and you will have a higher chance of keeping your client after the deal has been struck.
Prevent Buyer’s Remorse
Every good negotiator knows that a deal is not complete until you have the gold in your coin purse. As a writer, you have probably experienced speaking with a client who said they would buy from you…and then the deal never surfaced. What happened? Did they fall into shark-infested waters? Actually, what most likely ruined your deal is what’s known as buyer’s remorse. Your wealthy customer started feeling guilty about spending the money. How do you prevent this? The idea comes from the book Power Plays by Robert Mayer (a brilliant book that every writer should read), which talks about offering something small after you have struck the bargain to increase the customer’s chance of returning.
For example, after you have struck the deal, you tell them, “Thank you, and I will throw in an extra blank (10% discount, extra 100 words, etc.) on the first project.” The key is that it’s small enough not to matter much, but it lowers the customer’s chances of feeling guilty after the deal has been won.
How to Haggle Higher Prices with Clients
Finally, we come to haggling higher prices with clients. This works best when you have the power, which is known as leverage in the art of negotiation (i.e. you can afford to lose the client if they decide to sail on a different ship). For example, when a client tells you to name your price, you should deliberately bid higher and let them haggle you down. It’s better to bid high than to bid with your lowest price and hope they won’t haggle you lower.
You have to also understand that buying does not take place on a logical basis. Your customers will buy from you based on their motivator buttons, rather than logic. If you know how to push their motivator buttons, you already have increased chances of asking higher prices than the next writer, regardless of skill.
Writer beware: Sea monsters and pirates prowl the seven seas of writing! Don’t venture forth without the invaluable protection of negotiation skills. Argh! Command higher prices and defend yourselves in the event that you chance upon a haggler. If you’re good at negotiating, you have higher chances of raising your prices and getting what you ask for, regardless of skill.
Matt Gallus is a professional freelance writer with more than four years of experience in the writing industry. He runs a blog about self education at http://diehardoptimist.com/ and enjoys juggling. He is currently a 5-ball juggler. As a goal-oriented individual, however, he strives to one day reach 10-ball juggling through the power of perseverance and learning. That’s the core of his life philosophy. Speaking of philosophy, he loves to study the philosophy of Stoicism, and he likes to learn languages (currently learning Spanish) and is a voracious reader of fiction. His fiction favorites include: the Game of Thrones series, Lord of the Rings, the Farseer Trilogy and Sherlock Holmes. Some of his other hobbies include humor, biking, playing the violin past midnight (to his neighbors’ dismay) and watching documentaries on Youtube. His greatest role models in life include Leonardo da Vinci and Michael J. Gelbówriter of How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci – a talented writer with an absolutely infectious passion for life.