Today I would like to talk to you about an old sales outage. It goes like this, “You’ve got to give them what they want before you give them what they need.”
Now the reason I’m talking to you about this is during one of our business coaching calls this week, I was working with a designer who got a nice referral from a custom builder. It was a builder that she’s wanted to work with for quite a while. He referred a client to her for a new build, so they will need specifications, lighting drawings as well as some detail drawings. It also included interior design and furnishings, and a little bit of construction observation.
Working with Clients to Get Paid What You’re Worth
Our designer met with the client, who had a spreadsheet of everything he needed. He is an engineer, so he is very detailed, and he’s got everything laid out. Given the information he provided, she went back and wrote her Letter of Agreement. She wrote a fee-based letter agreement, as I would encourage her to do, and blocked out the specific phases separately. That way, he could see how much each piece was.
His response to it was, “Oh my gosh. I can’t afford you. All I need is a simple pallet, can’t you just do this by the hour?”
Now, we all know that by the hour would actually work out to be more than what he’s going to pay as a fixed fee. However, it’s what he wants, and that’s what he feels comfortable with; it’s good to be flexible.
I want you to stand your ground in terms of fees and getting paid what you’re worth. Yet, you also want to consider that if the client doesn’t understand that he needs all of this, and he thinks he just needs a little bit, then give it to him.
Sell him 10 or 20 hours, just be specific about what you could actually get done in that time. Stand on your boundaries, be flexible, of course, get paid what you’re worth for what you’re doing. And you can do that and negotiate at the same time. I think especially during these uncertain times, this is a really good way to play this. Just do the first part, the “simple pallet” as her client put it.
We know that’s not exactly what was said the first time around, but he doesn’t quite get the feel for what he needs. He’s thinking he just needs to know what color it is, while she’s looking at the whole piece. So, what needs to happen here is that she needs to do an offer 10 or 20 hours, and be specific about what she can do for that amount of time. When that’s completed, he’ll realize that he still has lots of blanks in his big spreadsheet that need to be filled out.
She is the obvious person to get those items done, and she’ll get to step into the rest of the job. It may come as a whole chunk then, or it may come in several pieces. It doesn’t matter either way. You want to gracefully flow and pivot through negotiating, especially in these times. While we know everything’s picking up and coming back, we also know it’s not going to be like it used to be. Things are going to be different, and we’ve got to feel our way through this.
Getting Support to Get Paid What You’re Worth
Negotiating is a good way of holding your space, holding your shape, and keeping yourself well paid for what you do. Give your client what he wants first.
“Give your clients what they want before you give them what they need.”
If you are feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, wondering how to get your business going again, or feeling like you’ve got a ton of potential, but you haven’t been able to figure out how to live it, have a conversation with one of our coaches. This conversation’s really fun! It’s full of strategy and inspiration, and if it makes sense, we’ll talk to you about how our programs work and how they can help you. We help designers with building their businesses as well as a lifestyle that makes sense for them. We do it with integrity, authenticity, and a lot of love.
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Until next time design something beautiful and get paid which are worth.