From a car salesman to Steve Jobs, negotiation is a key basic skill which every business person should develop throughout their career. The pressure has recently been on many freelancers due to the dismal trading environment and bleak forecasts for the near future. Harsh financial conditions, however, have forced many businesses to turn to freelancers as opposed to big blood-sucking businesses. This turn of heart has been met by a lower number of businesses wanting to resuscitate their online marketing to the anguish of freelance web developers.
Vital qualities of freelancers have now become an absolute obligation. This is why you must advance your skills in negotiating and speaking to your clients.
You may think that by ‘hypnosis’ I mean to mislead a potential client into a deal they may not be happy with. Nope. This article will show you how to reach out to your potential client and focus the client on your qualities and why they need your services. This is no doubt, the ultimate marketing strategy.
1. Open Up to the Client
A step which many freelancers don’t take is telling the client about their own interests in the deal. A freelance web designer may speak to a client and hear everything the potential client wants, however usually the freelancer will fail to mention why they need the sale.
It may seem to us that it is obvious why we would need clients and the client would naturally know that we need the money to keep up with mortgage payments. What I mean, however, is slightly different.
A colleague freelance web designer recently was trying to pitch his services to a potential client. The freelancer said something out of the norm while closing the conversation, “Well I hope we can do business because I’m sure I understand exactly what your after” – that’s normal, he then said “I also am looking forward to working with you because the work on my portfolio is getting outdated and I’ve been looking for a new project. I feel that this will be that project for me”
That nailed the job. Simply showing the client why you are interested in the project will help.
2. Wants and Needs of the Client
Imagine you are a freelance web developer and, for arguments sake, a client comes to you and ask you to design a website for them. The client is a new estate agent and wants a website which is cheap and usable. They say:
Many freelancers would jump in explaining the errors of this inexperienced person and therefore end up insulting him. Some may even develop the site for him and mess up their own reputation. If you take either route, you’re buggered.
What you need to say is “I could develop that site for you, I’m just wondering, what would you like to achieve from the perfect website?”
He replies “I need a website to attract more business because my business is small and rather remote…I need more customers…I also need more people to list their houses with me”
The client is now thinking about his NEEDS as opposed to just his wants. He needs to have a good website, or he will not make sales but he wants a cheap site made. By making him think of his needs, he realises that he may not want a very cheap website and instead wants quality.
Now we can approach him and say “I have worked on similar projects in the past so may I make a suggestion?”
“It is like when you decorate a house and use designs from the 70′s, your house is less likely to sell. A flash at the beginning will not seem appropriate as people just want to get in and look at the houses. A website which shows pictures so visitors can see the houses and a site that presents a little more colour and character shows it is more modern.”
The client will not be offended and can see the benefits of designing it your way. So make the client think of their needs after appreciating their wants.
3. Create a Rapport
A client is more likely to accept you for work if they feel they know you. Speaking to a client you may find you have a common interest, perhaps you support the same football team, or both are originally from a certain country. Try to manipulate this link between you to achieve a rapport.
I once spoke to a potential client who was a white supremacist and I’m Asian! I thought “Well, there goes any rapport”. I noticed his profile had a picture of a BMW, so I asked him due to my love for BMW. We spoke for a while about this and eventually we had a rapport based on the fact that we both loved BMW.
A client will want a service if they come to you. Even if you try pitching to them, they still will need the service if they are talking to you about it. Your job is therefore to grasp the opportunities which float your way and exploit the situation to your own advantage.
Do you disagree or agree with any of the content? If so, please feel free to comment below, as we love to hear feedback.