You work hard, right? You’re an expert in what you do, right? You want people to value you, right? You want to get paid your worth, right? Let me share this little story with you…and then I’ll ask you for your advice….
A first time meeting with a new potential client lead to a whole lot of discussion this past week. This client, we’ll call him Lance, asked me to come up with a social media strategy for one of his clients, and manage the team he had in place who were going to implement my strategy. We discussed his client’s industry, what pieces of the online marketing puzzle he already has in place and what pieces were missing. I thought we chewed every thing from soup to nuts.
As we said our goodbyes, I confirmed the things I said I would do in preparation for his client and we went our ways. Well, on the way home I realized that we never talked about my fees. So, instead of calling or emailing him, I thought I would wait until the team conference call he had scheduled for the next morning. On the call I listened to what the other team members were discussing, and evaluated the dynamics. I got a better understanding of what he wanted of me, and now was better prepared to send him a proposal.
However; before sending him a detailed proposal, I emailed him an explanation of my fees. The fee structure included a list of general tasks I would be doing so he understood what he would be getting for his money.
During the conference call, I realized that Lance was the type of person who, although you gave him a flat fee for your services, would always throw in something else outside the scope of the agreement. Now, I wanted his business, and I know he wanted to work with me, but I couldn’t allow him to take advantage of me.
Generally, I have package or flat rates. But I thought that this one time I would go back to the hourly fee. There were so many variables with this particular client that I didn’t want to over-charge him – nor did I want to undercharge and leave myself working for peanuts.
Well, the hourly rate did not sit well with him. He wants me to come down in my fees. He says that he can get others who would do it for less.
I’m thinking – NO, I’m not coming down in my fees. In truth, my fees aren’t near as high as others who do the same thing as I do in the first place. And this is MY business – he can’t come in and dictate what I charge. If he wants ME to do the work, then he has to pay my frees. I’m not going to allow him, or anyone else, to de-value who I am and what I do. My knowledge is worth money, my skills are worth money, my time is worth money.
In addition, I started 2013 with a resolution of not allowing people to haggle with me on my prices. I am not a flea-market vendor. 2013 is the year I finally stand up for myself and stick to my guns about my self-worth. I also promised myself that the moment someone attempts to negotiate my pricing, I would tell that person goodbye. My ideal client wouldn’t belittle me in such a way. Clients work with me because they know they can trust me to do the right thing for them. They are confident in my skills and they appreciate my knowledge. They value me. I’ve decided that in 2013 I will only work with people who appreciate me and value what I do for them.
Monday morning, before the conference call, I’ll call Lance and stand my ground. If I end up not getting the account, then so be it. I might have lost a client, but I kept my self-esteem and self-worth. Isn’t that worth more than money?
Lance can call the less expensive social media manager – but he’ll get what he paid for, and he won’t get ME! He won’t be getting the gal who always goes above and beyond what I’ve said I’ll do. He won’t get the gal who is incredibly honest – honest to a fault. He won’t be getting the gal who always says, “Sure, I can do that for you”. And he sure as heck won’t get that gal who will be there for him in a pinch.
What do you think? Oh, one extra piece here – getting this account would most likely lead to landing the accounts of his other clients (not a sure thing, but the possibility is there). Please share your thoughts with me. Do I pimp myself out in order to gain this account or stand my ground?