06 Jan

Negotiating My Value


your self valueYou 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.

Mistake #1

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.

Mistake #2

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.

Mistake #3

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.

Mistake #4

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.

Don’t want to make mistake #5

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?

Eydie :)



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10 thoughts on “Negotiating My Value

  1. Oh, Eydie, what a crappy situation you’ve landed yourself in! I mean, what a great learning opportunity. :-)

    Of course I’m going to say you should stick to your fee. You could even tell him that you made a special exception for him, but really it sounds like he wouldn’t care and might just try to take advantage of you.

    I now have my regular package rates (which I recently raised), but I also have a set number of times during the year that I will offer a reduced rate. However, this is for certain people who really need the help, not just someone who is being cheap and doesn’t value what I have to offer.

    Last year I offered a client a Client Attraction Breakthrough Session for $97, and they said, “Oh, my gawd! That’s so high! I know people who do it for 25 bucks!” They also made some other not-so-choice comments, so I said, “That’s great. Now it’s $125,” and I smiled and walked off. :-)

    I thought at the time I had blown it, but when I tell that story in my workshops, people love it and it generates awesome discussion. So it was valuable, just not in the way I thought, hehe. Good luck! Be awesome. :-)

    • Thanks, Amethyst, for your input. I’m pretty sure I will be sticking to my guns. I’m extremely comfortable with my fees and don’t want to go lower… especially since they’re not that high in the first place. I’ve seen people charge double to triple than what I charge. I appreciate your story – it’s comforting to know that so many of us have the same issues.

      Eydie :)

  2. You noticed your mistakes in negotiation, and he did too, that is why he remained silent, he was waiting, to see where you would go…he watched and did not ask. And he saw a weakness, where he could pounce. Your fees are established, they are your usual and customary. He has done his research, that is why he asked you in I the first place. He knows your worth, and has probably paid for your services before. He is trying to manage you. Stand your ground. I wonder if negotiations would have gone differently if you were a man? Perhaps you will still work for his client, with or without him. I remember the first mp3 i listen to about how you became a virtual assistant, you have been this road before, how did it work then? And ponder this, what would you tell a client or a student to do? I think he liked your flat rate, because he knew he would work you..and with the hourly rate, he will have to pay for the “extras” he thought he could squeeze in. Remember, it’s not personal..it’s business and he is working the art of the deal. He wants a deal, a bargain. And he WOULD be getting it if he hired you for the job, at your rate you have already told him because he wouldn’t just be paying for the job to be done he would be getting your work ethic and your commitment to a job well done as well.

    • I like your point, Patti. Would negotiations even have happened if I were a man. Never even thought of that angle. Also, I agree that knowing he would pay an hourly fee – he wouldn’t get in any extras that were out of the scope of the contract.

      We’ll see what happens tomorrow.

      Eydie :)

  3. Hi Eydie,

    I found you via your post on UBC.

    Stick to your guns! My experience has been that clients who haggle on reasonable prices are only going to cause more headaches later. I wouldn’t even stick around for the carrot of all the other potential clients he could possibly connect you with. Who knows how he is talking about you? “Oh, this lady is good and really flexible on price. You can get her for a really cheap rate.” Thanks, but no thanks.

    Good for you for knowing what you want for the year. Now stick with it! Maybe he is just testing to see if he can snag a lower price, or maybe he will walk. Either way, absolutely stay firm on your price. Lawyers and mechanics don’t drop their price because a potential client can “get a better deal” somewhere else. Treat yourself like the professional you are and stand tall!

    • Love it, Shannon!!!! I already think he might be an issue in the future. The more I think about this, the more I’m sure I’m doing the right thing. And you’re right… will he tell others that I’m flexible with my rates? So many variable here.

      Love the affirmations!!! Thanks, Eydie :)

  4. Eydie, sounds like you’ve made up your mind by now and hopefully my two cents will support your decision.

    Basically, I have always heard that one of the Golden Rules of negotiation is to let the other person be the first to walk away. So, you do your homework, be honest, straight forward in your position, make the offer, one you feel is fair and right for both of you, and wait for the response. It sounds like you did all of this exactly right.

    Based on this, I would let him walk away if he does not want your more-than-reasonable fee. His behavior is beginning to border on offensive and low-balling, and I would support your standing up to the bully. Not to mention, he is beginning to sound like someone you might not want to work with in the first place.

    Like the other ladies said, you don’t want him spreading around the word that you will come down on your fee with a little haggling and pressure. And worst, maybe his friends and colleague are just like him. I would stay strong and clear about what you are willing to do, explain that you understand his position, but this is the best you can do. Parting words, it the fee does not work for him, you understand. Have a nice life. y

    You gut and instincts are telling you’re the right thing to do, and I agree, its not worth compromising your self worth and value over. Just like the song lyrics go,
    “you got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em” and “know when to let em walk away”. Can’t wait to see what you decide.

    Best of luck on this Edyie! We’re learning from your experience. :)

    • Thanks, Linda… your advice made the decision I made me feel better about what I did this morning.

      Okay…. so this is what happened:

      There was a scheduled 10:00am conference call with the team. I text him around 8:45am asking if I could speak with him for a few minutes before the call. He text back said he was busy and we could talk after the call. Well, I didn’t want to be on the call if I wasn’t going to get paid so I needed this conversation before the call. My text back to him said that I wasn’t sure I should BE on the call. He said that we were going to talk about a lot of exciting things and he needed me on the call.

      My response was: “You’ve not confirmed acceptance of my fees, I need to know that first”.
      His response was: “Fine skip the call. We can talk later”.

      Haven’t heard from him since.

      I’m feeling much better knowing that I’m not going to work with him. Sure glad I had everyone’s input – it just validated my decision.

      And yes, Linda – “You have to know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em, and know when to walk away”.

      Eydie :)

      • Yup, ya gotta “know when to let ‘em walk away!” Good riddance Mr. Business. And thanks for the hard fought lesson about negotiations.


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