When To Negotiate

You finished your sales meeting with your prospective client—they feel like just the right fit—and you send out your proposal. You’re feeling confident…until you get that email questioning your fees.

Should you negotiate—and how? Which items are fair game? Jonathan and I dive into those thorny questions around negotiating with clients:

Writing a proposal that offers up non-price options that make for easy negotiation wins.

Positioning yourself and your work to minimize—if not downright eliminate—discount requests.

Anchoring your fees in value instead of time so you can focus potential discounting discussions on outcomes vs. inputs.

Offering guarantees or warranties—and why these are a lot less risky than you think.

Working around the perils of dealing with procurement.

Dealing with potential scope changes, both up-front and as your work unfolds.


“The thing about getting into price negotiations with clients is that if you…concede the first time, then it’s almost like their moral obligation to negotiate every single time after that.”—JS

“When you make that decision that you’re not going to negotiate on price, it actually makes everything else easier.”—RM

“I put one thing in the proposal that’s so preposterous that it’s the thing that people always want to negotiate.”—JS

“You’re positioning yourself and your work in their minds.”—RM

“If someone was going to refer me to someone else, the thing I want them to say is he’s expensive, but it’s worth it.”—JS

“You’re anchoring your fees in the outcome versus what a lot of people do—anchor their fees in time.”—RM

“Offering a written guarantee on your services is like a five year, 50,000 mile guarantee on a car.”—JS

“This is all about really creating the relationship you want with your clients…the minute we start to negotiate on price, it changes the dynamic of the relationship.”—RM

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