At some point in every negotiation, the conversation turns to price.
Sometimes this is straightforward. It’s been discussed all along and you are formalizing what everyone expects.
And sometimes, a new prospect will come at you with some version of, “We really want to do this, we just can’t make it happen at this price. Could you do it for less?”
Well yes, you always can do it for less.
But should you?
There might be good reasons to do it for less. The work is interesting and important and will allow you to grow. It will open new doors for you and your firm. You have available resources (time, people) that otherwise would lay dormant.
But if the price you’ve offered is one you’ve been paid before, and if clients keep coming back for more and referring new people to you, this means that, at the price you initially offered, the one you’ve been asked to lower, your work is a bargain: you’ve been delivering a lot more value than the price you’re charging.
What’s challenging is how uncomfortable the “can you do it for less” moment is. The tension in the silence that follows this question makes you want to make the discomfort go away, which you can do by negotiating against yourself.
“Maybe,” you think, “this time I’m wrong.” “Maybe, this time, my work isn’t worth it.” “Maybe this client will get away and……..”
And what, exactly?
And there will be another client tomorrow. This client will see what you’re worth, be willing to pay that amount and, in doing so, will get be getting a bargain relative to what you’ll deliver.
Don’t uncut yourself, and certainly don’t apologizing for asking for what you deserve.
Instead, you might offer: “I’m confident that at the price we’re discussing, you will get more than you’re paying for.”
Then, when she ultimately say yes, it’s up to you to do something magical, which is exactly where you want to be.