In your business, how do you handle the sales and price and T&C parts of being a freelancer or solo owner?
Specifically, when clients try to haggle, or try to make you play by their rules – what do you do?
It’s very common for us to then start to appease the buyer.
But when you start to reduce your price, or you agree to terms you’re not happy with, you’re setting up for an experience that will disappoint your buyer and you as well.
In fact, the more you let go of your own rules, the lower level of customer satisfaction, no matter how good of a job you do.
Saw this on twitter a while back:
“Just said goodbye to a potential client because they wanted me to go against everything I’ve learned and start work without a deposit payment.”
The buyer replied: “But we’re BIG and you’re small. You can be flexible.”
Freelancer reply: “No. It’s because I’m small that I can’t be”.
Now this might be true, but it’s the wrong reply.
Because how big a client is doesn’t have to affect your terms and conditions, and it shouldn’t.
Because with that reply, the client heard ‘you’re right, you’re bigger and therefore you’re dominant’.
In other words, the client shows up with a big social ‘frame’, and says ‘And you are small, so you do what we say’.
If you then agree with the first part of the statement, nothing you’ll say afterwards will change things for the better.
It’s a lost case.
But if you’d ‘break their frame’, and show your own, bigger, authority frame (which is rightfully yours, as the business owner), you might have a chance.
So a good and useful reply would be:
“Size doesn’t matter.
“You are asking me to sell you this work, which means I also need to tell you my terms and conditions, which I’ve just done”.
With two sentences, you can turn the tables, and position yourself back where you belong:
As the business owner, where you state your terms and conditions, that a client may refuse or reject – and which they certainly may complain about if they want, but which is your prerogative and duty to protect.
I know it’s cool and scary and exciting when a big company wants to buy your work.
But don’t be intimidated, and never let them bully you just because they’re bigger.
You run the business, you get to define your terms and conditions. You get to decide whether or not business is ‘your way, or no way’.
This aspect of ‘social frames’ is a big part of the Sales for Nice People framework I teach – have a look, you might find it a worthwhile investment.