If you can’t negotiate, you’ll end up giving in to clients who lowball you. Period.
And if you don’t do anything about that, you’ll start accepting low freelance writing rates all the time.
Then, you’ll obviously have to do horrible, unthinkable things like canceling your HBO Now subscription so you can afford to pay rent. In other words, no more Game of Thrones.
Since I’m not a monster who expects you to live in a world where you have to wait for-fucking-ever to get Game of Thrones on DVD, today I’m going to talk about the negotiation tactic I use to get clients to pay me well.
Keep reading, and not only will you know how to make enough money to keep your HBO Now subscription — you might even make enough money to buy… CABLE TV!
But before I talk tactics, let’s address this question:
Why are your clients trying to negotiate a lower rate?
Some of them might just want to see what kind of deal they can get, but most of them are lowballing you because they:
- Don’t see the value in what you do
- Don’t understand how much time/effort it takes to do what you do
So, the obvious solution here is to make your value and the amount of effort you put into your work as clear as 40-proof vodka.
But how exactly are you supposed to do that?
The negotiation tactic that’ll help you demand high freelance writing rates
Like a cheap hooker in a Las Vegas back alley, this tactic is quick and dirty.
But that’s okay. Because, also like the hooker, it GETS THE DAMN JOB DONE.
Let me explain how it works with an example.
Say you’re talking to a client about blogging work. Your normal rate for the work is $200, but they ask for $140.
Here’s what you should say:
I realize that my rate is over your budget. However, I set my rate that way because I know how long it takes to write a high-quality, in-depth blog post with images/screenshots, SEO, WordPress uploading, and heavy research. $140 will not cover that time.
It works like a motherfucking charm (I use it all the time).
Because it helps clients understand exactly how difficult your job is and why you should be paid fairly.
…But what about those clients who lowball you because they don’t see the value in what you do?
Okay. I’ve got another example to help with that.
Say you’re writing website copy. Your normal rate is $1000, and the client wants to bring it down to $750.
Here’s what you should say:
I realize that my rate is over your budget. However, I set my rate that way because I know how long it takes to write website copy that attracts your audience and converts a high percentage of your website visitors to paying customers. $750 will not cover that time.
This approach is a little different from the other one because it focuses on the results your clients will get when they work with you. When you mention converting website visitors to paying customers, you get the client thinking about the return on their investment in website copy.
And any reasonable client will understand that paying a fair rate for website copy is worth a website that helps them win more business.
It’s all about that ROI, baby.
Tips for starting to negotiate freelance writing rates
You can’t expect it to work every time, but there are several things you can to do make sure it works most of the time.
- Have an acceptable rate range in mind and quote at the higher end of that range. I usually charge 20-25 cents per word for blog posts, but I don’t ever lead with 20 cents per word. Leading with the higher end of my range means that I’ll probably still land within my range, even if the client negotiates the rate a bit.
- Build your value in your initial quote. You can do this by talking about everything they get when they hire you. It helps the client understand that there’s so much more to writing than just writing. For example, I include SEO, WordPress uploading, screenshots/data/links, and topic pitching with my blog posts, so I always mention those things upfront. You can learn more about building your value to increase your income here.
- Create a freelance writer website that sells the shit out of your services. Your website content should define your niche and target a specific audience based on your niche. When you’re writing the content, speak directly to the reader’s pain points/goals and leave out boring, resume-esqe information. Clients just want to know how you’re going to help them get results for their business.
Remember, some people are just ridiculous and you shouldn’t waste time negotiating with them.
I recently quoted someone $200+ for a blog post, and his counter offer was $40. (Yes, that’s ONE zero there. Was he on crack?? Was he secretly Ramsay Snow?? I’m not sure.) Move on from clients like that and find better ones. Because you shouldn’t waste your time on clients who have their mind set on seriously underpaying you.
Want your own copy of the scripts in this posts for easy reference? Click here to download the negotiation scripts + get 3 bonus tactics for making more money as a freelance writer!