I need to negotiate smarter. Any ideas, hive mind?
October 5, 2011 8:18 AM Subscribe
Freelance consultant: Any ideas on how I can change my negotiating strategy to land more projects?
posted by reacheround to Work & Money (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I am a self employed consultant providing a highly technical service to organizations all over North America. I have been independent full time for 20 years. I've been a one-man band pretty much the whole time, so besides providing the service that brings in the income, I also do the marketing.
I am expert at what I do. What I am not so expert at is the selling part of it. I have no problem getting leads, inquiries, etc. Where I fall short is in the negotiation process.
The average project runs into the low five figures in most cases. So most prospects get competing quotes. Virtually 100% of the time, it's a single stage bid (i.e., prospects don't come back to find out if I'm willing to negotiate). Very often, I know for a fact, prospects don't even check the references I provide. Probably 80% or more of the time, price is king; other aspects / benefits of my services (which I explain very articulately, verbally and in print), don't seem to pertain all that much.
And in the majority of cases, the work goes to a competitor, not to me. I very seldom am able to find out where I fell short. Was my price too high? Or was the problem something else? When I ask, the prospect generally won't say. (Actually, since most of the discussion is via email and phone, they usually disappear and I am unable to reconnect with them even to ask the questions.)
If I could learn from these experiences what's really going on at the prospect end–why they decided the way they did–I could adjust and, hopefully, land more work. But it's hard to do this when a) I can't find out what the 'winning' bid was, and b) determine what I have to do to be more competitive.
Any ideas on how I can change my approach / strategy in the bid / quote / negotiation process, to make the process more transparent and myself more successful?