Maybe it’s your first client meeting ever, and you’re petrified that you don’t know what to say. And you’ll come across like a dummy.
Or maybe you’ve taken scores of client meetings as a freelance writer — but you keep shooting blanks, and walking away without an assignment.
If you’re an experienced freelance writer, perhaps you’ve left too many first client meetings with the sneaky feeling that you’ve just been milked for an hour of free consulting. You could have charged hundreds for the advice, but you just gave it away, in hopes of impressing your prospect — and still didn’t get the gig.
If you’re any of these writers, I’ve got a piece of advice that’s going to save you time and help you land more clients.
You see, there’s a balance you need to strike in first client meetings between impressing the prospect that you’re smart, and being too helpful. So helpful that they get all the info they need in the meeting, and don’t have to hire you.
How can you impress clients fast, without giving away all your secrets? Here’s my approach:
If you want to earn more as a freelancer, you need to sharpen your negotiation techniques. Seriously. When a prospective client makes you an offer, your ability to negotiate the scope of work and your fee can pay off off in two important ways.
First, negotiation techniques can help boost your cash flow. Second, and more significantly, negotiation techniques can help you establish a higher rate for each subsequent piece you write for a client.
Let me share an example with you that went particularly well.
I’d been wooing a potential content marketing client in one of my niche areas. We discussed a project on the phone for a while, and then the editor made me a low-ball offer of $300 per piece. Based on the time it would take me to deliver what we’d discussed, I knew I wouldn’t be able to do the work quickly enough for it to be worth my while.
I wanted to work with this client, so I countered the offer by using a couple of key negotiation techniques. The result: I managed to get a contract for $750 per piece — more than double the initial offer.
Want to know how I did it? Use these proven negotiation techniques to get paid more:
In early 2016, I landed my first freelance blogging client.
It was a big win for me, even though it wasn’t in my niche (because I hadn’t really figured out what my niche was yet). The client actually reached out to me after seeing some of my blog posts on Facebook.
But there was a problem. I had no idea what to charge, and the client wanted to know my rate.
I pored over everything I could find online, asked around, and finally settled on a rate of $50 per 500-750 word blog post. I sent the editor my rates, and voila – I had my first contract in place.
I jumped into writing awesome blog content for this client. But it didn’t take long to start second guessing my rate. Was I charging enough for this type of work? What were other writings charging for writing similar blog content? What would need to happen to raise my rates and keep this client?
Across the conference table, two business owners sat staring at me, as I explained why they needed to hire me as their writer.
I discussed what they needed — social media, blog articles, employee profiles — and to my newbie surprise, they bought it. All of it. They stood up, shook my hand and eagerly requested a proposal.
I shook their hands, smiled, and nearly collapsed into a puddle of anxiety after I left the room.
This was my first experience with a potential business client, and I had no clue how I’d move forward.
What do I charge? What do I put in my proposal? What do I do next?
Luckily, I had resources, and I put them to work. Here’s what I did to secure my first business client and first big freelance job — at a great pay rate:
When I was fresh out of college, I got lucky.
I got a job offer at a magazine, almost right away. It was great … except the pay. It was much lower than I’d told myself I would accept.
So I did what everyone suggested: I negotiated. I did my due diligence — including market research, a look at industry norms, and lots of number crunching. Twenty-four hours later, I crossed my fingers and hit ‘send.’
And I got steamrolled.
I took the job anyway. I was worried nothing else would come along. But the entire time I worked there, I felt underpaid and poorly treated.
Ever since, I’ve shied away from asking for more money.
I’ve always feared that the offer would be yanked out from under me, that I’d be yelled at, or that the person I was negotiating with would be offended.
Recently, I got another offer. But this time, I pushed my fear aside and negotiated better pay. Here’s how.
If you want to boost your freelance blogging income, you’re probably doing all the things you’re supposed to do:
- Regular marketing
- Checking in with past clients
- Asking current clients for other projects
But here’s another income-boosting approach I stumbled on: Pitch extra services on the same work you’re already doing for clients as a paid blogger — in a context that matters to your client.
Those of you with sales experience already know this “want fries with that?” strategy. When I saw how well it worked, I about smacked myself in the forehead, because I didn’t think of it sooner.