Negotiating is an essential part of a graphic designer’s business, and it can be tricky even for experienced negotiators. You and the client are both looking to get as much as possible for your side of the deal, and while concessions and compromises may be inevitable, you want to make a few as possible. Here are some tips for a more successful negotiation process.
Designer, know thyself. Think about goals and limits: what are you aiming at, how much do you need to earn, and what won’t you do? If you know exactly what your aim and boundaries are, then you’ll know where to compromise and you’ll be less likely to let the heat and emotions of negotiation get in the way.
Become a researcher. There are many facets to the research you’ll have to conduct for a successful negotiation:
- What are typical fees for designers working in the same location on similar projects?
- What is your market value according to your education and experience?
- Can you back up your claims with facts or numbers related to the specific projects and costs the client is looking for?
Don’t be afraid to walk away. If you’ve considered all angles and the client won’t even accept the least that you are willing to do, then walking away helps you avoid a job where you’ll feel compromised, taken advantage of, and frustrated.
Review the results. Once you’ve completed a negotiation, it’s important to think about where you were more or less successful, and what you could change for next time.
It’s unlikely that you’ll always get exactly what you want in a negotiation. But if you educate yourself, you’ll have a much better chance at getting closer to your target.
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