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How to get that gig, killer negotiation tips that land you the job

No matter how you hate it and there’s no better way to slice this thing- if you are a freelancer then you need to be a good negotiator. Negotiation is a part of our lives and when it’s one thing to negotiate at other places, in freelancing you are negotiating for your bread and butter, you have to do it well.

But I am not here to tell how you to negotiate with content mills, for them there’s only one rule, you have to breakfast on caterpillars working for them.

There are some occasions when I have failed to get that gig but as they say good decisions come from experience and experience comes from bad decisions. I used to feel devastated but then it has been a great learning curve for me.

All those failed negotiation tasks have given me an edge, a secret weapon that I now employ every time I go out for a deal and more often than not the odds go in my favour.

In fact this month I got more high paying gigs than what I have ever made as a freelancer.

Here I present you with my negotiation tips:

It’s all about the feeling:

A great song is not about the lyrics or its beauty but about the feeling that you give the audience. In negotiation if you give them a feeling that you are going to rip them off while providing little value, better stop freelancing as you’d never make a gig. You should not appear greedy and you should not settle for anything less than what you value yourselves.

Try to find a balance, it’s not easy to find the perfect pitch, but perfection never came on a golden platter.

Try to find the budget by up selling:

As freelancers we play a mystery game, we are hitting blindly not knowing whether we can get more, we do not know the thresholds. More often than not it’s a game of intuition and luck.

For example one of the things that I do for a living is promote e books of my clients with posts about those books and guest posts on other blogs. It always starts with the simplest service- a review, a critique. Depending on how much the client is willing to spend initially, I upsell all other services.

Not many go all the way but I do get a fool proof way to find their budgets.

If you are involved in a situation where you have no way of knowing the spend limit, just ask, or quote your highest if they are unwilling to share the details. You will get to know whether to spend more time or just flee.

Here’s a post on the art and science of up selling that you will love.

Break down the tasks, tell them what you are getting paid for:

As employers they know what they want, but they may not know what goes behind all that work. If there was empathy then there would be no need of this article, content mills would have never been born and the world would be a freelancer’s utopia. Unfortunately we are living in a real world. So, what I do is tell them all the work that I will be doing for them.

For clients requiring guest blogging, I have a template that tells them all the tasks which include contacting the host, telling them about the post, showing them my work till they agree and standing by answering all the comments that show up.

Once they hear all that, they have little spirit to refuse me.

It becomes easier to get paid if you tell your clients exactly what they are getting.

Show that you are flexible to a degree by quoting a range

An absolute number may be the cause that you are not getting any clients. I hate it, they hate. Show that your flexible, open to changes by quoting a range say $300- $400 a post or $4000 to $5000 for the project, instead of an absolute number that leaves no room for negotiations.

Remember we are building a bridge, not a wall and our quotes are the foundation. An absolute number seems like a dead end, an irrevocable decree from a Monarch who’s not used to listening NO’s.

It’s not you it’s us:

When I start a project, then it’s no more the concerns of the client alone whether it be a promotion or writing content. The moment I start working on it, it becomes our concern. So I never approach client projects as yours but as ours and proceed accordingly.

Remember that its all about the feeling and not about whether you are the best, the assurance that you will work along, are dependable is what your clients are looking for.

Compliment,say that they have done a great work:

I never promote books or do content marketing for the projects that I don’t like. So its easy for me to compliment and I mean it, otherwise I do not do the project.

The same thing can go for you. Say it like you mean it, compliment them.

No matter how accomplished people get they always like hearing nice things about themselves.



  1. benbell

    This is an excellent post. It is a great information and helps everyone to enhance knowledge. Thanks

  2. Dan

    Thanks for sharing this with us. I agree with you that people really like to hear nice things about themselves. However, one should be careful when making compliments. If you don’t believe what you are saying, the other person will know it, conciously or unconciously and if they do.. it might not he the best thing for you. Great article. Cheers!

    • Well true but for me the trick always works and most of the time I say only genuine things

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