Monday, February 04, 2013

Are you a bargain basement speaker?

One of the first questions speakers are asked is "What's your fee?". Of course, seasoned negotiators know that discussing the price before the benefits is a poor strategy, so your response is often about what you can offer, what others pay for your services, and the disadvantages of not hiring you. So you dance around the fee question, discussing topics, timings, venue and the huge list of outcomes that your speech offers.

However, at some point you have to deliver the news, and that's the point when you may start to get the "fee nerves". Even if you have charged the fee before, there may be a little voice in the back of your head saying "Don't go higher than they can afford, or you'll lose the gig". You try to second-guess their budget (assuming they've ducked your "what's your budget" question), which inevitably means that you offer them a reduced fee that you think they can afford.

Here are a few rules that may help you through that moment:

1. Stick to your fee
2. Don't cut your fee
3. See rule 1

Even if they say an initial "no" to your full fee, there is plenty of room to negotiate around the deal without cutting your fee. If they say an immediate "yes" to your reduced fee, how will that feel? You'll never know if they would have agreed to pay what you believe you are worth.

Your full fee represents the value that you believe you deliver to clients. That's what you tell people when they ask. You're not a bargain basement speaker, are you?

Picture copyright Alan Stevens 

1 comment:

David Lim said...

Hi Alan

Great post. Valid points. I disagree with the "don't quote fee before selling your benefits". How I coach others in my Negotiating to Win programme is by encouraging to say " It depends" - and give the factors. If the client wants the best price, I say I can do it by email within 24 hours, but first, I need to know several things - what follows is my client questions to size up if I and a fit, and if they are a fit with what I do, the scope and size of the event (which helps me estimate what they are spending overall) and also if the person who asked the question can actually say yes or no. I never negotiate with someone who cant say yes or no