Make agency drop their pants

I just upped the rate for a project which offered about 600 USD to 1100 USD. Not a bad way to spend 8 hours on the intercity bus… The agency is a leading US firm. They offer shitty prices to begin with and always whine about their tight budgets and how they’d love to pay more, if only the market permitted.

Yet, they are a very large company with offices worldwide and have purchased many smaller companies recently, i.e. they got cash. They aren’t publicly listed, so it means they get this cash not from selling stocks, but either through rich investors – or through poor ones, like me, who sell their labor far cheaper than they resell it. This means they are very elastic if you know how to squeeze them.

Weekend rush jobs are always good. There’s no competition and the project needs to get done. It’s better to concentrate your acquisition on these rush projects at difficult times, instead of taking low-priced offers on, say, Monday mornings, when everyone needs work.

I used to often act insulted when they offered me a lower rate. You need to be a bit cheeky, don’t end the negotiation by losing your temper. Some basic sales skills help.

I started my bid at USD 1200. She asked me what’s my per-word price. Instead of writing “you idiot, stop undermining my prices” I answered:

“Thanks for asking, Jennifer.
I actually don’t know. My quote consists of several factors (weekend, rush, rough time estimate).
I fear there’s little wiggle room.”

Then she asked if I needed more time (implicitly asking if I would lower my rate). If they write you back, you know they haven’t found anyone else. Being the diligent professional that I am, I answered:

” More time won’t help, because I got the next 2 projects lined up already. How about a 9% Halloween discount for my most trusted agency? You get incomparable single-hand consistency and timely delivery. Me happy, you happy, client happy.
Give me USD 1100 for both projects and we got a deal. I would need confirmation within the next hour, need to hit the store before I lock myself in for Sunday…”

It’s like those tutorial sites that announce every video “He sticks his finger in the sink. You won’t believe his genius!” It’s very vulgar, but it gets me every time. Make them feel like they’re writing to a human. They’re working night shifts on a weekend for their shitty job, perfect targets for snap purchase decisions.

Then I added the time constraint. You need to make clear your offer is limited, it forces them to act, often to your advantage.

Season's greetings from your friendly project managers.

Season’s greetings from your friendly project managers.

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