Is business all about people?
Or is it about the psychology of people?
Is that what makes sales?
Or are sales what make a business?
Or is it people?
Or the Psychology?
Confused? I am!
I’ve run a brand design and web design studio in the Romford and Hornchuch area of Essex for over ten years and I’ve dealt with my fair share of dodgy clients, tyre kickers and very conniving people.
And all of it, the conniving, the confusing and even the helpless all do it as an act to win negotiations and get their own way.
The negotiations could be about pricing and money or service and deliverables, and essentially it all equates to the same thing…How the troublesome client can get their way with you.
These negotiations might happen prior to the person becoming a client, at the beginning of a project or even at the end of the project.
In any case it’s worthwhile noting that it happens when that person is at their weakest and their negotiating with a particular style to put the power back into their own hands.
If you’re a graphic designer, web designer, brand identity designer or any type of designer then you will encounter some of these people at some point in your career, so here’s 4 psychological business tips that will help you to negotiate with problematic clients or identify them and dodge them altogether.
1.Professional design services are not as cheap as chips
Negotiating on price is a part of business but being asked to provide a service for an extremely low price is just insulting.
As a designer you’ve probably been asked to do the same at some point, especially with promises of more work and referrals.
Well, it’s worth noting that if a potential client is asking for a ridiculously cheap price then that person is choosing to buy from you predominately based on price, not service, reliability, experience or skill.
And promise of more work is purely speculation.
Now, as a designer you might say to yourself that this is a small, quick and easy job that can bring in a speedy income but you’d be wise to think again.
You see, that potential client has approached you because they know you’re good at your job and they like you and maybe even trust you to a degree.
And even though they want your work at a cheap price they don’t want a cheap service in return.
They’re expecting your full professional service and nothing less.
Now, if you agree to a low price then it’s more than likely that this potential client will try and squeeze every amendment, revision and additional service into the project as they can.
And if the potential client wants to pay such as a low price for all of this work then it means that the project doesn’t actually mean that much to them so they won’t be in any hurry to finish it.
Your quick, easy and profitable job turns into a long drawn out headache and you’ll be feeling like this:
You see, more often than not “cheap” or “discount” represents a one-off sale as oppose to a client for life.
It represents a good deal based on money as oppose to service.
Retailers offer discounts successfully and in the B2B market haggling is totally acceptable but there are certain levels of cheap you yourself will be prepared to go.
If you go below your own threshold in hopes of winning a long-term client then the odds are against you, not exclusively but predominantly.
Psychologically, people who want something ridiculously cheap will look for a cheaper deal anywhere.
There is no brand loyalty, personal loyalty or business loyalty in this scenario.
It’s all about the cheapest cost.
But that’s not to say that you should just turn down the job.
To tackle this situation, weigh up the odds and focus on the facts.
My top tips to deal with this scenario are to:
- Judge the person and not the job.
It’s easy to get swayed by looking at the project as a quick easy job or by promises of more work. This is what will get you trouble. Instead look at the person that you’re doing this favour for.- Do you like that person?
– Do you have any sort of relationship with them?
– Do they have any traits or circumstances at all that would make you want to do the job at a low cost with nothing else expected in return?
– To sum up, are they a bit of an arsehole? Or not?
- Get what you want out of the project.
– Is there anything that you specifically want out of this project apart from cash.
– Maybe it’s a good project for your portfolio?
– Maybe it’s something you’re interested in personally?
– Maybe you see something that’s personally beneficial in taking this job?
- Quote fully
By quoting a full price for a full expert service, you’ll be selling something that’s not as cheap as chips and you’ll be surprised as to how to how many of these seemingly troublesome clients will just pay your full price without further negotiations.
There are no right or wrong answers to the above questions and you won’t know if you made the right decision until the project ends.
But what the above tips do, is to help you make a hard decision easier by providing logic to your decision that’s not based on money but the potential clients character.
The above will help you to dodge dodgy clients or make a small unseemly project become a worthy masterpiece.
2.Don’t talk, just listen in a negotiation
Crazy, unpleasant or difficult negotiations are often a result of a dodgy client being in a weaker position.
A weaker position basically means that they are stuck in some way or another and need to get their own way to solve their problem.
To do this they will pull you into a conversation, maybe make accusations, threats or even a sob story to try and get you to engage with them.
By getting you to engage and respond, they get the upper hand.
It’s a power trick.
I’ve seen it in sales calls, negotiations and particularly when problems arise and the very best way of handling this is to listen but not engage.
By listening and saying nothing, you’ll find that the dodgy client will over talk and ramble on, essentially digging themselves into a deeper hole.
Want they really want is your help.
But to get it they won’t just ask, they’ll insult, act or even become confused to try and get you to offer your help on your own accord, thus shifting responsibility or fault.
Sometimes less is more and not saying anything is a more powerful response, putting the negotiating power back in your hands.
It stops the game being played and brings the conversation back to reality and facts.
Be comfortable with silence to win negotiations.
3.Be a nice negotiator
They say it’s easier to say something nice then it is to say something nasty so don’t be afraid to talk more in the way of compliments within a negotiation.
Everyone loves a compliment and if someone deserves even a small one, feel free to give one.
It goes beyond being nice, beyond irrelevance, and business wise into the power of persuasion.
Always be nice in a negotiation to uphold your professionalism and morals as a designer.
4. Just be yourself
Business is all about psychology and you’ll see it everywhere from marketing and training to networking and human resources.
Horrible things such as cliques, discrimination, competition, bribery and even bullying is common place in business to ultimately win negotiations.
How you handle it could be a make or break situation for your business but in any case, the best psychological tip I can give to win negotiations is to just be you.
That’s one thing most people will either love or hate and it’s also the one thing that will put the psychological power back into your hands.
If you want to win a negotiation as a designer just be you.
If you’re really interested in knowing how to spot, dodge and deal with troublesome clients then download our free guide: “Super Heroes, Designers, Super Villains & Clients. – A guide to spotting, dodging and dealing with troublesome clients.”