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Negotiating Fees: Justify, Don't Apologize

By Gary Duke

Over the course of my career in the ad agency business I can’t tell you how many times I was placed in the awkward position of having to defend what we were charging for our services. How many times have your clients complained about your fees? I’m guessing you've probably heard it at least a few times before.

In these moments, one of the biggest strategic mistakes we can make negotiating fees - without even realizing it - is to sound apologetic through our actions or words.

“I understand it’s pricey but…”

“I know it seems steep…”

“It’s a lot of money, I know…”

Or we fold quickly, signaling to the client that even WE thought the price was too high in the first place. And the entire frame of the negotiation becomes about PRICE, when you really want to discuss the VALUE you deliver for the proposed cost.

Here’s the thing to keep in mind when negotiating your fees:

JUSTIFY but never APOLOGIZE.

And the sooner you can shift the conversation away from the cost of your professional fees to the unique value you bring to the table, the more likely you'll get your client to sign on the dotted line.

Join me for my 4As webinar on Thursday, February 11th:
Client Negotiations: Navigating Potentially Tough Topics With Clients
You can find more info here.
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