Freelancing with Assertiveness: How to Handle Hagglers

The following article is a guest post.

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People tend to equate assertiveness with pushing people around. But there’s nothing wrong with expressing yourself and getting what you want.

When you have no one else to speak up on your behalf, keeping your head down can be bad for business. It can even get tiring to have people constantly haggling down your rates.

Speak Up for Yourself

A little assertiveness can help you negotiate your rate against even the stingiest of hagglers. This is an essential skill to develop as a budding freelancer. By asserting yourself, you demonstrate your value even before the contract’s been signed. But this isn’t easy for everyone.

Indeed, not everyone can be naturally assertive and confident. A lucky break is that these two traits can still be developed with time and practice. To get started, try taking professional assertiveness classes or read up on the subject yourself. For instance, you can read this great guide to confidence for creatives and freelancers.

In this article, we’re also going to lay out the basics of handling hagglers so you can learn how to put your foot down to get the respect and rewards you deserve.

  1. Reason Out

Once the conversation or meeting has veered towards your rate, the easiest tip to give is to stay calm. State your desired rate with conviction. Though it’s easier said than done, it gets much easier with experience. By appearing confident in your abilities, you will be perceived as more credible and reliable.

But when you get pushback, you should stay positive and professional. It’s normal for a client to question your abilities, so don’t take it personally. Justify your rate by explaining the service you’ll be providing. Sometimes, all a client needs is a guarantee that they’ll be getting their money’s worth.

  1. Negotiate the Scope

Sometimes, a client is just really stuck to a specific budget. On these occasions, the best course of action would be to reach a deal on the deliverables, instead. This might come in the form of less room for revisions or a looser deadline.

Standing your ground doesn’t mean you have to be firm and immovable. You want to be seen as valuable, while still being rational. If they won’t agree to pay more, see if they’ll agree to let you do less.

  1. Learn to Say No

Negotiating can get particularly difficult when you’re wary of chasing a client away. But you don’t want to say yes to every request and end up overcommitting. This might lead to a lacklustre performance that’ll prove worse for your reputation than if you’d just said no.

Still, you should always try to make a counter-offer. But you should always measure if the pay justifies the effort. Don’t devalue your own work. When it comes to unreasonable and demanding clients, the best thing to do is to just say no.

Reap the Rewards

As businessman and motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “You don’t get paid for the hour. You get paid for bringing value to the hour.” Don’t settle for anything less than what you’re worth.

For a freelancer, assertiveness is a vital skill that will let you promote yourself, reach your goals, and overcome professional difficulties. Master it until you can put your career into overdrive.

Lidiya K

Lidiya K

Author, blogger and podcaster in the fields of self-improvement and life hacking. Creator of Let's Reach Success.
Full-time freelance writer. Lifestyle designer.
Lidiya K

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