How to Become an Expert at Negotiating Price with Clients

by | May 25, 2012 | Strictly Business Blog

No one enjoys talking about money, at least only a few strange birds do. For those few, it is a game. If they are selling, they work to get the highest price possible. If they are buying, they want the lowest. As independent working photographers, we are all entrepreneurs who have to sell our services on a regular basis. Our success rate at selling is directly proportionate to how much money we earn, making this skill pretty darn important.

So, what is the best way to learn how to sell your price up? Become a sales expert by paying attention to all your own buying transactions. You can learn a lot by standing in your clients shoes as the buyer and think about what is being said to you. “We are the best”, “you will love this, I promise” or my favorite, “I will take care of you sweetie”; these clichés make us cringe as buyers. Remember that when talking to a client. All sales statements should be truthful and helpful (and subtle if possible).

Certain industries, automobile sales for example, are known for never listing the “real” price. Everyone knows this, so when we need or want a new car, we have to go in to face the overly pushy salesperson and negotiate the price down from the sticker. It is a pain, but I have learned a lot about selling by not giving too much information and not letting them run their normal script. They want to get you to fall in love with one particular car and then work with you on the price of that one vehicle. They limit your options and go in for the sell. If you keep the conversation broad, they aren’t sure what to do with you.

I recently asked a car salesman to give me the monthly payment on two different models. He didn’t want to price two cars, but I quietly held my ground. He finally said, well, we haven’t settled on a price and model yet. I said I knew that. By asking him to give me monthly payments on two sticker prices, I was comparing apples to apples and could see how much the luxuries would cost me monthly. Naturally, if I was better at math, I could do this myself. What I was really doing, however, was staking my ground in the negotiation. He finally did what I asked, but he was so frustrated with me that he leaned over the desk and said, “you know I can make these payments quite a bit lower”. The price was dropping and I had yet to share whether I planned on trading in a car or making a down payment. I was simply quiet and calm. When buyers call you for an estimate remember what ASMP speaker and sales expert, Blake Discher always lectures, never give a price on that first call. Slow the process down, develop a level of trust and sell on qualities you can genuinely deliver.

When you start this game of paying attention to all your buying transactions, all of a sudden one day you will purchase something and have forgotten to pay attention to the sales person. Well, guess what? That was the sale to pay attention to. This person did it right. You wanted to make the purchase so much that you didn’t even notice you were in a sales process. Now is the time to analyze the transaction. Write down all the details of the sale and think about what the salesperson said to you. What do you remember and what has already slipped your mind? Think about this experience the next time a potential client calls you, chances are they will want the same type of experience you had the day you forgot to play the game.