by Ricky Nowak CAHRI, CSP, CEOI, FILP
When most of my speaking/training buddies and I started speaking professionally around 2003 most of us didn’t have a business bone in our bodies. In fact, only a handful had never done a real profit and loss or sales report before or had even sighted a spreadsheet. We had come from other careers or industries like teaching, communication, sales or IT and had found each other through National Speakers Association Australia (NSAA) as it was known then.
NSAA was the sweet spot where performance and skill met and could thrive. What we had in common was a love for entertaining and engaging others, training and connecting and we knew how to make magic on the platform. What we didn’t know was how to run a business.
Yet we continued to spend money and time learning new platform skills, going to conferences, connecting with others ‘just like us’ and came away empowered and on fire – ready to take on the world and never got friendly with the figures – hoping they would take care of themselves. And what made matters worse, we simply didn’t know how to charge!
This naivety alone proved to be the difference between those of us were able to thrive and those that nose-dived! So experience became our teacher and most of us learnt how to negotiate through trials of fire. Some burned, some frizzled and some just didn’t catch on at all.
What I learnt was that if wanted to build a 7 figure speaking and training business I better get serious about how to negotiate my fee. And it required me to hone my negotiation skills with as much passion as I had for my training skills. It didn’t come easily and I often found I was too concessional for fear of ‘losing the client’. As such, I almost lost my business till I learnt how to commercialise my conversations.
Talking money has never been an easy topic for most people. Asking for it, following up on it, or even saying it out loud has created more angst among people than anything else when it comes to business conversations.
Truth is it’s not that we don’t like to talk about money or value it is just because we were largely never taught how to handle objections or talk about value as opposed to price. However 20 years down the training line I feel I am always learn more and often put on my ‘training wheels’ to learn how to get the fee we deserve not the fee that may be offered the first time up. They are often two very different figures and it we must show the value of our work is linked to the intrinsic and
extrinsic reward people and business get as a result of our work. Here’s five (5) tips to help you negotiate your fee.
1. Confidence is Trusted – Arrogance or ego is not.
Go back to basics and learn the top techniques of negotiation and sales with an expert. Don’t go for something light and fluffy. Study different negotiation styles to understand your style and how you adapt under pressure. Then study other styles to work out how to best interact and communicate with different people.
2. Then do loads of impro work with your fellow trainers, those who you can trust to challenge you or find a coach to put you through your paces and practice how to stand in your value especially when there are price objections are concerned. Know what is on the table and what is not before you start.
3. Ensure you always have a series of conceptual agreements that you work towards in any conversation so you know your MSP (Maximum or Minimum Settlement Point) so there are no regrets. Manage your expectations and those of the client but don’t promise what you will regret later.
4. Make your value exceptionally clear and specific to the other party so price is not even on the
table as an issue. Research your client extensively and determine where their pain points so you can create a compelling case for consensus.
5. If there is a no fee agreement or it is not what you would ‘normally charge’ sometimes there are other ways to be rewarded but you must ensure you outline exactly what you want, such as: –
a) personal introductions to 3-5 key people
b) an opportunity to sell/include product to the organisation with the client to do a Direct mail out to their delegates about you with all your details
c) testimonials (including a video testimonial) directly on LinkedIn within 2 days of the presentation)
d) a booking to do a training session their next event for your full fee (confirmed in writing)
Negotiating your fee is the first step to building a 7 figure business or whatever figure you want! The second step is delivering on your promise and never negotiating with yourself or others for a second class presentation. In our brave new world, you too need to be brave in calling your fee virtually and in real time. It is worth considering what is most important to you now in terms of your time, energy and reward. Given the virtual training opportunities we are now doing, here is a chance to rewrite
your negotiation play book but always know that whatever you decide when it comes to fees, it is never at the expense of the client’s reputation, values or integrity. And for you too make sure you stand in the value you have earnt.
Ricky Nowak is a Certified Speaking Professional, Certified Human Resource Professional, Presenter for CEO Institute, Certified Marshall Goldsmith Executive Coach, Presenter for Advisory and Mentoring Singapore, Brave Feminine Leadership, Women in Business and Banking and has over 25 years in the Learning and Development Industry. She works with leading global companies and individuals helping them present, communicate and lead with authenticity and integrity both on and off the platform -virtually and in real life!
Author: Ricky Nowak www.rickynowak.com
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