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this week's Marketing
Should You Always Negotiate Fees?
Ilise Benun, a smart marketer I respect, argued at a recent
conference that you should always arrive at a project fee
In her view, clients expect the fee to involve negotiation.
More importantly, what the buyer and the seller agree on
through negotiation is by definition a fair price, she says.
Although I appreciate the logic of this perspective, it
didn't sit right with me. Both in my business and apart
from it, I dislike gamesmanship. When I quote a fee for a
custom project and the client says yes, I am happy. For me, it gets our relationship going positively.
If the client responds by bargaining in the spirit of
getting a better deal, I stand firm. If they accept my
proposal at that point, I'm still happy. But if they
continue to push, I don't want to work with them.
By not quoting high then negotiating, I may be earning less
than I could. So what? I prefer a smooth relationship
without conflict. And in my mind, whatever both sides agree
to without negotiation is also a fair price.
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