My grandpa could buy anything for a quarter. It was a gift that he possessed that I was entirely in awe of. Now, granted, he bought the vast majority of his toys, tools, collectibles and other stuff at yard sales. Regardless, I don’t think he ever paid more than a quarter for anything.
The man could negotiate. And negotiate he did!
As much as I wish I inherited his negotiating gene, I tell you truthfully, I did not. At least not to his extreme. Certainly I am not afraid to negotiate. Particularly when I’m buying big ticket items. I’m all about wheeling and dealing. I just haven’t quite mastered it to the level my grandpa did. I can’t get everything for a quarter!
Have you ever had a potential client try to hire you for a voice-over and offer you an insulting rate?
Now let me ask you this, did you get insulted and walk away from the opportunity? Or did you stay at the table and try to talk it out?
There are a few things I’ve learned about clients that deliver lowball budgets.
4 Reasons You’re Seeing A Lowball Budget
1) They’re cheap. There are people out there like my grandpa who could talk his way into anything for a quarter. Then there are the people who simply expect they should never have to pay more than a quarter and that’s their bottom line. There isn’t much you can do here.
2) They’re trying to get a deal. Have you ever watched Pawn Stars? Rick’s first offer is almost always a lowball, near insulting offer. He’s a businessman and he’s trying to maximize his profit. Your clients are in business too. They may not be trying to offend you. They may just be starting low, waiting for you to go high, and hoping to meet somewhere in the middle. Negotiating 101.
3) They’re simply uneducated. More often than not, when a lowball budget gets put on the table I find that it’s because the client really doesn’t know any better. If the minimum wage is $10/hr and they need a 90 second voice-over, they really don’t think they’re being insulting when they offer $50. They think they’re being more than fair.
4) They can’t afford anymore. Many times not-for-profits, charities, and students working on school projects (to name a few) simply don’t have anymore money to offer. It doesn’t mean they may not want to offer you more. The funds just aren’t there.
So what do you do?
They key to dealing with any of these situations is to remain professional. If you get offended, act offended and become offensive, you’re going to lose out on the deal and potentially tarnish your reputation. The best approach is a calm and respectful one.
Explain to the client that you do have rates that you typically charge. If they’re uneducated this will provide them with some insight and an opportunity to make another offer. If they’re a businessman trying to find a deal they’ll now know the dollar figure you’re coming from. If they’re cheap they’ll likely just walk away and save you any further investment of time.
If the job falls into category 4, approach these situations on a case by case basis. It’s never a bad practice to lend your talents to a good cause for a lower rate. Think of it as planting good seeds!
If I simply said no to every job that came with a lowball budget, I’d lose out on a lot of work. More often than not if you’re willing to take the time to explain your rates and help them understand the value they’re getting for their investment, they’ll be willing to negotiate.
What do you think? Do you negotiate with clients or do you have hard and fast rates that aren’t up for discussion?