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Negotiating Freelance Writing Rates on the Phone

Many members of my freelance writing course have expressed how difficult it is for them to successfully negotiate a fair rate. To take this a step further, negotiating freelance writing rates on the phone can be much more difficult than doing so via email. After all, you never know what the other person is going to say and you must be able to think on your feet.

When it comes to negotiating rates on the phone, these three tips should help:

1. Prepare yourself to negotiate. If you have a call setup with a potential client, you should assume that a rate negotiation session is going to take place. It is very important that you are prepared for any questions that come up, and that you have all of the proper information in front of you. Being prepared is the best way to calm your nerves, and to hopefully give you the confidence that you need to negotiate with success.

2. Know why you are worth it. You may have to back up your rate quote with benefits of your service. In other words, how are you going to justify your rates? You may not want to do this, but in many cases the buyer will more or less ask why they should hire you if your rates are higher than the competition. If you are prepared you will not have any problem answering this concern, as well as any follow-up questions that may come into play.

3. Set a minimum in your mind and then stick to your guns. For example, you may head into a conversation knowing that you want to receive $.25/word for the project that you will be discussing. While there is nothing wrong with this, you need to know how low you will go if the client does not accept your initial proposal. Will you work at $.15/word? How about $.10? Some freelance writers never negotiate. They know what they are worth, and they feel that negotiating shows that their initial offer was never solid. This is not the way I operate. While I hope that every client accepts my first offer, I am open to negotiating to a certain degree.

4. Don’t be afraid to say, “I will get back to you.” It can be difficult to quote a price on a project if you are put on the spot. Imagine being unprepared for a conversation and a client asking for a quote on a 2,000 word feature with three interviews due by next week. This is a lot of information to take in. Instead of rushing and quoting the first number that comes to your head, tell the buyer that you will get back to them within the hour with a solid price. This will give you time to break down the project so you can supply an accurate, fair quote. 

As a freelance writer, negotiating rates on the phone can be a difficult task. But over time, with the help of the four tips above, you will become comfortable doing so.

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4 Comments »Freelance WritingOctober 6th, 2008

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