Freelance negotiations: preparing, strategies and outcomes | Frederik Daneels | Skillshare

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Freelance negotiations: preparing, strategies and outcomes

teacher avatar Frederik Daneels, Life learner - teacher

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (16m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. 3 pieces of the puzzle

    • 3. Meet Tao

    • 4. Negotiation preparations

    • 5. Negotiation strategies

    • 6. Negotiation outcomes

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About This Class

Every freelancer needs to become skilled at negotiations in order to land some proper opportunities and off course to earn some money. In this course, I will share with you how I deal exactly with negotiations or customer talks. 



In this class you will be learning how to prepare your talk, how to use a straightforward but highly successful strategy and how to look at the possible outcome so that you can position this as a win-win negotiation.

You don’t need to have any experience for this class, but it does help if you have a negotiation in the pipeline to prepare for this as you progress in this class. 

When you’re done with this class, you will possess the basic skills to successfully negotiate with your potential customer.

Meet Your Teacher

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Frederik Daneels

Life learner - teacher


Hello, I'm Frederik. I love learning. My goal is to achieve a bigger understanding of life. Nature is one of my greatest teachers, next to a tremendous amount of books. I hope to pass on some knowledge to other seekers of life. Teaching is by far the best method to get a deeper understanding of any kind of topic. 

As a starting freelancer, we want as much customers as possible. And once we're in that situation of having enough or even too much customers, we want our freedom back, preferably without giving up our current financial income. This is what I call The Freelance Trap. And this is where I come in... 

My business 'Beyondfreelancing' evolves around helping others to design a life and craft work in such a way that it supports that lifestyle. Unfortunate... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Every freelancer needs to become skilled at negotiations in order to land some proper opportunities and of course, to earn money. In this course, I will tell you exactly how I deal with negotiations. High and three rectangles. And I've been freelancing for more than 10 years now, and I still love every single minute of it. Besides my own freelance activities, I hope fellow freelancers going beyond the typical freelance lifestyle. I believe it's not necessary to become a workaholic in order to be a successful freelancer or entrepreneur. In this class, you will be learning how to prepare your talk, how to use a straightforward but highly successful strategy, and how to look at the possible outcome so that you can position this as a win-win negotiation. You don't need to have any experience for this class, but it does help if you already have a negotiation in the pipeline to prepare for this as you progress in this class, as a class project, we're going to prepare a talk where the potential customer, I've included a worksheet which will help you do this. It also includes an evaluation sheet after you've had a negotiation in order to keep improving your negotiation skills and tactics. When you are done with this class, you will possess the basic skills you need to have in order to successfully land your potential customer. Are you ready for this? Let's go. 2. 3 pieces of the puzzle: For any negotiation to go well, we need to learn three basic skills. The first one is the preparation. And one quote has stuck with me since the first time I heard it. Failing to prepare is preparing for failure. And I do believe that preparing a negotiation is beneficial. The second part is to use a straightforward but highly effective strategy during the talk. In this part, I will explain the most common made mistake that practically every beginning or even advanced freelancer makes while talking to the customer. And for the last part, we are going to look at the outcome and how we can adjust our perception. So there'll be turned any negotiation into a win-win for you as well as the client. And the next lesson, I'll explain how to prepare your talk with a potential customer. 3. Meet Tao: Welcome to this negotiation course, where I'm going to share the basic tactics to land some potential opportunities. Before we dive right in, I would like you to meet my dog, Tao. Tao has recently become part of our family. And as every good dock owner, we That is me and my girlfriend Julia. We often go for a walk with Him. Before we go out, we have a little negotiation about who walks the dog on the leash and who will have the honor to pick up any poo that how might leave behind. In most cases, I will try to choose, picking up the poo as it gives me the freedom to walk around without being bothered by any leash. It's what I call an easy walk. So we make a deal. And with that deal arrives in outcome. The question is, is it a good deal or a bad one that I made? And the answer is, it depends. Sometimes I'm lucky and there's a bin close by. Sometimes I'm not so lucky and they end up carrying a poo back almost the entire walk. And that is not exactly my easy walk as I have in mind. But even if I'm unlucky, does that make my negotiation bad? Of course not. I cannot control the outcome for 100% all the time. And in most cases, the outcome doesn't even say anything about my negotiation skills. And we sometimes need to take distance from the outcome in order to look at our negotiation skills themselves. So in this course, I will give you a blueprint how to tackle negotiations in order to get the maximum chance of success. But please be aware that it doesn't automatically mean that the outcome will be 100% satisfying. And the next lesson, we are going to look at the three crucial pieces of any potential negotiation. 4. Negotiation preparations: In order to start our preparation, we need to investigate our intention first. Why do we have this talk with this person or company? Asking that question leads us to our potential deal breakers. Let me explain this more in detail. Say my intention is to have an easy walk. I choose to pick up any trash, but if Yulia would ask me to carry a backpack, then I would rather choose to walk to dock with the leash. A backpack mostly involves a longer walk with lots of open space where I know that a dog will be running three anyway. So I can have my still might easy walk. But if I do have to carry a backpack no matter what, Then I'd rather not go through with it. Cancel the deal. And that's why I call this a deal breaker. And deal breakers are mostly directly related to your intentions. That might be even more than one deal breaker. In fact, if you think about your intention, you will probably find more deal breakers than you would initially think. Let me ask you following question. What was your intention during your last negotiation? Take a piece of paper and write it down, and now derive your deal breakers from that. You can use the worksheet that I've included for the class project. Here are some examples of intentions and their related deal breakers. You can pause the video to look at it more in detail. The second part of the preparation takes a little bit deeper into your own experiences. We all have had some moments where we didn't like something and it has pushed us away somehow. Or maybe you are currently in a situation whether as an employee or as a freelancer, where you would rather quit and leave. These are deal breakers shown to you that might not be related to some of your intentions made on forehand. But they do tell us something about your own values. Maybe you don't want to work for a customer who doesn't respect deadlines. That shows that you like clear structure and planning. Knowing these deal breakers is something that comes over time by thinking about previous situations. But it's important to recognize these and to less than as well. The purpose of doing this is that you are actually priming yourself. You will recognize these values, these deal breakers during your talk. And they will be like little alarm bells going off and noticing them will give you a chance to rethink about the deal on the spot itself. I will explain this more in the next lesson. But for now, here's the first part of the negotiation blueprint. So list your intentions, derive your deal breakers, and list your values. Note that by doing this, you are priming yourself, which will come in handy during the talk. 5. Negotiation strategies: Now that you have prepared your talk by knowing your potential deal breakers and your values, it's time to have the actual talk. You want to aim for a normal conversation. You definitely don't want to make it into a house negotiation. After all, it's not that you have to free up some hostages in some bank robbery. For me, it helps to think about this talk as a discovery talk. It's an opportunity to get to know a new person, a new company. And I'm always curious to see how they work. So you want to normal talk, but is there a strategy that you can use while there is? And basically there are two strategies. The first strategy is by far the most common used one. It's where the potential client is asking the questions and you are answering them. Mostly some questions are asked like, what exactly do you do? Tell me a little bit more about yourself. How do you do it? Do you have any references? What is actually happening is that the customer is trying to figure out if you are a good match and you are trying your utmost best to explain how good you are to talk then mostly ends with thank you for your time. We'll let you know something. And even though you feel good, because after all, you've talked so much about your company and you painted a really nice picture, you might end up getting disappointed not having a job, or even not hearing from that customer again. But why Why? Because the client made the judgment about you and he decided you were in the match. So that is the most used strategy for freelancers. And what they are actually doing is putting their faith in the hands of the client. Now, let's change this. The second strategy is where you are leading the talk by asking questions. You are trying to find out if you would be a fit for this company. You want to know if they allow flexible hours. You want to know if they are easy to reach in case you need information. And it turns the tables around. You are the one deciding if you want to work for this client rather than the opposite. And all you have to do for this is asked the right questions. Questions that matter for you. It's where your list of values come in. When you have asked a question, all you have to do is listen and observe. Take a sheet and list all the things that trigger you. And they will trigger you because you have primed yourself with your preparation. Your list might look something like this. Now, what do you do with it during your talk? First of all, nothing immediately. Keep on asking questions and come back to some of those points somewhere towards the end of the talk. Too often we hear something and immediately jump on it. And we want to know more, which takes us away from creating the bigger picture first. And this might lead to almost endless discussions that take away the flow of the talk. So towards the end of the talk, you can mention some of the things that you've listed, some positive ones and maybe some negative ones. Anyway, the goal is not to make a decision on the spot, because too often we make an agreement that is not totally in line with our own feelings. I've been in that spot where I made an agreement only to find out afterwards that not everything was, as I expected. Give yourself time to look for possible scenarios. The goal of this talk is to make a second and decisive appointment. It gives you time to think about possible deal breakers and maybe to turn those into opportunities. Let me tell you a story about a writer who wrote a book that was well over 1200 pages. He went to see a publisher who said the book was really good, but wait too long and nobody would ever read that. So he asked the author to rewrite it and to cut most of it. The author didn't wanna do that, and neither did he see the possibility to tell the story and less words. So he went to see another publisher and he was confronted with the same issue. The publisher didn't see a public who was going to read such an extensive story. But after some time, the second publisher got back to the author. But a remarkable solution. He asked if it would be possible to turn the book into a trilogy instead of getting one book that couldn't be sold, they now had three perfectly good books and thus tripled return on the same investment. Deal breakers are actually hidden opportunities. If only we take the time to be creative, the best way is to turn deal breakers first into roadblocks. And they might not allow us to go further, but they can show us another way. So give yourself the time to investigate in negotiations and its opportunities. By doing that, we can avoid the freelance client trap where we are stuck with a client or a job we don't actually want. And where it's difficult to let go for several reasons, such as money. We don't want to let our client though, et cetera. So here's the blueprint for the second part. Start leading the talk, discuss the things that trigger you towards the end of the talk and schedule a second, but the size of talk. In the next lesson, we'll discuss the outcome phase. 6. Negotiation outcomes: After we had our second and decisive talk, we made a decision. Sometimes that will mean that we will have said no to the client because of deal breakers that couldn't be turned into opportunities. And sometimes we will have made a deal. Now, let's investigate what happens when we decided to make a deal. There are four different scenarios that might have played out. The first one is a win-win. Everything is going according to plan where the expectations of you and those of the client are met. The second one is where the customer is happy, but you are not. And the third one is where the roles are switched, where you are happy but the client isn't. And lastly, we have the situation where nobody is satisfied. What is important to remember is that with the same negotiation, we can have four different outcomes. And you don't always control those. The outcome of a negotiation doesn't always reflect your negotiation skills. There might be some things that you couldn't have foreseen. Now, what's the solution for this? The first solution is to change your perception of the whole matter. Take a deeper look and see what you're actually focusing on. If, for example, I walk with a smelly pullback in my hands for the entire walk, and I keep focusing on that. It won't be a very pleasant walk. If however, I can change my perception of the whole matter and see that I actually got what I wanted, namely walking without an annoying lesion my hands, I might start to feel better. And I might use those positive 5s to come up with a creative solution, such as changing the walk into a loop where I would pass along the same spot, picking up the pool back on my way back. The second solution is open and transparent communication. If you're not happy or the customer or both of you, then it's up to you to talk about it. When you give feedback or allow the customer to give feedback, it opens up the way for new negotiations where certain points can be discussed and improved because communication is so important in any relationship, I always check during my discovery talks how easy it will be to get in touch with my client. When I decide to work with a client, then I must be sure that we see one another in some regular intervals where we can share feedback with one another. If that isn't possible, then that is an absolute deal breaker for me. So here's the third part of the negotiation blueprint. Understand that the outcome isn't always a direct reflection of your negotiation skills. Try to be aware on what you're focusing when looking at the outcome and try to communicate often and open with your client. Last advice from my side, know that practice makes perfect. This blueprint is a starting point to tackle your negotiations with your potential clients. The more you use this, the more you will tweak it and make it into something that is totally yours. I am confident that you will soon see some positive influences when using this. I hope you enjoyed this. I am Friedrich anneals. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or check out my website where I have some other courses that I'm happy to share with you if you like this, please also enroll for my newsletter because every month I make a new flowchart that can help you out as a freelancer. And remember to stay out of the free land strap. You don't have to become a workaholic in order to be a successful freelancer entrepreneur.