I’m just going to come out and say it. I DO. NOT. NEGOTIATE.
I know what you’re thinking… easy for me to say! Right?
At this point in my career, I’ve been in business for over 10 years, but guess what? When I started, I started from SCRATCH. I knew no one. I new NOTHING about flowers (literally NOTHING except that they are beautiful and some smell good)!
I can relate to every. single. struggle. you are going through. I have been through all the lows, the highs and the terrible mistakes!
You got into this particular business because we want to do something that you LOVE and you want to connect with others and create art that makes people (and yourself) feel happy, fulfilled and loved. So here I am, baring my soul to y’all every day (well, I try to every day) on social media, on my blog and on my private Facebook group, The Blush Method Community.
I felt I had to say all of that prior to proceeding, just so you know this isn’t going to be one of those “its easy, now go do it” type of posts… because it isn’t easy.
Our job is NOT an easy one and anyone who says it is or makes it seem like it is is quite frankly, a liar (aggressive, I know… but its true and I don’t sugar coat things!).
Our job is certainly a fulfilling and fun one at times, but I would never describe it as easy. We are designers, artists, accountants, problem solvers, physicists, therapists, jugglers, leaders and so much more. But today… I want to drill something home that I think is one of THE MOST IMPORTANT things you will learn as a creative business owner. Ready?……
You are 100% in charge of how your clients (and potential clients) perceives your services/brand and how they treat you.
The first step to forming good relationships with your clients and BOOKING THE RIGHT CLIENTS is to NEVER ever ever ever negotiate. I can’t stress this enough!
Now… I said I do not DO it, I never said I haven’t DONE it in the past. When I first started, you bet-your-bottom-dollar I did, I did whatever it took to make the sale! At first, I was pleased any time I booked a client for any reason. It was only when I began realizing that I was booking the wrong clients and that I was feeling overwhelmed by my work load and by the way some of them treated me that I realized a change must happen. I got really serious about learning how to be the best, most successful business owner I could be, and here I am! Still learning… but a heck of a lot wiser than I was a decade ago.
Let’s get to the meat of this issue… WHY should you never negotiate?
Well… I could go on and on about how to find the right client, but when a client books you it always comes down to one thing… their WHY. The right client’s why aligns with your why (I promise to dive way deeper into this at a later time). The wrong client books you simply because you were the cheapest option… the wrong client’s WHY is price/cost. When you book a “price-centered” client, they don’t care about you, your feelings, the quality of your work… they are only focusing on the dollars and cents, so don’t be surprised when they are rude to you or when they disrespect you and your work.
I promise you this; If you negotiate with a client (or with a coordinator that could work with you many times in the future), they will treat you as though you and your services are worth discounting, they will be nervous and they will ultimately trust you less and respect you and your work less.
Even though the client may feel a momentary feeling of *#winning*, they will begin to feel nervous in your abilities once they marinate on your services a bit more. They may also feel you are charging too much in the first place because they won’t truly understand how you are able to discount your pricing and how it will effect the outcome or the end result. Psychologically speaking, if you are able to negotiate (or reduce your prices) how can they feel that they will trust the outcome?… that it will be the same as before you discounted it?
By negotiating, you are putting yourself at risk for detrimentally hurting your brand long term by becoming known as a discount florist (so icky… same amount of work but being paid less and being respected less).
Negotiating is like murder. Once you do it the first time, you have opened the floodgates to doing it again and again. In addition, you will continuously get squeezed for discounts in the future.
People talk, I don’t know about you but I get most of my work via referrals from past brides. I want my clients to refer me by saying “they are great to work with and their work is beautiful, you should call them” rather than, “They gave me a discount”.
But what if you really want to sign them and they just need you to budge a bit? Let me tell you about another tactic that works…
If you feel the client truly won’t sign unless you sweeten the deal, you can offer a free add-on or you can reduce their order so that they are within budget. These two methods work and don’t cause you to undervalue yourself.
Anyway… this has become lengthy and I know your time is valuable. Go out there and be AWESOME today!
I say this time and time again but I mean it, reach out if you are feelings lost or overwhelmed. The best way is via our Facebook group. I know there isn’t too much movement there now, but I am going to be ramping it up shortly and do check periodically! Ask questions, interact! I am here to help!