Imagine a fox, used to simple world order – hide from bigger animals, but chase anything smaller than you. But one day, a rabbit refuses to run and calmly punches it in the nose instead.
Can you picture the expression on that fox’s face at that moment?
Many clients are used to playing the “fox” in the negotiations – using their company size to squeeze smaller players into bad deals. Fortunately for them, many independent experts fall for it and act like they are talking to a boss who controls 100% of their pay, instead of a client who realistically provides 5-10% of their yearly income.
You can “punch them” by not playing the role they expect:
- you are not here to pitch to them
- you are not here to “pay the bills”
- you are not here to take their order
You are here to see if there is a good fit between what you know and what they truly need. If there is, great. If not, also good to know.
When you do turn the tables on them, don’t be surprised if the look on their faces matches the look on that imaginary fox. And when you see it, be firm but kind while you start building your new, more equal relationship from the wreckage of the initial one.
Pro tip: talking to clients is best done in person/on camera, as opposed to through email. Otherwise, you might miss your first “stunned fox” look on a client’s face, and that would be a real shame.