Tag Archives: Negotiation

“Wala na bang ibababa yan?”

This post is about a negotiation technique I call “Dig Deeper”. You can learn more about this technique and my other negotiation techniques from a video recording of one of my recent talks. Get it here: http://www.negotiationtoolkit.com/camp/

I recently had a negotiation experience regarding my speaking fees. After we thoroughly discussed the details of the talk - the estimated total time, the covered topics, how the materials will be used - I gave the organizer my rate. Here’s how he responded:

“Wala na bang ibababa yan?”

Now, think of that for a few seconds. “Wala na bang ibababa yan?” If a client asked you that after you gave them your rate, how would you respond?

Here’s how passive freelancers might do it:

  • They’ll answer the question directly. Either “Yes” or “No”. They might say “Wala na po, yan po talaga yung price.” or they might say “Sige po,” then give a lower rate.
  • They’ll get defensive. Some might take it a step further and get defensive. “Do you know how hard it is to do this? I spend weeks writing and rehearsing my talks, mura na nga yang rate na yan compared to the amount of work I put in…” etc. etc. talak-talak.

How do you think strategic freelancers approach this?

What they’d do in this situation is take a deep breath. Then, they approach this the strategic way. They don’t take the question at face value. Instead, they dig deeper and ask themselves, “Bakit niya ako tinatanong kung wala na bang ibababa yung rate ko?”

And when they dig deeper, they’ll see:

  • It might just be standard practice for the other party to negotiate. Do you have friends or relatives who always negotiate at the tiangge or palengke? It’s just a habit for them to try and get a better deal. No disrespect to the seller.
  • They just want to make sure their deal is sulit. If you’re going to pay a lot of money for something, odds are you want to be sure that the cost is worth it.

For a strategic freelancer, it’s not about answering the question. It’s about understanding the possible motivations behind the question.

With that said, how did I respond to “Wala na bang ibababa yan?”

I acknowledged that the organizer might just be one of those people who negotiate out of habit, or that he might just need a reminder that the cost of my fees are worth it. So here’s what happened:

Organizer: Wala na bang ibababa yan?

Me: Well, it’s my best material, at saka you do have a license to use the materials for your next events. (smiles)

Organizer: Ok. The price is not an issue.

The end. See? Where passive freelancers might have just plainly answered the question, lowered the rate, or gotten defensive, I addressed the motivations that were going on in the background by 1) not answering the question at face value and 2) reminding the organizer about what they were getting in return for their money.

Plus, I was friendly and polite. Not aggressive or argumentative at all.

So the next time a client tries to negotiate your rate down by asking questions like:

  • “I’m on a budget, can you reduce that rate a bit?”
  • “Why is your pricing higher than most? I’ve seen people charge much lower for this.”
  • “Why are you charging this much when this job is easy? I could do it in 15 minutes.”

Rather than answering the question at face value, dig deeper. Why are they asking you that? What hidden assumptions or beliefs do they have that causes them to ask you that question? How can you address their concerns in a way that makes them more than happy to pay you at your standard rate?

It’s your turn: Keeping the above pointers in mind, how would you answer any of the following negotiation questions in a strategic way?

  • “I’m on a budget, can you reduce that rate a bit?”
  • “Why is your pricing higher than most? I’ve seen people charge much lower for this.”
  • “Why are you charging this much when this job is easy? I could do it in 15 minutes.”

Go ahead and share your answers in the comments.