The Catch 22 PloyThese particular client ploys fall into the "Catch 22" category. You know, the ones where they say:
- "If you do this for $$$$ (always less), I see a bright future for our relationship because I have a lot of business I can throw your way."
- "Do you know who'll be at this event? It can mean a lot of future business for you."
The SolutionSo, draw your line in the sand politely and firmly. Recently, I heard both of those lines from a client who happened to be a performer. So I asked him nicely, "When a producer asked you to perform on stage for scale (minimum) and promised you that when he opened his next show on Broadway you'd be the lead if you acquiesced this one time, did it ever happen?" He replied, "No," which then gave me the invitation to offer the following: "I evaluate every project individually and cost it fairly, not based on the past or promises of the future which may or may not happen." I also pointed out that my most long-term clients never dangle a carrot in front of me. Instead they valued what I did for them as being fair and being delivered the best it could be; and then hired me again for just those reasons.
I am sure you can come up with responses based upon who your client is. I always find it advisable to know their industry so completely that I can draw upon analogies or "stories" that are convincing and believable. The point is I won't give in and neither should you.
Many years ago I started using the justification that events were challenging. It's not a matter of what could go wrong; something almost always goes wrong. BUT it's what you do when it does that defines the level of professionalism clients need in an event agency. In other words, "Who do you want to be in the trenches with?"
So, once again, you are worth what you are asking and don't need to cave when challenged about your pricing. And please don't talk yourself into a corner. If someone tries to cost you out of a well-deserved project, just keep quiet and say NOTHING. You will win that way. It's the old used car salesman trick, but it's a valid tip. He (or she) who holds their tongue also holds the power.
Be powerful. Good luck!
Andrea Michaels is the founder and president of Extraordinary Events, an international meeting and event planning and production firm. Learn more about Extraordinary Events via www.extraordinaryevents.netwww.extraordinaryevents.net. You may reach Andrea via firstname.lastname@example.org Check out her book, Reflections of a Successful Wallflower –Lessons in Business; Lessons in Life, that has been praised as the “Bible” of the event industry.