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Contract negotiation strategies for freelancers

contract negotiation strategiesContract negotiation strategies

Negotiation is like an art gone astray as not many people have stellar enough negotiation strategies to close great deals. We often see a price and we choose to pay it no questions asked. Why are we so scared to ask for more? There are so many good tactics to improve negotiation skills that it’s impossible to expect failure every single time. Driving a good bargain requires methodology and advanced planning, so with a bit of determination you can succeed as well.

Every good leader should have great negotiation skills. We’re dealing with negotiations in every moment of our lives. Starting from early morning when argue whose time is to make breakfast until late at night when it’s time to take the dog out for a walk, we’ve finally understood that everything’s negotiable. As far as the business field is concerned, we’re often afraid to ask for more because we fear rejection. How can you know you’ll be rejected if you haven’t even tried to ask?

Preparation, preparation, preparation

Preparation is known to be the greatest skills and most important strategy tools to have in a negotiation. Know your objectives and try to identify the goals of your counterparts. The best way to be one step ahead of your competition is to research as much as you can. Get to know your competition as the palm of your hand, and you’ll have great winning chances.


Decide what should be negotiated

Prior to starting a negotiation, make up a list of aspects that need to be taken into consideration. Establish your goals and decide what compromises you’re willing to make. These aspects should include payment terms, delivery or volume dates, and price. The main idea is to identify the best possible outcome but try to keep it real. Making concessions should be your last resort; sometimes, a win-win deal may be required but don’t count on it.


Plan your strategy

Your strategy should be planned in writing, and you should think of what approach you’re willing to adopt before the starting the negotiation. Express idea clearly, set goals and establish a limit that you’re not willing to cross. Defend your weaknesses emphasizing on your strengths and don’t allow your partners get under your skin. Famous author of “365 Ways to Become a Millionaire” Brian Koslow says that during a business negotiation, you shouldn’t take anything personal. Stay focused on your objectives and you’ll see opportunities more clearly. Your strategy should be well-planned in order to be efficient, so under no circumstances you should involve personal feelings into something that’s strictly business-related.


Choose the best team

Do you agree with famous quote “Negotiation is getting the best out of your opponent”? The statement speaks for itself and it goes without saying that skilled negotiators can tear apart their competition. Behind every competent business individual is a power team willing to go to extreme lengths to attain excellent results. As long as you involve them in your every decision, the negotiation process becomes a lot easier.


Don’t compromise if you don’t have to

Don’t make concessions if your counterparts don’t seem willing to respond in the same way. Compromises should only be made if they help you obtain valuable things. You are recommended to avoid looking too eager to close a deal because your counterparts will definitely take advantage of your determination. Concessions are not always necessary during negotiations. However, they often appear unappreciated. A lot of people are looking at negotiations as a matter of give ‘n take. Still, sometimes you may be required to compromise in order to get compromises in return.


Know your competition’s contract negotiation strategies

While it’s impossible to guess your competition’s next move, you can at least be prepared. If your counterpart keeps mentioning a deadline or a person that needs to be consulted, you should be careful. Don’t be fooled and never allow others to talk you into making rushed decisions or useless compromises. Every time you agree upon a certain aspect, write it down and make sure it’s clearly stated.

Are you a thriving negotiator? Do you want to achieve success without turning to black-hat negotiation strategies? Find a strategy! Whether you choose to ask for advice from professionals or do everything by yourself, the goal is to win. One last tip: watch Stephen Spielberg’s Lincoln, one of the most gripping and enticing movies I’ve ever seen in a long time.

Photo credit: Roberto_Ventre via photopin cc

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About GregDillon

Greg is the founder of strategy consultancy GD | Inspires and spends his days strategising for various design agencies and clients around the world - see more at He is also a prolific entrepreneur having launched - a website aimed at giving advice and insight to new, existing and veteran freelancers as well as commenting on all things strategic. Feel free to email him at: or follow on Twitter @StratTalking

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