How to Negotiate the Best Contracts as a Freelancer
Many become freelancers to break free from the soul-crushing doldrums of traditional employment. However, this path is not for the faint of heart. There’s a lot more to being your own boss than just setting your own schedule. For one, you’re responsible for negotiating your own contracts.
Contract negotiation can be a tricky and daunting process. Here’s the good news – it’s a learnable skill, and once you have the hang of it, it can feel like a breeze. This article shares some great contract negotiation training tips you can use to come out on top every time.
Know your objectives and priorities
Your contract forms the basis of your entire working relationship. So, think hard about objectives and priorities. For example, what are your long-term goals for this project? What are your bottom-line terms and conditions? Remember to build some wiggle room into your demands. This will give you some negotiating power when the other side counters.
Also, chew over what the client’s objectives and priorities might be. What are their potential sticking points? Answering these questions can give you a big advantage when the time comes to hash out the details. When discussions begin, be clear when you state what you want. Don’t mumble your words or beat around the bush.
Take your time
As a freelancer, landing a job can be exhilarating. It’s easy to get swirled up in the moment and agree to a contract before fully reading and understanding it. However, this can be a costly mistake. In your haste, you may miss key details or agree to sketchy terms.
Take your time when reviewing a potential contract. This is not the time to skim. You want to understand every single clause and what it could mean for you. After all, your livelihood is at stake. So, ask for a day or two to mull it over before signing.
Use the power of silence
Silence can be golden, say contract negotiation trainers. If you insist on droning on, you could end up saying something you’ll regret later. Or, inadvertently, provide information that the other person could use against you.
Let the other person do most of the talking. By letting them explain their position, you can glean important insights that will help you in the negotiation process. You might also find out what their real priorities are.
Keep your cool
In the heat of negotiation, it’s easy to let emotions take over. However, losing your cool can make you look unprofessional. It could also weaken your position. So, try hard not to take things personally or get riled up.
If the discussion heats up, take a step back and a deep breath. It might also be helpful to walk away for a few minutes to allow tempers to cool down. This can help you clear your head and refocus on the task at hand.
Training yourself to be a great contract negotiator takes time and practice. But if you follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to success.