A little while back, I was returning from [yet another] unpaid interstate speaking gig [you’ll know that this is very on brand for me] and I was having a bit of a chat with my Uber Driver [yep, got a chatty one] about my inability to negotiate a fair price for my work before jumping in and saying yes.
He responded with.. ‘inability, or unwillingness?’
Long story short? He recommended a book, which I read.
Effectively? It’s written by a retired FBI hostage negotiator, and *so* much of the content was applicable to TDP [and small business ownership in general].
My two key takeaways?
We compromise because it’s safe.
No matter how we dress up negotiation, ultimately? We’re driven by emotion. Fear, desire, excitement, empathy. Meeting someone in the middle [or indeed, a little on their side of the line] is intuitive, because as an empath? My heart wants to make sure that any other person in an exchange is comfortable, [forever, amen] even if that means a compromise at my end.
Saying yes to things, appeasing people, and giving my skills away for free felt natural to me, like I had to prove my generosity to underline my worth as a person.
But truly? The more I realise that who I *actually* am as a person is a really good boss. A skilled, experienced professional. A present, dedicated mother. An empath, yes. Generous, but no pushover. And by compromising on price and not valuing those skills and experience appropriately? I was moving further away from my values and the type of boss, creative, partner and mother I wanted to be. Valuing my skills? Drives profit. Profit? Drives creativity. Creativity, for creatives? Drives happiness.
By placing appropriate value on my experience [and the skills and experience of my freakin’ AWESOME team], we attract clients who are the *best* possible fit, and for whom we can deliver our best work. The upshot? Creative fulfilment. Profitability. Client satisfaction. Le sigh.
Employ tactical empathy.
Empathy? Putting yourself in somebody else’s shoes, and seeing things from their perspective. Tactical empathy? Identifies the reasons behind that perspective, to give you points to negotiate against. By placing a handbrake on the empathy train, and understanding how your skills can contribute to them reaching their goals? You can hero your skills and state your case for charging your worth. Geddit, girrrl [or boyyy]
TDP is still a baby business, and some days? I still feel like I’m *very much* in the learning phase, but I know that if I trust my gut, and back my team and their unique skills, incredible brains, and capacity for collaboration? I don’t ever need to move on price again.
The book is called ‘Never split the difference: Negotiating as if your life depended on it’ by Chris Voss