Learning to deal with price pressure and the tactics used by professional negotiators is critical when clients are putting more and more emphasis on cost control and giving increased power to their purchasing agents. Here's how I help my clients cope and a few tips.
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In late 2011 Charles Wiggins and I developed and gave a seminar on Negotiations for one of my Midwest clients. It took a full Friday and half of the following Saturday. The relentless price pressure that all my clients find themselves facing inspired the seminar. This seems to be especially true of creative firms that work primarily with the giant CPGs.
There is no question that the current economy is having a dampening effect, but most design firms are small and maneuverable and by turning their creative energies inward can redesign their offer to benefit clients who are also having a rough time. This is an opportunity to build something newer, leaner and more relevant to our changing world.
It's a great business, respected in its category and suddenly your best client announces that all projects over $100k will go through an RFP process requiring six bidders. Now you're facing serious competitors, and a shortage of work. Worse, projects you do win are far less profitable.