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Freelancing and consulting: What objections are you hearing?

When I read or listen to advice on how to answer objections, I get sort of nervous. It sounds so challenging. So intimidating.

What should I say? What if I mess it up? Aaack!

So let’s see . . . What objections am I actually hearing?

In truth, I seldom hear an objection.

That doesn’t mean I sell my services on every single call I make. Most people I call don’t answer. A few say no, they don’t use freelancers and aren’t interested in learning more about my services.

Then there are the objections that I don’t get the opportunity to address. Sometimes I submit a proposal and writing samples but I’m not selected for the assignment. If they share the reason with me later on, it’s typically that my writing samples are not as relevant to the work at hand as someone else’s. Maybe they are looking for someone with a more narrow specialty than mine or someone who writes longer or writes shorter. It’s something that I can’t compete on, at least not in the near term. So I let it go and go on to something else.

There’s only one objection that I hear from time to time that tempts a retort: Your price is too high. I have someone who is less expensive.

Here are some alternative ways to respond

What rate have you been paying?

If the difference is small, I suppose I could sell my benefits. However, in practice, I don’t hear this objection.

Sometimes the difference is huge. Their writer may live in a lower-cost-of-living country or they may have found a writer on a website that is geared to ultra-low-cost services.

These are the prospects that I consider to be lost causes. Nothing to lose because I won’t win them over.

So if I’m in the mood to keep the conversation going, I’ll ask, “How’s that working out for you? Are you happy with their services?”

Then I listen.

If they’re honest, they’ll typically say that they have to do a lot of proofreading and revising so it’s substantial work on their end.

A nifty line of conversation may include me asking, “What is your time worth?” If their time is valuable, it would make sense to hire someone like me, who offers a higher level of quality and as many redo’s as necessary till they are satisfied. They will save time and cut down on their frustration, and since their time is their money, it makes sense.

If they are on a tight budget, they should stick with what they have.

Some freelancers get really upset when engaged in this kind of discussion. They feel disrespected.

However, it doesn’t bother me. They have the right to look for whatever quality vs. cost equation they desire.

It’s just money. It’s not an attack on me personally.

So let’s let it go.

Here is a comparable situation. You’re sightseeing at an expensive clothing store. Perhaps you’re looking at jeans with fashionable holes in the knees that cost $200 at Nordstrom or a simple white blouse to go with a suit for $300 at Neiman Marcus.

No way, you think. You make a mental note to tell a friend the crazy things you saw when shopping and keep going through the racks.

Then a salesperson approaches.

Normally you wouldn’t say anything, but this time you comment on the absurd price.

Does the associate suffer from hurt feelings?

No.

Is she angry?

Again, nope.

Does she tell you off indignantly and order you off the premises?

No. She doesn’t care. Maybe you’ve seen something else you may return later to buy. Maybe you’ve seen nothing of interest but you may be back in two months to buy a dress to wear to a wedding. She has no reason to offend you and make certain you will never return to the store again.

Whatever.

That’s how it is to us. When the difference is huge, there’s nothing to get all worked up about.

If the difference is slight, there’s room for negotiation.

I may offer a lower rate if the prospect will pay the entire fee today on Paypal. This works out fine. I get the money so I am certain I will get paid with no problems. And the lower rate works out fine because an action-oriented client who has the authority to pay on the spot is usually a dream to work with.

Originally posted 5-26-14

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