Are You A Line Item Or Value Add?

apples and orangesYesterday I talked to a prospective client who had done some price comparisons. I understand this, if I am going to spend any chunk of change I like to do a little research myself, compare prices, offerings and value.

Key word there: value.

When he came back to me and asked if I would lower my price to meet the price of someone else I politely declined. In a nutshell I explained that I can not lower my price to meet others because they do not raise their value to meet mine.

We started work last night.

I recognize the value that I offer my clients, not in a cocky or arrogant way, rather a confident manner based upon my the work I have done for clients and continue to do. I know my value and I know I am not a line item.

I am not a widget.

When getting to the negotiation phase of the job searching process do not begin until you have a very clear idea of your value. What do you offer the company, what results can you support you, what are your strengths and how do they meet the needs of you future employer?

Know the market, what is expected, what is available and what is offered. Combined with knowing your value these are important aspects of your negotiation tactics.

If an organization merely attempts to hire you at the lowest price possible without taking into consideration the value you have to offer it is a pretty clear indication that they do not value you. This should be a factor you take in considering their offer. If this is the beginning of the relationship, where can it go from here?

I run the risk of loosing prospective clients because of pricing, I understand that. I have some clients tell me I do not charge enough for what I do for them, I appreciate that. I have some “competitors” that will “undersell” me or use various not-so-nice tactics to try to engage a client, I shake my head at that.

Because I know my value.

Just in any relationship in which you enter, whether it be a new job, existing employment or personal relationship each party has value. It is important to recognize not only what the other party brings to the table for you, but what you can do for them.

It should never be a one-sided give and no take. Compromise, consistency, growth, opportunity, give-and-take, shared responsibility in maintaining a positive balance is the responsibility of both parties.

If you enter or find yourself already in a relationship in which the other party seems to always take and you feel no reciprocity then you should ask yourself – why am I here? Sometimes it is all about the money. If you are getting paid really well to do what you do while working like a dog but money is your biggest motivator then it is a beneficial relationship. You went in with your eyes open knowing what you would have to give (blood, sweat and tears) in order to get what you most need (lots of money).

Know your value and what you need from the relationship. Be very clear on both and this puts you on solid negotiation terms. If the prospective employer cannot meet your needs and respect your value then it is your choice at that time – is this the best temporary move for you or can you walk away knowing it is not the right move for you.

When you are clear on your value and your needs you will be clear on your answer.

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

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