I'll start by letting you in on something I've never really shared publicly (not even in my private emails where I discuss my personal life very often)
So about 3 years ago in June 2019...
I was seated across the table from a new client of mine who had just agreed to a 10% royalty for all digital campaigns we worked on
It was a Wednesday morning and the legal document were on the table
I think he was holding a black ballpoint pen and just as he about to sign his column of the contract...
He said he had changed his mind.
"I'm calling the deal off, I don't see why I should pay this much in monthly retainers when you're already getting a 10% royalty from this deal"
Now, if you're familiar with how royalties work in this thing of ours
You already know 10% from a client is very generous
It could be more in JVs where you have a stake in the biz — say 30% to 50% or even more in some cases — but with clients, 3% if often considered generous talk more of 10%
Anyway there I was...
Upon my very eyes a huge deal was about to slip away if I didn't address that objection head-on
Now, the ideal thing would've been to simply say:
"Okay no problem, let's remove the monthly retainers... and just stick with the royalties only"
But I liked the deal the way it was,
And I felt like I had a solid argument to protect the sanctity of that deal without a single penny removed
And here's how I went about it:
First, I acknowledged his concerns
Like, I understand why you've come to this conclusion
And it's okay if you want to call off the deal,
But (beginning of objection breaker)....
Have you considered the fact that you won't even be paying these monthly retainers out of your pocket after the first month?
The only thing you're paying out of your pocket is the first monthly retainer
Which is not a lot of money for a man in your position (notice the use of ego?)
Afterwhich, everyother payment (retainers and royalties) — comes from the proceeds of my work with you.
Plus, you're keeping a fat 90%
I'm doing 90% of the work and only 10% comes to me in royalties
You strike me as a very clever businessman
And when you think about it
You'll see these payments are an insignificant fraction of the huge returns for you on the projects I will be working on
And one last thing I forgot to mention earlier
I wanted to point out that...
At some point I wondered if I was making any sense at all
Because he was quiet and had a blank facial expression the whole time I was "defending the structure of the deal"...
But almost in a flash, I noticed a smile of approval
And that's when I knew I had overcome a major objection
Almost as if he had heard what he wanted to hear
And a few minutes later he said he actually knew my points were valid (And had thought about them himself...)
But that — he just wanted me to "verbally" (in my own words) — defend all that money I was going to be making working with him
And that if I hadn't come through with a "good enough" defense
He would have called off the deal or simply offered me something less
And if I had said No,
That would have been it.
You know , when it comes to closing deals...
You have to understand:
There's 2 category of objections you gotta be able to deal with head on
Major objections and minor objections (M & M)
Major objections can cost you a deal even in the last minute...
And they often include (but are not limited to) things like:
Your fees (how much money is leaving the other person's pocket?)
Your track record and social proof (do they match your fees?)
The strength of your primary promise (how compelling is it? — and does it match your track record, portfolio and social proof?)
Upfront percentages (How much are you asking for upfront?)
KPIs — Key Performance Index (How are you telling them they can measure the performance of your work? — what can they use to hold you accountable?)
And so on....
Any one of these objections (if not properly addressed during your discovery calls or physical meetings) —— can keep you from closing big deals.
And then, there's minor objections too
Which may include things like work schedule (remote or in-house?)
A good example is how a lot of start-up CEOs believe that:
It helps if their marketer or copywriter can be physically present in the office from time to time so they can
1: Be fully immersed in the biz so you have a very clear understanding of how everything works ...
2: And be on ground to make practical suggestions on the go — when there's a sudden need to make adjustments or tweaks to promotional campaigns or business growth strategies... (based on the target market's response)
I say it's minor because once the money part (often the most critical piece of most negotiations) ... has been settled...
This is something both parties probably won't have a hard time making a compromise on.
Okay fine, you need my physical presence and I'm okay with that
But is it okay if I come in just 3 times a week and a minimum of 2 hours a day for the first month?
Instead of coming everyday as I'm more of a remote person?
"Hmmmmn, alright.... 3 times a week is fine, but can we make it 4 hours instead of 2 .... as there's a lot we'll be needing you for when you come in?"
Done, you garrit — anything else you want us to look at before we sign?
And so on
What I'll suggest is to focus more on the major objections
And that's anything that could make a client feel like:
They're paying too much, or that they can't trust you or that you won't be able to deliver the kind of results (desired outcome) they seek
You can have a list called "Major Objections (M.O)"
Then beside each objection,
Think of how best you can (.... pay attention here)...
Not try to "argue your way" into making the client see they're wrong about a concern they have...
But how you can present "logical facts" that lead them into drawing their own conclusions that:
"Although you might be a bit more expensive that the other options available to them...It's a still a hell of a bargain especially considering your track record and the potential ROI when you apply your "trade secrets" to their biz"
Hope this helps?
I hope it does
Because one of the things keeping freelancers and agencies from landing bigger clients (foreign and local) is the inability to "overcome objections"
Sure, you can get a client to reply your pitch (Attention)
Heck, you can even get them on a discovery call (Interest and Desire)
And that's a lot of progress...
But that's just one piece of the puzzle
The critical piece (Action Triggers)—knowing what to say, and how to say it:
To close the deal and secure the bag — and without any casualties:
...is often where the magic happens in this thing of ours.
Having said that:
If you need help landing better-paying clients as a freelancer or as an agency owner...
You might be a good fit for the June batch of my FCI program
It's a training that's helped 100s of freelancers and agency owners earn bigger fees (mostly in Dollars) —working with tier-1 clients from 1st-world economies
The testimonials have been nothing short of amazing
And if you'd like to check out if the program is right for you
It's all here for you to see: The FCI — Batch of June