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How to Close the Deal

Lesson 40 from: Command the Fees You Deserve

Ilise Benun

How to Close the Deal

Lesson 40 from: Command the Fees You Deserve

Ilise Benun

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Lesson Info

40. How to Close the Deal

Next Lesson: Negotiating Tips


Class Trailer

Day 1


Class Introduction


The Big Ideas: Your Mindset


Deciding Your Goals


Do You Have What It Takes?


Overview of the Top 5 Marketing Tools


Tool #1: Your Elevator Pitch


Tool #2: Effective Networking


Lesson Info

How to Close the Deal

Listen, thirty seven is how to close the deal, so here we want to apply the four same criteria to yourself, so here's, how that works in order to close the deal, think first about your own mindset. In other words, don't be cocky and don't count your chickens before they're hatched, because I do see a lot of people essentially thinking that whether it's because they were excited or because they had a good conversation with the prospect, assuming that it's goingto happen, and therefore being very disappointed with if something falls apart, if something changes and they don't actually get the job, so to close the deal, you want to make sure that you're not approaching it from an arrogant perspective, and that does happen sometimes. Yes, justin, what do you think you're optimistic language, like kind of using language that kind of implies that this is gonna happen and, like, what are your thoughts around that? Because that you have to be careful with that because you don't want to be presu...

mptuous, right? But you do want to be optimistic, and so you can speak as if you are all in, even if they may not be all in yet can you think of a specific example? Uh, I can't think of something right now, but just I somehow like, too. Like just show that optimism and instead of like maybe if you know like more like just kind of affirmative language but it's always kind of like a lyons I don't care what you think I'm here if you need me you know all sorts of things that yes, I think that positive reinforcement is really important all right, so the next criteria is the pricing so you make it clear that you are ready to negotiate if necessary we talked a little bit about this earlier right but you keep your desperation out of it and you don't volunteer any discounts I do see people sometimes when there's silence or when even in a conversation the client starts to kind of hem and haw and maybe change the scope a little bit without being asked volunteering discounts you don't want to volunteer any discounts unless they ask alright that's very important in terms of closing the deal four is timing you want to give them a deadline to nudge them toward a decision so here we're not uh we're not pushing we're not giving ultimatums but we're creating some urgency so I have some language that will help you you can say something like we only have one slot left in our project calendar this month and I'd be happy to hold it for you if you can let me know by friday anyone ever used this type of language I know you do what I do usually is like when I'm having thie initiation meeting I usually ask him what's the deadline for the project and I remind them that in order to for us to achieve that deadline date, we need to get started at a certain point I find that to be a bit effective that is effective because again they don't know your process and they don't know how much time you need to do what needs to be done and so you're kind of framing it it's not about me I need you to hurry it's about if you want to achieve the goals that you set forth and want me to help you here's the deadline that you said you were you were needing to work against and I think that's a good technique another variation on this is we can hold time for you in our production schedule if you sign the contract before the end of the month but next month is looking very busy so you know you're not giving them an ultimatum again you're just saying things are getting busy you're kind of using that scarcity strategy against the psychological psychology of pricing and saying we don't know what's gonna happen next month so if you'd like to get started here's what I suggest you do that can work if they're not ready there's nothing that's going to work, you can't close them if they're not ready I do have one client, however. Uh, who I want to share his actual language. He says no pressure, but december is booked in january and february will close shortly. So if you need me, we need to reserve the time for you. Now. Now he is someone who is in very high demand. He's not kidding when he says january and february is booked and there won't be much time, so we need to book it now. And sometimes people say, sorry, we're not ready and sometimes people do say, okay, let's, pay the deposit on. I think that this is a really important technique to try, because if you want to be able to book your projects in advance, this will help you. And obviously, one of the ways you get that pipeline filled is through your marketing so that you are in a position to say, you know what? Things are getting very busy. I'm not going to be able to have time for this unless you make your decision soon. All right, I have one more criteria and then let's hear what people are saying about these ideas because I know they might be controversial, especially this idea of creating urgency in the chat room so let's come right back to that so again, applying the same four criteria one of the fourth one in relation to influence. So you continue to exert your own influence and remember that the ball is always in your court when I say that, what I mean is, even if you are waiting for people to get back to you, even if they said we're going to make a decision by this time the ball is always in your court, you're not in a passive position, you're in an active position, which means you're going to say, ok, I know they say said by next friday they're going to decide, but if I don't hear from them, then on monday, I'm going to call again or I'm going to email again. The ball is always in your court, and you keep looking for ways to demonstrate your enthusiasm and your competence. And, as I said, curating content, sending it along to them actively going out and looking for something that might be useful to them is a good use of your time if you really want that job all right, before we get to six steps to close the deal, let's hear what's happening in the chat room? Well, actually, at least most people are already doing this, they're creating that or deceive themselves. They're really identifying exactly with the advice you're giving here, they said they used the language without the contractor just push ahead to get a job started, fox appeal says yes, I let them know they're scheduling that needs to happen before chopping khun get started on darren geese boxes for selling art. Creating urgency is actually very, very helpful. I think a lot of people really identify without something that already practice is excellent, and it is effective because really people are motivated to act when you give them a reason to act a deadline, something against which to act, and you might not feel because it's your business, that you're in a position to do that, but you are now d touch one, though, has said, personally, I would I would feel awkward about using urgency. They actually described his fake urgency because integrity of one of its one of my values and I would feel lost and out of my comfort zone. I'm not talking about lying here. The client that I mentioned really is booked in january and february, and so there's no deception in terms of fake urgency, I'm sure all of us could come up with ways that would be true to say if I don't. A book this by this date I'm not going to be able to do it you're not saying there's no room my calendar you're not saying I have all these other clients you're just saying if I can't do it by then, I won't have enough time to prepare to do it properly for you they're all different ways of approaching it on higher says what if you don't use urgency? Would you be viewed is unprofessional by clients with experience in this sort of thing, right? If you're just waiting around and you've got nothing better to dio, I mean, that looks as bad as desperation, right? Ondas top tomato says she says it will it's not fake it all said, we all have to plan out our calendars exactly and it's kind of similar to the idea of I can't afford to do this project at the price you're asking or I can't afford it's you taking care of yourself and it's you letting your clients know that you're taking care of yourself? Which underneath basically says they don't have to to take care of you, you're going to do it and these are the ways that you do it all right now, then six steps to close the deal, so here are things you can actually do and I'd be curious if our studio audience does any of these things so simply ask if they have questions, so in your meeting in a week or so, raina, when you present your proposal one way to try to close the deal on the spot, which is not always possible, but you should try is you ask, do you have questions now seems like an obvious statement, and you probably will ask if they have questions, but if you're thinking about it in terms of this is part of how you close the deal, you might approach it differently. All right? So you ask if they have questions and you ask if they're ready to get started, we don't need to make all sorts of assumptions about their readiness based on their excitement or their silence, because we're asking, are you ready to get started? Anybody ask if they're ready to get started? Zane, you do that, and what do they usually say? Uh, depends on the client, uh, usually like they're looking to get, uh, feedback from their colleagues on the proposal or trying to take the proposal to the decision maker. It really depends on the situation, and that leads directly into step three, which is ask when they'll make a decision, you can ask, when are you planning to make a decision they may not know, they may tell you they may not tell you but again, here is where the open communication becomes very important, and a lot of people at this point are feeling very vulnerable, and so they don't want to ask too many questions, they think maybe at any one point they're going to jinx it if they say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing or email them, it was one time too many, right? So it's really important to keep the lines of communication open here. In fact, I told a story, I think it was in segment to about a prospect who had come to me looking for designers for his event collateral, and I submitted the names of two designers, both of whom happened to be in the chat room today. And so during lunch, I got an email message from both of them and from the guy who basically said, we haven't made our decision yet, and the client, his client is deciding between them and someone local, and I'll have a decision next week, so the lines of communication are open. All the designers are communicating with the prospect and with me, and he says he's going to make a decision next week, and hopefully they will let's actually brainstorm on this situation because I did get this question from one of the designer, she said, how should I respond? Raina what wouldyou dio they got that message from the prospect saying we have not made our decision yet and we will be making it next week is there any more one should d'oh well, what we were just saying before you could still continue to send relevant links information and maybe talk about how you would get started if you wantto go down that path well, actually that's a really good uh segway to the next step, which is proposed the next step in your process you can say well, when you're ready, here's the next step and I think this also sets you up as a very professional person because that means you know what the steps in your process are. You've done this before here's what the next step would be and then all they have to do is basically say, okay, I'm ready here's the information right when I start working with a client actually, I have a process I put them through, we do the free mentoring session, I tell them what if they're interested in working and be what the neck accepts our so that when they're ready they can say, okay, I'll send you the contract or okay, send me that contract so it's really important again that makes you seem and be very professional any other suggestions for these designers in the chat room I mean, I guess from my perspective as like creating a video for someone I need to put crew on hold on dso creating the emergency like I'm gonna put my camera operator my audio guy and my editor on a soft hold it sounds like they think this is moving forward so kind of continuing to create that urgency although that this is national unmade it sounds like kind of giving them a sense that I'm ready to go the team's ready to go what we're here for you and I think the other point there is that there are more people involved that they may not be aware of or thinking about and their situations are in flux as well and so it's not about whether they care or don't care but just considering all the different options and actually I have one client also one of the things we did in this type of situation recently was someone wanted her basically to be on call on hold so yes, we could do that there's a fee for that if you want me to hold these many weeks or this month and my schedule then here's the fee and if you want to release it you know two weeks before that's fine or they pay the fee and sometimes there is budget for that because they want to have the security of knowing that they will have the help if they need it so that's a strategy I would try all right more steps so we've said ask if they have questions ask if they're ready to get started asked when they'll make a decision propose the next step in your process because you do have a process give them the time frame so as you're saying also we need to decide or we would love to get started by this date and finally of course asked for the deposit that is the rial for a step in the actual working process is getting the deposit and a contract signed now let's talk a little bit about contracts because there was a question should you put in your proposal and I said no let's keep it as a separate parts so that it's the next step in the process how do you do it raina um well once they accept the proposal I send the contract and it says in my proposal before we start work there will be a contract that outlines everything that needs to be signed along with that so you planted that seed already so then I I put together what they selected if there were choices in the proposal and put that in my into my contract and get that sign and get the deposit before I start work exactly and now that's also a very important get the deposit before you start the work ah lot of people ask for the deposit but start the work before they've received the deposit, and here again, we don't want to be so strict that it seems like your, you know, not going to do anything until you get the money, but I have to say, I do have this one client who basically says, and this works for him, that I'm doing the work of the people who paid me the money already, and I can't start on your project. I don't I can't afford to focus any of my time and energy on your project until I get the money, so you are in a position to do that, and that could also serve as that nudge toe have them send you the money. All right, now, I want to talk a little bit more, actually about contracts also because, um, some people are afraid to send a contract, they're afraid that if they send the contract and it will seem like they're forcing the prospect to do something that they may not want to dio now I see some wrinkled eyebrows here in this room, which is good because that means we don't have people who have that association and there might to this, but I imagine that in the chat room, there are people who might be afraid to send the contract we'll see, but if anyone is out there feeling that way really again, it it positions you as a professional. It says here's. How I work here's my process. And if a contract scares off a prospect, that's, a red flag, right? If they won't sign a contract, if they won't look at a contract that's a red flag, sometimes they want you to sign their contract. There's nothing wrong with that. In fact, maybe we'll ask some of those questions of katie lane because she is an expert in contracts. But the idea is that, uh, they may have a corporate contract that they have all of their vendors signed. Should you sign that contract? I don't see why not, but you have to make sure that it is in your interest, obviously, your contract, which you hopefully have had a lawyer, a draft for you, and then you tweak it is more in your interest than any contract that they're going to give you, which is in their interest. All right, so there's, nothing wrong with them having a contract that you signed. But just remember that it's not in your interest, so you should definitely have a lawyer. A look at it to make sure that it could be tweaked and don't be afraid to ask for changes to their contract again. That makes you professional. Nobody nobody accepts a contract just right off the bat. If you do that almost means you haven't read it right? So there will always be something you want to change. In fact, there should be something that you want to change in there. Any questions about contracts do the contracts that you have and use? Where have they come from? Have you had them professionally done? You have looked over by a lawyer looking consultant, and my method for presenting the contract is usually in the kickoff meeting with a client so that if they have any questions I face to face, we can answer. So you should do him in the kickoff meeting that finding excellent. So you do that all in person? What about you? Raina might just based on the, I think the ai who recommended base template contract, and then I've customized it to my own news, but I have not had not hired a lawyer, so and I do think it's a good idea to make sure that the contract that you're using, especially if you've tweaked it, is approved by a lawyer who knows the legal language. But there are and maybe this is a resource that we can put on have people talk about also in the chat rooms because there are trade associations that have standard agreements that can be adapted for you so you don't have to go with each situation and get a new contract so the idea for graphic artist is one good resource and if you know about that do you know of any I think there's a lot of tools now that help you build a contract just you fill out certain survey and then it kind of creates a whole contract out for you there's one called shake actually shake law dot com I believe is the girl yeah and it's a mobile app you can on lee do it on a on a mobile device and you fill in the information and it spits out a contract that you can then email to someone yeah there's many tools out there good still google search what about in the chat room our people sharing resource is about this they're saying the freelancers unions offer good guide for contracts and content temples and other people mentioned the a swell one question did we get from terror just saying now when you've been working with the previous you have previous history the client do you send it contract for every project so what I suggest is an agreement for every project that definitely and this is the simple one page a proposal that we were talking about when we talked about different types of proposals it's an agreement that says here's what we're doing here's the fee here is the deadline do you agree? Is this what we discussed so yes, absolutely and actually what many design firms do is they have what they call a master services agreement where all of the general ideas and terms and conditions are stated and then that doesn't need to be done every time so that when you have new projects coming up then you just adapt it and add or upend if you will a simple agreement based on the specific projects j asking you when they won't accept terms in your contract you negotiate here in person with the with the person and you can sort of go over the contract and let them know usually a lot of time with web designers you know you you can only do a certain amount of changes certain amount of iterations on a project and if you let them know in person that after this many intricate oration there's gonna be an extra fee that I find that to be helpful and avoid school creek absolutely and I'm glad that someone brought up the freelancers union because I've been meaning to refer to them everyone should join the freelancers union it's free and they have all sorts of benefits available and one of them is this contract uh creator basically I think it's called the contract creator on their website that you can use and you fill in all of your details it actually spits out a very long contract but is a good place to start all right now then if you don't get the project, what should you do if you don't get the project, I'm going to talk about this and then we're gonna have a little bit of negotiation tips and then we're going to talk to katie lane so if you don't get the project number one, you thank them for the opportunity you don't huff and puff and go away mad you thank them for the opportunity you value the opportunity yourself because you had a chance to show them your stuff essentially and not only your sample's not only your work you really need to value the development of the relationship that you went through as you went through the proposal process. This is so important because maybe they chose again the nephew or the local resource because of political situations because of nepotism because of reasons that you have no control over and in fact I'm thinking of a client who lost a big client recently because of these political situations they're just not allowed this big corporation not allowed toe work with small firms anymore they have to go with the large firms but the people who are actually getting the work done I want desperately to work with the resource that has been helping them so much, but they're not allowed to anymore so just know that if things fall apart or if you are quote unquote rejected, it may have nothing to do with you and your proposal and even if it's the price you there is value to the development of the relationship that you should build on you should definitely keep in touch you should definitely offer to be available. You were talking about this to offered to be available if things don't work out that they can come back to you and try again, perhaps looks like you wanted to add something there's a yeah, I've been in those situations where a client hasn't accepted the contract, but I've still maintain a good relationship with them and kind of converted them into like friends. For example, I had a project in new york and I wasn't in town. I sent the contract while I was here and the next time I went to new york, I caught up with a client and although they didn't work with me, we still grab lunch and just discussed what what they're working on and provide them with feedback and they really appreciated that and, you know, I think in the future there could be an opportunity where we can work together, so I think it's very important I think that's really important, I love the idea of visiting when you're in town also because that shows that there no hard feelings and that you're still interested and you're available and really what's important is really just to keep the conversation going, keep the relationship going that is so important. Okay, I would be interested in your answer if you submit a proposal, proposals one client and they turn it down. Is it ok? Is it bad karma to just recycle a proposal for another client? Uh, well, I mean, what I said earlier is you really want to tailor the proposals to each project, so if you're not tailoring the proposal, then perhaps you could recycle it, but I can imagine that it would be a cz effective as one that you did, taylor, which is not to say that there's nothing reusable, right there is material that's reusable there, and so you should pick and choose, but don't do it because you're lazy. I think if you're using cookie cutter approaches, the clients are aware of that. Yes, absolutely well that's the thing I mean that's, the reason why the beginning of your proposals should be all about them, because otherwise it looks like, who is this for? This is the thing they send to everyone, and they could tell what's generic all right, let's do the exercise for this lesson, and then we'll get to the negotiation tips. So in the workbook, we have all six steps plus the four criteria and what to do if you don't get the job and the exercise is next time you have a prospect in front of you, how will you close the deal? Raina, this is coming up for you. You have a specific situation in your mind. How will you close the deal based on what we just talked about, present the proposal in person or on most likely on skype, and, um, I will double double check if they have any questions. Obviously, I'll walk through and sort of explained everything and, um, pay close attention to where maybe there's sticky points are or where they're hesitating and address those things. Um, I'll ask for if they're ready, if they're ready to go or if not when they make a decision or when, when they're going to be ready and, um, if I don't get it, no hard feelings, I mean, yeah, I'm going to continue to work with him anyhow and other things, I assume, but, um, great. Sounds like you've memorized the six steps, excellent.

Class Materials

bonus material

Ilise Benun -- Command Your Fees Workbook.pdf

bonus material

Ilise Benun - Chapter 1 - Creative Professionals Guide to Money.pdf
Ilise Benun - Do You Have What it Takes Quiz.pdf
Ilise Benun - Jill A Case-Study.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Rashida B.

I wasn't able to catch this during the day, but I stayed up literally all night for three nights watching the replays. AMAZING. This definitely goes up there with the best of the best and most useful Creativelive courses ever. Pricing isn't the most exciting topic in the world. However, Ilise was passionate about the subject and her enthusiasm made this not only interesting but fun. I loved how she infused it with her vast knowledge and real world examples. Her guests were just as interesting. This was all around GREAT!


Helping others help themselves. Ilise Benun is clear and well-organized. The methods she shares are easy to understand while honest and straightforward in approach, stating from the git-go that work on my part is required. Ilise draws on her own experience as well as the methods and experience of other professionals in this course. She welcomes us into a proven plan for successful growth embracing an attitude of progress rather than perfection and attraction rather than promotion. This is my kind of mentor!


Oh wow! My favorite course to date! Ilise's expertise was tremendously helpful. Thanks to Ilise, I'm not "stuck" any longer and I'm so excited to implement the wealth of knowledge I've gained from this master Marketing Mentor. This course is well worth the cost at any price!! Thank you so much Ilise!!

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