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Worth It: Negotiation for Creatives

Lesson 13 of 29

Core Principle: Collaboration

Ted Leonhardt

Worth It: Negotiation for Creatives

Ted Leonhardt

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Lesson Info

13. Core Principle: Collaboration

Lesson Info

Core Principle: Collaboration

Collaboration two heads are better than one and three are best of all three people working together is has been my favorite team a cz long as I can remember and I think it's because when you have a third it's sort of upsets the balance of the partnership that naturally happens between two people sort of and it's not an even situation, so if you have a team of four, you can have two people who agree with one point of view and two people with the other and there you are stuck, but when you have a team of three, you have three kind of independent voices to may agree, but the third will definitely come up with a different point of view. It seems to be human nature and when you're preparing for a stressful situation, which negotiation typically is a team of really getting insights from all three people and contrary in insights best of all because it challenges your assumptions and makes you think about what the possibilities might be that you hadn't thought of yourself and I often fall into...

the trap personally of thinking I have all the answers, I fall into the trap of thinking I have all the answers, I think I'm incredibly smart, incredibly, you know, clever and I have all the answers and if if I follow that intuition, I will find myself sadly short of having the answers and lose the job in the process so I've learned to protect myself against my against my my my inclination to be a little bit egocentric and get a team around me and let the team challenge me and the result of that is a much better product in terms of the way we go forward so that's the whole point so the principal is collaboration two heads are better than one three or best of all get a coach use a team rehearsals how and why rolls agreed in advance the cutoff signal o and the a b exercise get a coach's a team rehearsals how and why rolls agreed in advance the cut off signal kind of threw me uh kind of threw me um I have a feeling I put the a b exercise into the next power point and uh, because I didn't see it in this one and um uh and so we're not gonna have the baby exercise this time we're gonna have it in the in the next segment. So so sorry about that it's probably good get it. Get a coach use a team rehearsals how and why rolls agreed in advance this is a short video and it shows using a friend or a colleague as a coach so you don't all the point of this video is you don't always have to hire someone or have an employee or have a partner and have a monetary relationship with someone to get some great coaching from them, if you can. You khun, turn a friend into a fantastic coach. And one of the benefits of this is your intuit emotionally you want to get this assignment it's really important to you? And of course we know from what we have talked about over the last couple days is that wants your head is into it. You kind of begin losing the forest for the trees. And so you need to have someone who has an impartial point of view who does have your best interests at heart, but but is not emotionally engaged as a coach and that's the real benefit. It is this emotional engagement. So in this video, ben is going to reach out to tabatha to get some help with a very important opportunity. He's going to reach out to tabatha to get some help. And so I want again to discuss with your partner, tell us, and then tell us what happens in this clip. So make some notes as you go along and, uh, tell us what happens in this clip, so please run that video hello, hey, tabby, this ben. Hey, man how are you uh I'm I'm doing really good. Thank you. Hey, I'm in the midst of this project that's taking place in rome and I could really use your advice. Yeah, of course. First of all, I heard you had a baby. Congratulations what'd you end up naming her? Thank you. Her name's emily she's beautiful six pounds, five ounces does says it was an easy birth so she's doing great but you'll find all this out because I'm sure I'm going to be blasting facebook with picks oh, cool can't wait but so do you possibly have our today that we could meet up in person? I really need your thoughts on this project yeah, of course let's meet up at the coffee shop by my place that's excellent call in our something so tabitha, I'm I'm worried that my price was too high or that they just might have gone with somebody else I haven't heard from him at all so I don't really know the scope. I don't know if it's five interviews or twenty interviews the one thing I do know is that the deadline is in august we're supposed to go to the senior execs in rome and that's fixed cool I love fix just unavoidable date that's great um first off you are perfect for the assignment don't worry about them finding somebody else now it's been two weeks I think that you would have heard by now if they went in a different direction so but there's an easy way to find out what's going on you could always just ask what is your relationship with robert like to text email I am well we started out just e mail and facetime but then when I went to rome I spent some time so we get to know each other little personally so I can be pretty much I am each other whenever okay great well let's wake him up and see what's going on I can help you prepare actually what I'll do is I'll send you a text right now you can let me know what you think and then we can send it to him ok I just sent it okay so not notice that my message assumes of that simon is yours um it also reminds him that of the deadline which is very important it shows that our concern is in his best interests um and he is what nine hours ahead of us so he's probably still up right now so if that looks good you we can go ahead and send it right now and see how he responds yeah this is great this is why I come to you I'm good okay, well in the meantime tell me about this emily emily she's beautiful yeah and then two kids now does has been a trooper wait there you check it out did he respond? Awesome see it worked you got the gig okay, so now let's follow up with another text to add a bit of urgency with a human touch like that. Okay um how about something like this get it? I like it. Okay, so this tax reminds him that his relationship with you is on a personal level as well as professional and it also reminds him that your kind and caring person of course so if you like that you could go ahead and send it and then if you hear back from him just give me a call let me know that be awesome so much you're welcome problem I will be hearing from you soon. Okay. Hey, tabitha, did you get the text I sent you? Yeah, yeah, I just got it so it looks like you've got the simon that's awesome on the next step involves refining the scope, nailing down those dates and the number of interviews naturally they could still push back on your dare aid but that deadline is coming up really soon. So that's all the leverage we should need. Awesome. Thank you again so much. Yeah, of course. Hi. Tab robert called to say his boss fred one of my day rate to be lower one thousand robert needs to get fred's approval but will be funding it from his own budget. He told me that with my travel expenses which he estimated at five k on top of my thirty seven k fee the proposal was too expensive but he would be happy if it altogether it were kept under thirty seven k. I'm fine with that. I'm planning to keep my day rate fifteen hundred but knock a couple days off so that with travel my proposal totals just under thirty seven. Lowering my day rate seems like a bad precedent going forward. Any advice? Ben? Hey, I just got your e mail and one word actually comes to mind respect the one thing you should come away with in any negotiation is respect and if they continue to push back your day rate I wrote something down that might actually help you. Um would you like me to read it to you? Yeah. Okay. Um people choose to work with me because they respect my skills, knowledge and achievements for them. Another ares they pay my day ray out of respect and because they know that I can produce the results that they need in turn lauren my day rate for you would be unfair and disrespectful to my clients who do pay my dairy so um that's something you can say when you talk to robert and let me know how goes and remember that august deadline is coming up, so they have no real alternatives but to use you. Thank you so much, tabatha. I don't think I could have done all this without you. Yeah, of course. And good luck. All right, we'll talk to you soon. Ok? Ok. Toxie so what's not to like I mean, they're happy with the travel compromise and they've gotten past the day rate issue and that's all fantastic. You've got your first gig in rome. A pretty exciting just remember in the future. When in doubt just ask but asking away that's clearly in your client's best interests. And if you can add a personal touch to it, that always helps. And someday you can tell emily that she had a big part of moving you up in your career. Well, uh, thank you so much, tabitha. This is awesome. I could not have done this without you. Well, any time. So I have a very specific question for you. Why did ben think his price was too high? But I think probably it was on the client's behalf too. Let it linger so he had self doubt about it. I'm not hearing back from them, so I must have done something wrong. So I think I think it was him just you know, getting in his own head thinking about it too much not looking at the bigger picture um yeah just piggyback on that he seemed skeptical of like, you know like everybody when you have that time period you wanting her back as soon as possible so you feel like validated then you can like rest easy I'm gonna have that week of time and not really know what's going on it didn't seem like there was a lot of communication there s even like oh you know I was super busy you know the client could have said that to him but it's easy to kind of get into your own head something he was like a little worried about that britt yeah well it seemed like through most of the conversation is self confidence was actually pretty low about the entire project and it took tabatha like multiple occasions to boost him thin like you got this for a reason like you're fine and like basic like fed a lot of it to him yes hand hand hand fed him didn't yeah hand fifty held his hand right through it well is really interesting like that whole interaction top but I was trying to be get pretty personal with him talking about his family he didn't once ask anything about her no he didn't he was his head was just listen and and this other place he's terrified he's gonna cast this deal and he's got a one baby already in another one just arrived back when he only has one other client the guy's in trouble yeah tab with at least a gift card to a nice restaurant to shape she was good, wasn't she? But she wasn't emotionally involved and he wass of the one thing I noticed with tabatha it was like, you know, taking it back it's like hey like you need a you know take it step back take a look it seems like you have a connection with them you can talk to them don't be afraid to ask oh and you know people I make it personal so there is that personal connection still it's not business business business they had a personal relationship with this guy because he's got some time with them and they obviously have some social time together yeah yeah. So some mentioning the baby and his wife were entirely appropriate. It was also like a really subtle way to like, you know, to be able to tell the clien like, oh, I have these things I need to worry about too so can you like, you know, speed up the process a little bit, you know? Because I need this information from you yeah obligations personal obligations yeah and then thomas uh provided that neutral like neutral like question it's not it's not coming from you know, ben being and worried place is mine it's coming from a third party but it's like a we need to be rational here right? Like let's not let our self doubt creep in and sap it'll have the coaching was classic of he's emotionally involved so it's hard for him to get out of his own head she she's close to him and feel you know and and is interested in his well being but she's not emotionally involved in this project so she can give him kind of good, solid, logical advice her frontal lobes operating terrific ly smart is health yeah, yeah, I'm sorry. It was just something else I noticed is, um like when they met ben, like went over the overview like, you know, stuff that he didn't know and stuff that he didn't know and I think that helped abbas that like, okay, this is where we need to go wright was extremely humble on was willing to actually, like, take her advice and instead of asking for and then thinking already knew everything beforehand he just let her talk and actually, like took her in and he genuinely he he felt he was that he needed help yeah, yeah he asked for exactly what he needed firmer so the first thing he thought was the price was too high they've given a price that was too high and you guys nailed the reason for that the second thing was you know, why do you think someone else had gotten a job space and time same reason same reason the same reason yeah, okay in my consulting and in my personal reaction in these situations the automatic default reaction we all have is the price is too high. This is thie automatic default reaction I do it myself my wife caroline does it on her projects when she's doing houses I mean, we're like grown ups, you know, and all my clients go immediately to the price was too high so you have to guard against the price is too high you have to guard against this price is too high feeling it's an automatic it seems to be an automatic default for everyone in this situation while we are desperately wanting to get this piece of business and if time has gone on and we don't know what's gonna happen we assume we lost out to someone else noticed thie other thing that is interesting I think in this video is the is the the way tabatha went through the communication methods did you notice that yeah, what does she say? Did she say greenwich tio she's like what's your relationship is the email that I am texting phone calls tryingto understand their personal relationship together and then even through their communication, they went from, you know, text phone in person email, right? Right? So she so she picked up on what? The right the right method wass for this relationship, but it's probably a young man in rome as well. So similar in age to bend is what I assume from that interaction. So she carefully went through the communication devices and I think that's another really important point here is really be thoughtful about with the right way to communicate with, you know, generally I say, you know, face to face is the only way to communicate, but in this case, uh, clearly instant messaging was the right way to communicate. Yes, there was about a weekend time where he hasn't heard anything that's probably on the you know, the part of the client trying tto see if he can get, you know something, move in, get him in his own head, possibly to get the price down. But what do you think might be like a know, it depends on the situation like when you reach out to your clients think if you haven't heard anything from like, three is really a week is like it's, like the cutoff date where it's like a like, let me get back, yeah, what's the cut off time yeah, I think a week is a fine time to get back is a fine time to get it it's a great it's, a it's, a great question, and did you notice the tone? In fact, I think she remarks on it. Did you notice the tone of that first message? The first message assumed in its language that he had the job assumed in the language, so always assume the best in these kind of transactions assumed the best they haven't told you the worst. I mean, if they're going to tell you the worst, they're going to tell you the worst. So go into it, assuming that you have a relationship in fact it's going to go ahead, it might not. I mean, you don't have any control over it, but to suggest otherwise puts in their mind there might be another option, so so so if what tabatha did was she assumed the best, and that assumption was what thie instant response was, I'm working on it. Sorry? Um, yeah, that was also something where it's like she also reassured him like a like if you didn't get the job, you would have known it, but no, right, you don't worry like it's, okay, right, exactly something that she's had experience with, like being under pressure or not really knowing what's going to happen or what somebody's thinking because she mentioned she likes that kind of a thing. Teo I'm early on and sew like that was she was like speaking from experience for him. Yes, I'm so he can probably trust her more that what she's saying is like, this is probably a good idea, right? Exactly. Yeah, he might not even have known, but he trusted her and that she wouldn't steer him wrong on. So he simply followed her advice, even though he was feeling a little queasy about it. Yeah, um, I think tabatha, um, you know, coaching ben, uh, just kind of reiterating what we've been going over the past day and a half, uh, that stating your concerns, but lining it with what? Your clients, uh, what your client's interests are best interests are. So I think that ultimately got him to where he was at the end, right? Yeah, they were every clearly he was doing everything in the best interest of the clan. And I think, um, one thing that always like resonates with me as always, I think, constantly telling myself assume positive intent. Um, really, really pushes me through a lot of situations, especially when I haven't heard from a client, I assume positive intent and my usually my email or conversation with them is like just want to make sure that you got what I sent you before because I assume that I'm gonna assume that maybe you didn't see it before whatever maybe that's a great phrase assume positive intent that's a great phrase to remember assume positive intent yes so uh one thing is he I followed up with tabatha like through the progression of it and then when the money you know issue came up he's like, hey, this is something that I'm worried about tell us the running back to like on earth but he did say like I feel like it's bad if they come out of my price she's like you're exactly right because it's respect and you need it and you needed told him that I don't mean for it to be like, hey no, this is my rate you know, this is what my other clients pay and you know we can negotiate in a bit of this you know, maybe I take down my you know, travel costs but evidence when you're confident your client feels but right she built up his confidence on and she and she gave him I call that the respect statement respect statement and the reference to the other clients that she used, she said if I lowered my price for you, it would be disrespectful to my other clients it would be disrespectful to my other clients and it is totally the truth people I'm busy people pay my rates I am fully engaged here yes I would like to do this assignment obviously but to lower my price would be disrespectful for my other clients respect I often think respect is far more important than money I don't remember if I told you this or not but once I was negotiating with a fairly large client over uh my fees and it was the founder of the company chairman of the board of the company an older man a man in fact who who liked to brag that he carried a baseball back back around in the back of his car when he had in case he had to deal rough with the unions this was long in his past he was past the time in life where you could wield a baseball bat like that but he liked to tell the story nevertheless he was in his eighties when he was negotiating with me and and he asked me look down the conference from it table at me and he said and it was a group of us meeting and they were trying to decide whether they were going to hire me for this gig or not and he looked down the table at me and he said why are you worth so much money? Why are you worth so much money and I was feeling particularly cocky at the moment I threw my leg over the arm of the chair you know kind of like your leg kind of over the arm of the chair and I don't know why I did that it just sort of felt like the right thing to do and I said respect and I didn't say anything else I didn't do the respect statement I just did the one word respect I'm very proud of that actually and you know I was silent and then he nods his head and says okay you got the gig he was the kind of guy that wanted that kind of response you know, somebody who brags about carrying a baseball that wants to deal with someone he thinks is potentially not quite as tough as he is but tough enough you know what I mean and yes exactly so the confidence is infectious you know it because you want to hire someone a professional who is competent confident because you want them to do a great job and you want them to feel confident in doing the job so okay now I just may I realized I made an error in the a b is in this section that was not a trick that was entirely my that was entirely my error because I was madly rearranging the power points this morning you know how that goes you know you're kind of like well I should but the serum not there it'll be better if I do it like this so the baby thing is in this section so sorry about that. Um so anything else on that one that was interesting? What is interesting anything before I move on before we go on a little bit farther love tto ask kind of a specific question for jake are who's a interior designer and a couple other people are asking questions about a planet specifically to their field do you think that there's any difference from field to field or is this process of collaboration and finding collaborators the same where you know he is literally it truly does not have anyone else with a team member is a solo person who worked only by himself, right? So where do you recommend going to find these collaborators when you're not well then went to a friend uh, tabatha works and obviously have some experience with negotiating and but not in his industry at least it didn't appear to be in his industry. And uh uh and and she simply was someone who's used to used to dealing with these deals. So uh a uh ah friend who has some professional expertise in the area of negotiating who has your best interests at heart but is, uh you know, they don't have to know about interior decoration they just you know, just discussed the problem oh, another factor of this coaching thing is you made in this case been completely agreed with everything that tabitha suggested, but it may be that you don't that because of the of the industry differences, jargon, differences, whatever that you don't agree but the very fact that you have this conversation, what that does is make you think of what the right thing to do is so even if the advice you get you disregard it doesn't fit it doesn't feel right the conversation opens up your own mind to the possibilities and that's the benefit of the coaching it is the conversation itself that's so good the outcome doesn't have to be on target, but it will remind you of what to do because it forces you to think analytically about to explain it to somebody else even who doesn't understand it, who doesn't have the same preconceived notions right? And no matter what they say back to you whether you degree, agree or disagree, it will make you think of what the right thing to do is so that's that's another powerful aspect of this? And so the people who are solos like ben are in the most need of coaching because they're by themselves so much so they need they need that coaching help and I find that now that I worked basically solo with freelancers helping me that I'm often alone and what I try and do is call on one of the freelancers, that's helping me and give me a little coaching when I'm preparing for something. Yes, max. So for that, I seem like one thing, and pulling away is networking is extremely important to go and people that air, maybe not exactly in your industry, but have something similar and try and build a relationship with them. You can't really yeah, look for people that can give you coaching advice, look from enters, look for friends, whatever you know, but they can give you coaching and advice. It's. Very, very hopeful in your industry or not in your industry, you know. And it may even be easier to find people who are not in your industry, because then you're not competitors with them, you know, and feel a little vulnerable to their competitive set.

Class Description

Core negotiation skills are essential for creative professionals, but negotiating can be fraught with fear, anxiety, and uncertainties. Join Ted Leonhardt to uncover the negotiating tactics that allow you to build the power and respect that lead to financial and creative freedom.

Throughout this course, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the common anxieties and vulnerabilities around negotiation and build the skills you need to keep those fears from holding you back. You’ll explore negotiation not as a bargaining session but as a collaboration in which you guide those you are negotiating with. You’ll also learn how to use time and context to define opportunities, create contracts instead of proposals, and align people with your vision. Because dealing with difficult personalities can be a challenging aspect of negotiation, you’ll build strategies for coping with and disarming bullies and naysayers. You’ll develop a negotiating style that doesn’t neglect the importance of kindness and good manners, but that also allows you to know and assert what your unique offering is worth.

Whether you’re just starting out as a freelancer or you’re a longtime creative professional, this course will equip you to know your worth and confidently ask for the opportunities and compensation you deserve.



While I walked away with some amazing knowledge and skills to apply to negotiation, more than anything, I appreciated the authenticity and humility with which Ted crafted and delivered all of the materials in this class. As a fellow creative, every word spoken in this course resonated with me on a deep level, and led me to retain and integrate the materials far better than I expected. A most sincere thank you to Ted for sharing these pieces of his inner life with us.

Kal Sayid

Love Ted. His desire to help creatives shines through. Lots of great nuggets as well as strategies for both the newbie creative and the veteran.

a Creativelive Student

Another terrific course from CreativeLive. I would and did recommend it for anyone, creative or otherwise. Most negotiation courses leave one with a "bad taste"-not this one. I vastly prefer this approach. My life would be very different right now if I had this information available when I first graduated from college with a BFA in Graphic Design. Oh, and an unmentioned bonus-a design agency soap opera is included. Ted is a marvelous teacher.