Skip to main content

money & life

Worth It: Negotiation for Creatives

Lesson 18 of 29

Core Principles: Behavior

Ted Leonhardt

Worth It: Negotiation for Creatives

Ted Leonhardt

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

18. Core Principles: Behavior

Lesson Info

Core Principles: Behavior

With behavior with when we are an expert we have to maintain our experts status with our clients and we do that with behaving like an expert throughout the process so maintain your expert manner it's essential to keeping creative control I think you heard that in karen's interview where she described how she got the space she needed to be successful for the client and she learned that even though her early enthusiasm which he still has she now guards against the downside of that enthusiasm which is to be too eager and try to do too much so she she maintains that expert behavior and she keeps control as a result and also remember that at the beginning of the relationship is when you have the highest esteem don't give it up you want them to maintain that feeling that you are the expert and that you um our uh uh and keep keeping that mode and you know, one of the things that we tend to do especially if we're working on a really tough assignment where there's a lot of clients contact is we...

kind of drift into the friend mode with clients and you know we can be friendly with our client certainly but we always have to remember that they are clients not friends and sensing except us acceptance from the clan can lead us to reducing our professional demeanor it's just sort of that feeling of relief we've you know they have hired us we're feeling good about that we feel that they love us and so it kind of we kind of tend to let our hair down a little bit you really need to kind of guard against that and that's what I'm talking about their so behavior it's just kind of be aware of your behavior actually so before we went to break us for stories of respect yes I would love to share we got two of them that I really last fantastic I would love to read the first one from our girl, she said when clients asked me to change my day rate, I explained that doing so would it be fair to my other clients who do honor my rate for the same service in value that I bring? Usually they appreciate hearing that sometimes the person asking doesn't even want to ask they're being pushed by someone else so they're relieved to have an answer to take back that's that's that's absolutely great observation well, first of all, her statement sounded very familiar didn't did sure good for her and she's ahead of us nice better yet because clearly she's been using that statement right along but then that whole idea of having a way to relate it back very important because often the person that's in contact with us is an intermediary who's reporting to someone who's more senior so we actually give them the language to use with their more senior person so that they feel comfortable uh, getting us the space we need to be successful as well. Yeah, and I love the second one. This is great from l a creative says this is not me but a lesson I learned from another creative one time when I was getting a tattoo, you quoted me it's six hundred dollars I said that I thought that was high and asked if he could do it for four hundred. I still remember what he did to this day. He said, you get what you pay for, let me explain he went over to his desk and sketched up another version of the same tattoo. He then set me down explain the differences between the two and what the techniques? Very he justified the cost while proving his skills to may and of course I ended up going with six hundred dollars version and he maintained his expertise. Great little story. Yeah, great love you are demonstrating it and really educating the client too. This is what you're paying for. This is the skill this is what makes me worth this money and he did it with neutral language. He didn't get angry and say, wait a minute, I'm worth six hundred or whatever it was he simply explain and that's what our job is our job is to explain yeah fantastic so thank you guys for sharing the stars those are great stories both of you so behavior so slow down way to beat take your time pace yourself that's one of the things that experts do and I think we I think we heard karen doing a bit of that and then back to mi hi's list of ten creative traits we have this tendency lots of internally generated physical energy also often quiet at rest so but that physical energy could get us in trouble we now know that it's actually a common trait what karen was describing and what we all feel and way sometimes just get taken away with that energy that we have that just comes from being hardwired as a creative creative people have a great deal of physical energy but they're also often quiet at rest they worked long hours with great concentration while projecting an aura of freshness and enthusiasm this does not mean that creative people are hyperactive always on in fact they rest often and sleep a lot the important thing is that they control their energy it's not ruled by the calendar the clock and external schedule when necessary they can focus it like a laser beam when not creative types immediately recharge their batteries they consider the rhythm of activity followed by idleness or reflection very important for the success of their work and I think again, I'm referring back to our conversation with karen you saw all those tendencies in her and in her way that she's described her approach and how she works with clients and how she scopes out the actual creative aspects of the job and she carefully puts aside that contract and all that negotiation and so on on gets that'll settle so then she could focus on the creative on the more project creative stuff so principal your behavior either adds to or reduces the power of your expertise your behavior either adds to our reduce it you have to always remember that it's either reinforcing the fact that you're an expert or is taken away from it and of course what we want is to reinforce it and we always remember what wanna said manners matter manners matter because they always remember how we made them feel wanna our guest from yesterday afternoon now here, that interesting bit that I picked up while I was doing my research in preparing for these sessions. If we are meeting with our potential client in circumstances that we control, if we make them feel extremely comfortable, they're more likely to agree with us and this is scientifically proven through studies in a warm cup of coffee of tea or whatever in our hands makes us feel very comfortable and makes us mohr willing to acquiesce to the other person so that feeling of comfort and feeling of being in a safe place is extremely important so if we're in a situation where we can control that that place that's one of the things that we should pay a lot of attention to now I want to talk a little bit about the power of know the power of saying no there's there is actually a negotiation expert named jim camp who's written a number of books and he'll be on the reference sheet and his whole focus in negotiation training that he does is on using no the word no and his title of the book that is on my shelf for the one that was handy when I wrote this was the title is no the only negotiation syst system you need for work and home and, uh, I've created this is ted's created another little video clip in which there's a very dramatic situation in which tabatha is playing in a very powerful role as a creative director at an advertising agency and she says no to a really big opportunity and we'll get to see what happens when she says no and this is also based on a true story. So the scene let me talk a little bit about the scene in this case what you're seeing is is a group of advertising agency executives sitting around a table and an opportunity comes in on the telephone from a client that they have been pursuing and trying to get work with for years and the the account person who has worked so hard to pursue this client over the last few years is cindy who we've met before in other videos and she sort hard to get this client and tabitha's the creative director so now please run the video and sending we'd really like you and your team to be a part of this effort thank you. Ted, can you give us a moment, please? Sure thank you but I think I think these guys are awfully huge doing yeah I think we should do it no look, we're already using over brandon I don't want to give it up and if we say yes, we're just like a competitors saying no forces them to choose between not including us and really committing and there sitting in their office right now thinking that we need them and chances are they don't have anybody else to use so and they're running out of time some awfully big risk to be right in okay sorry ted. We ran it up the team and we've decided we're not going to go with this you're not gonna go with uh okay, uh let me talk to my folks all right, thank you gotta make him work for it now they know that they need us more than we need them so we've got some budget here and I wanted to run run run this by you really would like to have you guys involved in this so uh what if we for the pitch gave you uh be of two hundred fifty thousand no um uh well uh how about uh five hundred thousand would you do it for five hundred thousand no ted okay um okay what about uh okay how about seven? Maybe? All right, we'll use your product for the pitch process but if we don't like it we're out that's a true story so it was a billion dollar a billion dollar advertising deal global advertising and this advertising agency uh is very famous for the particular kind of work that the client needed so their virtuous cycle was working full time their expertise was major league and the and and of course the pitch requires a huge investment of time and money they make commercials. They do all kinds of things to show the client what their skills are and so it's not outlandish to get a fee for even doing the pitch process. And in this case in this case the fee was seven hundred fifty dollars, fifty thousand dollars and what ultimately happened was they want the assignment they won the assignment because they made the client works so hard for it that they really couldn't choose anyone else it really it really illustrates the power of now now let's talk a little bit about how this story could apply to you because I realize that if you were a photographer and you're working on your own and you're getting a day rate that's uh maybe in the thousands or hundreds uh um assignment where there's seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars at stake is a little foreign to you but think of it of seven dollars single bit of seven dollars and fifty cents for a minute just for the heck of it bring it down to your size so how could you use the lesson of no how could you use the lesson of no well you could ask I'm not completely sure your project is a good fit could you tell me a bit more about your goals? I'm not completely sure your project is a good fit could you tell me a bit more about your goals it's a language for just backing off a little bit just taken a little time could you just tell me a little bit more it's it's a very soft very soft or you could ask I'm flattered that your interest in me and your opportunity but I like to think about it overnight would that be all right with you? You can always ask for the time ask for a little bit of time I'd like to think about it overnight would that be all right with you or you could ask taking on this project would mean I'd have to learn your new cad program would your company be willing to help so ask for some spiffing specific help or taking this position would mean I need to move to your city could you help me with the moving costs so it's a little soft no just asking for a little something in return remember when someone asks you for something it's it's almost expected that you should ask for something in return or you could ask help me understand how you arrived at the list of requirements for this project help me understand how you arrived at the list of requirements for this project again neutral neutral language very careful so we're just saying no, we're just kind of taking our time here we're just being comfortable with ass asking for what we need so we can be successful thoughts, comments for I move on to the next wave thing yeah, I think it just goes back into, uh taken control of the conversation right now. Yeah and it's so funny how that one simple concept of being willing tto turn back and say yeah, but let's make sure that this is good for both of us rather than just I need this work, whatever you want me to do, I'll do changes the whole tone changes the relationship and makes really makes them want you more and it goes back to what you were saying earlier in the segment was you know, you do have all the time in the world don't don't rush into this be like, you know, head first like have that time where you know you can build it up actually really think about it, right? Yeah exactly take your time, ask a few questions, breathe get a little space, etcetera so you talked a little bit earlier, I wouldn't I would if you don't mind I would love to ask you a couple questions about being friends and friendly with clients that sparked a little bit of conversation that chat room we have daniel architect who says I've had a client actually get upset over time because they felt I maintained my professional relationship for too long how do you deal with a client who wants to be buddies now the funny sudden are follow up is the same client later extracted all kinds of extra favors since she felt we were friends talk a little bit about it yeah that's the danger I have a client on the west coast in another big city who has a, uh friend client who he worked they actually were employed by the same organization for some time and aw and they they actually did some work some professional work together when they both went on to different positions on dh my client started his own outside design business and he did do some work for for his friends business um and then his friend moved to new york and took a took a marketing position they're in a large in a large uh consumer product company and uh and has reached out time after time, you know, suggesting that he has a project but the project seems to never quite materialize and and my my client has basically found himself to be providing bids that that they're measured they're using to bracket somebody else's bid that they that they really want to hire so it's the old bid shopping activity and finally he's realized that this friendship is really not you know it just doesn't really work that he's the guy either needs to be a client or a friend and you just have to make a choice, you know? So what's the friendship work may maybe the friendship is what you would rather maintain and not worry about the business side but on the other side you know, uh being if you're doing work for free well that's kind of stretching and I think and well that actually is what I was going to follow up with because there were a lot of questions especially yesterday when we were first starting out when things that people just needed to get out of this was how do you negotiate or let down easily friends, family who want you to do work for them for free, you know, can you help me design my website to take some pictures of my family like this? Because we're friends when you bring your camera to our event and maybe take some pictures, every photographer has heard that you have any thoughts on working with friends and family ties to yeah, yeah, I mean, of course, it's always a judgment call on that, and it should be, but but but I think I would just have I I think I would develop a kind of standard statement that I would say that this is my profession and I, you know, for me, it's work, I love doing it. Yes, I'm good at it, obviously, but for me, it's work and I really need to reserve reserve it at for my work experience and, you know, if you know the family's, something the family's getting married, you know, it takes away from my time when aiken, when I could make a living, and so I really need to charge you the same kind of rates that I charge everybody so well, that may be one final one from elle woods, who says so many sales people do the opposite they try to become friends with prospects and take the relationship to deeper level so that prospects have a hard time saying no just wondering if ted has a suggestions to counter this tendency so when people are trying to become friends with you rather than maintaining professionally well sales people are indifferent than creative service providers sales people are professional relationship developers that's what they do we're professional photographers were professional designers were professional architects or musicians are actors and our profession is actually doing that activity and this interaction over how much money isn't is is part of that business package of us and so we're not were were typically not trying to get people to hire us because they're friends we want people to hire us because of our expertise and in fact that's why they do hire us and so the whole friend thing I think gets in the way of that but I think this again this whole area of negotiations is very fluid I mean you can see there's like rights wrongs yes sort of so there's lots and lots of gray area so I think I think you need to interpret these things in the way that works for you and back to karen you know, we saw that she's a professional whose practice her career for quite a while now she's developed this these methods for dealing with these things based on past experience is feeling burned feeling like she actually you know bit off more than she could chew herself and our next guest will probably discuss something some of the same thing so so yeah I mean just one more question before we bring out our next guest l was wondering can you talk a little bit more about this soft no on dh that concept because in the video it felt like when they were saying no it was just really harsh and sort of felt like there I felt like there needed to be more words there do you feel that there's a place for the hard no versus the soft knowing how you decide how to implement one or the other uh based on the moment you know based on the moment in fact I have a bit in the segment tomorrow that's about when you slam your fist down on the table so on we have a real aggressive closer example that we're going to use I think you decide based on the moment and how you feel about it and in fact I can tell you that I was in a situation uh I think always a soft no is better because it's more polite and we're trying to maintain a relationship and so on so forth but I was in a situation where we were negotiating with a client again it was offshore we had a team we'd flown there um and they kept us negotiating for a week we move from building to building we move from conference room two conference there's a lot of money involved of conference room to conference room we started early we ended late there was lots of restaurants and drinking involved or they were encouraging us to drink and uh finally I mean, we were it was like eight o'clock at night unlike the fifth day of this or the fourth day or whatever it was I was tired I was tired of the whole thing and I stood up I slam my hand on the table and I said I think we just need to call this off I'm gonna go home now and they made a deal but it was just it wasn't premeditated on my part it just was like I'd had it you know and this thing that going on and on and on and they kept asking us to do this and asking us to do that and and I just like it had it so it was an honest reaction but I slam my hand on the table and in fact I was having coffee like a month ago with with one of the guys who went with me it was a team of myself, my financial guy and the researcher who is running the research on the project and we were negotiating the final details on this thing and and my my financial guy told me he said, that was the high point of my career when you slammed your fist on the table stood up, and he said that we made a deal, you know? And, uh and he said, and I said, but you don't remember that when we walked outside, you said, ted, you went too far, you went too far at the time that's what he did because he felt it, you know, he felt like, oh, my god, ted has gotten out of control here. What am I going to do? You know, so but it worked got the deal when I love because, you know, in a lot of cases, there are some occasions that would have been too far, yeah, exactly would have been too much and that's, right? I think, but being comfortable in yourself in recognising your own limits of you know what this is is muchas aiken d'oh, I am now ready to move on and accepting the consequences. Yeah, exactly, because I had no control over what was going to help that's really, always important to remember, you can only control yourself, and so the circumstances they're goingto are going to go the way the circumstances we're going to go

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.

Class Materials

bonus material

Ted Leonhardt - 13 Negotiating Tips.pdf

Ted Leonhardt - Core Principles.pdf

Ted Leonhardt - Nail It.pdf

Ted Leonhardt - References.pdf

Ted Leonhardt - Session Keynote

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



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.