How Much Is Not Negotiating Costing You?

Cost of not negotiating

Chances are, negotiating isn’t at the top of your To Do list. And it’s especially not at the top of your ‘Yay I Really Want To Do This’ list.

As an entrepreneur, or business owner, there’s a lot to do.

Create a great product or service? With pleasure.

Build a snazzy website? Sounds like fun.

Connect on social media? Love it.

You’re busy, and business is buzzing along pretty well – so why bother?

Negotiating – asking for something other than what you’re getting now – can take time. And energy. And frankly – it’s more than a little scary sometimes.

But ask yourself:

How much are you willing to pay to avoid the pain of negotiating?
— Margaret Neale, Stanford Business School

There’s a cost to doing things – and a cost to not doing things.

Here are three ways not negotiating may be costing you, and a quick fix for each.

The cost of not setting firm boundaries with a client?

  • Increased stress every time an email arrives or the phone rings.

  • Lost time accommodating endless changes.

  • No energy for the new/fantastic/ideal client that comes your way.

  • Financial stress because of late payments (or no payments!).

  • Anger.

Quick Fix:

Revise your contract language.

Chances are that in working with your last 3-5 clients, there’s been something that hasn’t worked exactly as you’d planned. Too many revisions. Scope creep. Disagreements on timelines. Great news! You can change that.

Step 1: List the Top 3 ‘painful’ elements you’d like to change.

Step 2: Insert language to cover those changes in your client contract or terms & conditions document.

Step 3: Post the document to your site, or prep it to send to your next client.

Total time invested? 15 minutes on brainstorming. 60 minutes on drafting. 30 minutes on formatting.

The cost of not asking for a better deal with a vendor?

  • Overpaying month after month after month.

  • Lost opportunity for what else you could have done with that money – no expansion or tech investments.

  • Unsustainable overhead and operating costs.

  • Struggling to compete in a market where others have streamlined expenses.

Quick Fix:

Ask for an improved rate with your internet provider.

If you’ve been a customer for more than a year, chances are there’s an opportunity for you to reduce your monthly fees.

Step 1: Do a quick online search for what they (and their competitors) are currently offering to new clients for the same service you have now.

Step 2: Call them up, and ask for the promotional rate. If they say no? Ask to speak to their client retention department – and then ask again for the lower rate. 

Total time invested? 30 minutes on research, and 30 minutes on the phone.

The cost of not negotiating higher rates with your clients and customers?

  • Lost income.

  • Resentment for working so hard…but not getting adequate reward.

  • Referrals at old, low rates, rather than updated ones.

  • Lower perceived value compared to competitors.

  • Shrinking profits as expenses creep towards revenues.

Quick Fix:

Raise your rates for new clients.

If you have service packages or products available for purchase on your website, you can start the process of raising your rates immediately.

Step 1: Select your 2 best-selling offers.

Step 2: Increase the listed price of each by 5% throughout your sales materials and invoicing systems.  

Total time invested? 15 minutes in opportunity spotting. 60 minutes on system and copy updates.

Every business is unique, and for each of us the costs that we’re willing to absorb, and the opportunities we’re willing to let pass us by are different. 

If you’re getting hot under the collar as these costs add up? Take action! Make that ask! Go after a change in your business – today.

If things are bubbling along nicely and your cost threshold for not negotiating is a mile high? That’s ok. But please do me a favor: keep an eye on that balance sheet…and when the costs are creeping, and margins are shrinking- make your move.

What do your costs of not negotiating look like? When was the last time you didn’t ask for something you needed, and ended up regretting it? How about a time when you made the leap and asked…and got to reap the rewards?