Has something similar to this ever happened to you? An executive recruitment friend of mine produced the perfect senior level candidate for her client in only two days, who then thanked her by insisting she lower her fee for the job! His reasoning? Since these high level specialized recruitment assignments typically take weeks, if not months to fill, obviously, this task was not difficult for her and therefore she should lower her fee (!) What would you do?
I recommend the Picasso strategy.
The story goes that Picasso was at a social gathering when a woman approached him, gushing with praise for his work. Then, she coyly asked if he would draw her portrait on a napkin, which, of course, she would happily pay for. Picasso obliged, finished the portrait in under thirty seconds, and charged her 500 francs. “Five hundred francs!” responded the stunned admirer. “But it took you less than thirty seconds!”
“Yes, Madame,” replied Picasso calmly, “And it took me thirty years to be able to do that portrait in just thirty seconds.”
Never Forget Your Value
Whether you manage money, sell advertising, or provide consulting and professional services, there will always be clients who confuse deliverables (what they see) with value received (results). Sometimes, in the case of Picasso’s admirer, that confusion reflects a buyer’s naivete and ignorance. Other times, in the case of my friend's client, that confusion is feigned by a buyer to test your limits.
In the former case, educate the client to the true value received to clear up the confusion and solve the problem. In the latter situation, remain calm, restate your value, and hold your ground to signal you stand behind your value and that further pressure tactics will not work. You can even tell the Picasso story to reinforce your point.
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