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Miscellaneous
1 min read

10 Negotiation Rules for Design Agencies

While Roger Dawson doesn't have a book specifically on agency negotiation, his core principles translate well. Here are 10 negotiation rules for agencies, drawing from his ideas:

  1. Know Your BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement): Before entering negotiations, determine the absolute lowest you'd accept for the project. This empowers you to walk away if necessary.
  2. Research & Understand Client Needs: Gather information about the client's project goals, budget constraints, and industry benchmarks. This knowledge strengthens your position during discussions.
  3. Build Rapport & Emphasise Value: Create a positive and collaborative negotiation environment. Focus on how your agency's expertise aligns with their specific needs, highlighting the value you bring.
  4. Active Listening & Clarification: Don't just hear, actively listen to the client's concerns and budget limitations. Use clarifying questions to ensure you understand their priorities before proposing solutions.
  5. Package & Present Solutions Clearly: Frame your services and fees as a comprehensive package that addresses their needs. Present a clear proposal outlining deliverables, timelines, and costs.
  6. Start High & Be Willing to Negotiate: Anchor negotiations by starting with an initial offer slightly above your desired price point. Be prepared to move some ground but not all the way to your BATNA.
  7. Focus on Win-Win & Offer Flexibility: Aim for a mutually beneficial agreement where both parties feel satisfied. Offer alternative solutions or payment structures, like phased deliverables, to reach a compromise.
  8. Use Silence Strategically: Don't be afraid to let comfortable silences hang after the client proposes. This can encourage them to reconsider or offer concessions.
  9. Positive Body Language & Non-Verbal Cues: Maintain confident, professional body language and positive facial expressions. Non-verbal cues can project strength and influence the negotiation atmosphere.
  10. Get Everything in Writing: Finalise the agreement with a clear contract that outlines all project details, fees, timelines, and revision policies. This protects both parties in case of any future disagreements.

Remember, negotiation is a conversation, not a battle. Applying these principles will help design agencies secure fair agreements that build strong, lasting client relationships.

Our Favourite Books

  • Secrets of Power Negotiating by Roger Dawson
  • Influence by Robert Cialdini

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