Negotiating makes up one of the most essential skills in consulting. If you hone your negotiation skills, you may actually wind up with a more successful practice than someone who’s brilliant in their work. Consulting fee negotiation may be the most obvious (and financially rewarding) skill to pick up, but it’s far from the only thing you can negotiate.
As a consultant, you may be negotiating every time you talk to a client. Typical candidates include:
- project deadline changes
- scope creep
- credit terms
- project details
- requests for information (from either side)
- responses to phone calls and email messages
- your availability (especially when you get calls from clients at night or on weekends and don’t want to talk)
Some of these points can be handled up front, through consulting contracts. The more you put in writing at the start, the less you’ll need to negotiate later. Of course, putting together a contract involves as lot of negotiation too. But there may be less pressure at that point.