With a mission to transform lives, She Negotiates gives women the tools and support to take responsibility for closing their own personal income and leadership gaps. “We start with the pocketbook because economic power is political power. And without political power, we have no voice. No presence. No platform. No credibility,” the site says. What sets She Negotiates apart? They know the personal, cultural and political landscapes that impact one’s ability to ask for what they want and move forward. The site publishes blogs posts and book recommendations, and offers virtual training, video tutorials, as well as consulting services for a fee.
by Lisa Gates
If you are a consultant or solopreneur and you're offering a free consultation to give potential clients a slice, a sense of your value and skill, how is it going? Is it working? Or are you letting people pick your brain for free and off they go?
I think we all understand the motivation. You want to be of service, and to be known and valued so that people hire you.
But if we're truthful, the deeper motivation for giving our best stuff away is that we feel squeamish about asking for our value up front. Instead, we do the job before we get the job. Not good for wallets, reputations and credibility.
Try a Strategy Session. Think about offering a 60- or 90-minute strategy session at a discounted rate. If your hourly rate is $200, you might offer a 90-minute session for the same rate.
What you can give freely is the 10 minutes it takes to get connected, find out what your potential client's challenge is, and give them the opportunity to hire you for one of your business services, or a strategy session.
If you aren't ready for that approach, here are a few ideas for making you free consultations more fruitful:
Ask diagnostic, open-ended questions:
Get inside your potential client's pain and frustration by asking questions that reveal the full range of their goals, challenges and needs.
Empathize and be authentic:
Tell people you understand their dilemma. Assure them that the territory they're in is familiar to you, and something you are well trained and experienced to solve.
Focus on the big deal benefits of solving those challenges:
People who want to land a job or get a raise or build a better website or write a better press release, are motivated by what they value most. Yes, they want to solve the issue at hand, but what's more important are the values they will honor by doing so - like freedom, security, joy, beauty, and possibility. So rather than focusing solely on the features or process of how you work, ask them questions that help them understand why they want what they want.
Share your strategy
Once you've built trust, you can then focus on the features or the process of how you work. Once your potential client is invested in the benefits of your solution, will they be more open to hearing how you work.
Give your potential clients some homework
This is where you give some of your best advice, and some direction for handling a particular piece of the work.
- If you're a website designer, you might ask them to complete some branding questions.
- If you're a productivity trainer, you might ask them to survey their employers about their email program issues.
- If you're a divorce mediator, you might give them a few pointers for having a conversation with their partner about a sticky issue.
- If you're a landscaper, you might ask them to take photos of gardens they love.
Ask for the business
Diagnostic questions are also helpful in closing. You might say, "I'd love to work with you. What's your timeline for getting this project handled?" Or, "When would you like to begin?" Or, "What else do you need to know to get started?"
Use NO as an opportunity for clarity
If your potential client is unsure and not ready to commit, ask more diagnostic questions, like:
- What seems to be in the way of making a decision?
- What do you need to know to be comfortable saying yes?
- Who are the decision makers?
- What have you budgeted for this?
- Would a payment plan be helpful?
By the way, NO is also an opportunity to offer the Strategy Session as a way of dipping their toes in before committing to your program or service.
1. This whole generational “work for free’ thing is not the way things have always been – its a dysfunctional feature of Great Recession where everyone was pinching pennies and a class of unemployed young people were available to be exploited.
2. We often “hired” free interns simply because you were being hawked by your universities and graduate and professional schools. We’re sorry. We weren’t thinking clearly. When we were young, we could live off of $200/month and still pay our enormous tuitions somewhere between $600 and $3,000/year. We interned. Why not you? Because we didn’t graduate burdened by tens of thousands of dollars in student debt. Our debt was manageable. Forgive us. We weren’t thinking clearly.
3. Anyone in business – including non-profits – must generate enough money to operate. They must pay their gas and electric bills for the power they receive. You should not give your power away free just because some organizations don’t believe they can afford it.
4. There’s a one percent difference in obtaining paid employment for young people who work for free and those who do not. In other words, if you’re working for free, you only have a one percent advantage over your presumed competitors in a lazy job market.
5. Many employers don’t give internships any credence at all when reviewing your resumes. They figure, “she worked for free; this ‘job’ doesn’t tell me whether she was good enough to be hired.”
6. If you get a paid job doing clerical work in your field, you can promote yourself there while you’re being paid and rise up through the ranks (it’s a low bar to move from a clerical position where some people are working at full capacity to a more professional position)
7. You are depriving yourself of future benefits when you’re not paying payroll taxes – social security, for instance, the pay-out from which is based on your lifetime earnings.
8. If you’re working for free, you’re likely displacing clerical workers who make a living doing clerical work and cannot find jobs because – among other things – recent grads are doing their work for free.
9. No matter how little people have told you you should think of yourselves, you are a store of enormous value. If you weren’t, why did you go into debt to ready yourself for the job market . . . tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. In a market economy, value is exchanged for value. It’s the way the economy works.
10. I am stealing from you if I use the value you possess to make my business more efficient and my work more effective. STEALING!!
Last week at ForbesWoman -- full post here. Excerpt below.
The most competitive and ambitious women in the land are stifling themselves?
Looks like it.
- women law students are less likely than their male classmates to participate in classroom discussions
- women law students are less likely to seek advice from their professors
- women law students are more likely to be motivated by fear (that’s ok, of course, so long as you do what the river guides tell you to do – paddle through your fear!)
Still, we graduate from law school and often do so with high honors or we wouldn’t represent such a large proportion of the new associate ranks in the best firms in the land. All first year associates are frightened. They don’t know a thing, really. Certainly not how to practice law.
It Takes Courage!
It’s a very adult task to speak up for a major American corporation likeFord Motor Company (NYSE:F) in court; to make an objection to the question asked by the deep-voiced man of advanced years sitting across the conference table from you harassing your client in a deposition. It takes courage to tell a jury of twelve strangers that your client was innocent even though five by-standers identified him as the guy who robbed the Circle K (CLKSF:OTCUS).
So we “woman up” when we get that first job and speak up, right?
According to a recent study, apparently not.
We argue only 15% of all cases heard by the Supreme Court. One of those 15% tells Stephanie Rabiner that “women don’t like verbal jousting” and are “horrified” by the controversy it might cause to take a case to the highest court in the land.
There’s Work to Be Done
O.K. You don’t care that much about money. And you’d really rather have a balanced lifestyle, which you’re hoping will allow you to just go to work, put in your hours, come home and tend to the children who, you hope, you’ll be able to comfortably accommodate into your work-life. You ski. You travel to exotic places. You want to buy a home – an acquisition thatChris Buckley says gives you the right to use the Yuppie Nuremberg Defense - I have a mortgage to pay.
That life you’re imagining rests on the shoulders of the women who broke this path for you. But that’s ok. We didn’t want to create a generation of women who were grateful. We wanted to create a generation of women who would stick up for themselves and for their sisters.
As Gloria Steinem once said, “it’s ok if young women don’t remember whoI am. It’s only important that they remember who they are.”
But listen up ladies, women, sisters, fellow barristers and advocates. There’s work to be done in the world. You have the education and the training necessary to make a difference at the highest levels of power. And if you choose not to use that power . . . well . . . at least have the decency to feel just a little bit guilty about it.
Here’s What You Have the Power to Change according to Nicholas Kristof’s Half the Sky.
- more than 107 million women are missing from the globe today
- more girls have been killed in the last fifty years because of their gender than men were killed in all the wars of the 20th century
- more girls are killed in this routine gendercide in any one decade than people were slaughtered in all the genocides of the twentieth century
- every year another 2 million girls worldwide disappear because of gender discrimination
- of the 600,000 to 800,000 people who are trafficked across international borders every year, 80% are women and girls, who are imprisoned , beaten and raped many times every day of the week to serve the world’s sex trade
- the global sex trade is larger in absolute terms than the entire Atlantic slave trade was in the 18th and 19th centuries
Feel like speaking up in class yet?
How about that bill pending in an American state legislature that wouldmake the murder of a physician providing abortion services to your sisters, your daughters and your mothers justifiable homocide?
You’re a lawyer. Doesn’t that seem wrong to you?
No well-behaved woman ever made history. Nor did she end the international slave trade in little girls.
Ready to misbehave yet?
"Victoria Pynchon's negotiation skills crush cultural bias, gender barriers and even fears about the tumultuous economy. She taught me to conquer my fears with courage and navigate contentious negotiation, while demanding my market value. Her one-on-one supportive coaching techniques trump transformation. Working with her has triggered a personal evolutionary spiral into a new way of doing business with confidence, the fruits of which have knocked down walls in every part of my life. I felt supported through the entire process and experienced immediate results."
Judy Martin, Business Journalist & Founder WorkLifeNation.com
"Lisa Gates reached into the very core of my being in order to bring me back into the reality of my dreams. Her talk is real and her methods concise. I no longer doubt what I'm doing...instead I speak, write, and live, knowing exactly why I do what I do and I realize that the goals I have set for myself are entirely up to me and attainable."
Cicily R. Janus, Writing Away Retreats