When Clients Want You to “Cut Them a Deal”

In business, everyone wants a deal. Everyone wants to get the most for the least. It’s the nature of the beast. I am not against giving a “deal”, but not on the standardized prices. First, let me share a learning lesson with you and then I will come back to how to give clients a deal.

Years ago, a man called me to dance at a birthday bash he was throwing for his wife. I quoted him the standard price at the time and he kept trying to negotiate $50 less. He gave me the sob story about how he could not afford it because he had to pay the caterers, etc… and could I please cut him a deal just this once. He successfully weakened me and I did. This was the first and last time I caved. When I pulled up to their house, I realized it was in a wealthy neighbourhood in Toronto. When I got inside, there was an open bar and six African drummers added to the evenings entertainment. Surely, this guy was not hard up for cash. And to boot, they put me on an hour late!

I learned that night this rule of thumb in business. It’s part of business to try to get a deal EVEN IF THE PERSON CAN AFFORD IT! If people cannot afford to pay you properly, then they either won’t bother to call you or they should not consider hiring a professional dance artist. Likewise, some people may want you to cut them a deal because they think that Toronto professional belly dancers aren’t worth the standardized rates. Don’t let them undervalue you.

And you know what? The same man called me a year later to dance at another party he was throwing in a restaurant and wanted to hire me again. Again, he tried to get me to dance for less. His reason – because he was paying for everyone’s bill. Why should I dance for less because he decided to pay for everyone’s bill and hire me for entertainment? I kindly and professionally stood my ground and stuck to the proper rate. I was very clear that my rate is what I am worth and I will not undercut the standard rate. He told me that he would think about it and call me back. He called and he hired me for the proper rate!

Now, sometimes you will lose the gig. That’s life. But when you respect yourself, people will respect you and you will maintain your professional reputation.

So, how do you give the client a deal without cutting the price? Simple, add five minutes to your show, add an extra prop, etc…be creative. Give them value, not cheapness. The “deal” is value, not price!

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