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5 Ways to Get Paid What You’re Worth

| November 13, 2012 | 13 Comments

Does this happen to you?

A new lead contacts you out of the blue inquiring about your services.  And at first, there’s euphoria.  You know, it’s the kind of thrill that only an entrepreneur knows.

You spend a couple of days or weeks conversing through email and finally you manage to set up a meeting with the lead.

During the meeting, you do a bang up job on your sales presentation.  You hit every note, cover every point, and blow it out of the water.

You’re pumped

Then, your new lead says “I’m only looking to spend half of what you’re price is.”

And when you jump into negotiations, you realize this new lead doesn’t just want to work with you, they want your soul.  And they want it cheap.

They’re constantly demanding you do more work, provide more services, while weaseling every last penny they possibly can out of your margins.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Below, I’ve listed 5 tactics that will show you how you can tell this new lead to “go to hell” and get paid what you’re worth.

Be Seen as the Expert

Let me tell you a quick story.  When I started my first company in college, I was looking to hire a PR firm to help me get the word out about us.

I attended a seminar where the speaker talked for an hour, giving tips on how to use PR to get exposure and build revenue.

After the speech, I did some networking and was pitched a half dozen times by PR consultants who wanted to work for me.

But you know what?  The only consultant I had any intention of hiring was the one that spent the past hour speaking.

They had established themselves as an expert, earned my trust, and gave me insight on their approach to public relations.

Establishing yourself as an expert doesn’t have to be as difficult as writing a New York Times best seller.  It could be speaking regularly at events and writing guest posts on popular blogs (like this one).

Facts tell, stories sell

Your customers will forget all of the facts you tell them the moment you leave.  But they will always remember a good story.

The best stories to tell are case studies that relate to your prospect.  But unfortunately, most entrepreneurs mess this up.  It took me a long time to learn how to present a case study.

Most of us jump right to the facts.  For instance, “Here is how our product helped XYZ corporation.”

This is OK, but it leaves out the most important part of storytelling, the emotional connection you create with your audience.

The next time you present a case study, break it down into three parts.

  1. What was life like before the prospect met you?  How were they struggling?  How much money were they losing?  How was this effecting the prospects home life?
  1. What did you do to fix the problem?  How easy was it to work with you?  At what point did the prospect start seeing results?
  1. And finally, what is their life like now? Are they earning more money?  Spending more time with their families?

When you tell a story, your job is to show your prospect a better life, not just present the facts.

Analyze Quantitatively

Sometimes stories aren’t going to work, and you’re going to have to use logic.  When I sold marketing services to clients, here’s what I did.

First, I did a detailed analysis of the company’s current situation.  How much traffic are they getting to their site?  Where is the traffic coming from?  What are the conversions on the website?  What is the length of the sales cycle?

The good news is, when it comes to online marketing, almost every company is underperforming.

Then I would present my findings and show them how much I can help them increase monthly sales, using three different numbers:  A conservative revenue increase, a moderate revenue increase, and an aggressive revenue increase.

Finally, I would set my price based off of the conservative revenue increase.  For instance, if I thought that I could generate an additional $100,000 per month in revenue for the business, then I would charge $10,000 per month.

This would be nice sale for me, and my prospect would be very happy to get a 10 to 1 return on his money.

Create Scarcity

If you’re in a service based business, then creating scarcity will come naturally to your business.  There just aren’t enough hours in the day to work with every client or prospect who wants to hire you.

Right now, I’m going to give you a script that will help you create scarcity into your sales pitch, but I want to warn you, it’s going to take some cahones to do.

At the end of your sales presentation, here’s what you say:

“Listen (Prospect’s First Name), due to the nature of our business, we can only take on two new customers each month.  And we pride ourselves on working companies who are doing interesting things.

Why should we work with you?  What are some of the most interesting things you have going on right now?”

Flip the tables on them.  Make your prospects APPLY to work with you.

One note of caution here.  This tactic will work 90% of the time.  But the 10% of the time it doesn’t work, there is no way to recover the negotiation and you’ve lost a potential sale.

Be Willing to Walk Away

I wasn’t paid what I was worth because I was the shrewdest negotiator.  Yes, I used the tactics above, but anyone can learn them.

The reason I got paid what I was worth was because I was willing to walk away from the deal.  If I didn’t like the way the negotiation was going, I politely left the table.

This is hard for a lot of entrepreneurs because they feel like they need to sign up that next client in order to pay the bills, or grow the company.

Don’t get me wrong, this feeling is very real.

The trick to being able to walk away is to have a constant supply of new leads and prospects waiting to work with you.

The first time you’re able to tell your prospect to “Go to hell” (under your breath of course) when they demand your soul for pennies on the dollar, is the most liberating feeling in the world.

You’ll finally feel free.

The Bottom Line

Look, getting paid less than you’re worth is demoralizing, soul sucking, and just not good for business.

It used to happen to me so often that I wanted to throw in the towel several times.

The truth is, there’s no magic pill that is going to turn everything around for you over night.  It’s going to take some work becoming an expert and creating a long line of leads and prospects that will help you walk away from deals.

So, let’s take the first step together.

Go to the blog directory Alltop.com and find a blog in your niche that accept guest posts.  Pitch the blogger a topic relevant to the blog’s audience, and write a great guest post.

If you do this once a week, you’ll be well under way to becoming an expert, driving highly qualified buyers to your website, and creating a waiting list of potential customers.

Bio: Greg Digneo is the founder of Cloud Marketing Labs, where he helps social media consultants and agencies work with 5 new, high paying clients per month.

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Category: Personal Branding, Startup Advice

  • http://twitter.com/RoyeProductions Roye Productions

    This is an excellent article, well written. I have learnt so much in so little time.


  • http://www.transpiral.org/ Yasmine Khater

    This is an awesome article, I can definitely relate, I am now working on being the expert, I spoke at the largest networking event for women with over 1000 women last month, running the young leaders track, and in two weeks TEDxWOMEN, and the amount of emails I have been getting has really impressed me. Now I need to work on have two enrollment for my coaching program and finalize my website.

  • http://www.callboxinc.co.uk/ Hannah Hamilton

    Well, getting underpaid is not just demoralizing but also degrading. On the lighter side of this, there are still ways to close the deal and get the payment you deserved. With the ‘walk away’, make it your last resort. I mean if you can still talked it over and settle the cost then maybe, we can avoid the walk away part. Anyway, thanks for the post. I like it very much. :)

  • http://twitter.com/ulricogc Ulrico

    Nice article. I’d like to add one tip: “Play yourself down on one thing” – most people sell the world and try justify why they’re not just expelling hot air. We have an intrinsic habit of over-selling ourselves. One of the most successful ways to gain trust and QUICK is to tell the client one thing that you WON’T do justice to. If you’re able to admit to not being good at something, people will associate your belief of being good at something else that much more. Example:

    “If you’re looking for a digital campaign, we’ve dabbled in it but are by no means experts, above-the-line is what we love and are truly great at”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/parthiva.thaker Parthiva R. Thaker

    The point being made here that you should fight for what your are worth is an excellent one. Most people just settle for less as they are afraid to ask for what they are worth, but I am sure the tips given in this article will greatly assist a person in getting their worth.

  • http://twitter.com/MondliMabaso Mondli Gigz Mabaso

    Great Article!

  • Greg Digneo


    Congrats on your speaking engagements! Speaking is probably the best way demonstrate yourself as an expert.

    I hope you let us know how it goes at TEDxWomen.

  • Greg Digneo

    Hey Ulrico,

    Great advice. Be an expert in one thing. Once you sell once, you can always upsell.

  • Pingback: 5 Ways to Get Paid What You're Worth : Under30CEO | Marketing Planning and Strategy | Scoop.it

  • http://www.transpiral.org/ Yasmine Khater

    awesome, thanks for the great article :)

  • Pingback: » 5 Ways to Get Paid What You’re Worth Morteza Pazoki's

  • http://www.online-business-virtual-assistant.com Shily-Virtual Office Assistant

    This is a fascinating piece, and I find myself chewing on it.

  • http://www.transpiral.org/ Yasmine Khater

    hi greg, thought to share with you the tedx talk, it just came out https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1KYcop98ITc