Client Wants a Discount? Don’t talk dollars, talk value

by Greg Savage on October 21st, 2010
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It’s a fact of recruiting life that clients will push you to negotiate your fees. And with so many recruiters quick to drop fee percentages to secure briefs, that can be a hard discussion to deal with.

The starting point for successful fee negotiations is, strangely enough, to get the conversation off the fee percentage, and on to the question of what it is your fee is actually for.

And of course, bundled up in that conversation, is your ability to sell your differentiator. What have you got and what do you do that gives your client special value? That’s where you want to focus. At Firebrand Talent Search we emphasize our niche focus, our unmatched access to creative, marketing and digital talent, our multiple branches in Asia Pacific and Europe, our specialist knowledge and understanding of clients needs, our proprietary testing software which means we know candidates have the design skills we say they do, and then we wrap all this up in 110% money back guarantee.

But all recruiters will have differentiators, and it’s important you know how to articulate them.

So when a client does ask you to drop your fee, go through your entire recruitment process explaining all the things you do to secure the right person. Take your time. Start at the beginning and don’t miss anything out. Talk about your screening, your interviewing, your talent generation strategies such as social media and networking. Talk about your database and the fact you have several offices tapping into talent. Explain how you act as an advocate for the client, and how you will qualify each candidate in terms of fit, salary and skills. When you drill down on this, you find we do a lot!

That’s the point. Tell your client.

Then, and only then, ask the client why she feels a reduced fee is appropriate. This is important. Get the ball firmly into the client’s court. The client is asking for a discount. She should be squirming – not you. When it comes to fee discounts you don’t have to justify why not – she has to justify why! It’s a shift in the dynamic and it’s very powerful indeed.

Its not as simple as this of course, many clients will continue to push for a fee discount regardless, and then you have to make a commercial decision. But the starting point is not to haggle over a number. Get the attention of the service you provide.

Talk about what you do, explain your process and your insights and your connections and your value adds.

That’s a far better place to start a discussion on discounts!

This post was syndicated with approval from author. The original post can be seen on The Savage Truth

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