I’ve become a master negotiator for my business – here’s the exact script I use when I get a low-ball offer from a potential client

Talking on phone with laptop
Explaining to potential clients that your rates and prices are set will set healthy boundaries. Five/Getty Images
  • Jen Glantz is an entrepreneur and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire.
  • After six years of running her business, Glantz says she’s learned how to respond to low-ball offers from potential clients.
  • Thank the client for their interest, and reiterate that your prices are carefully calculated and reflect your value.

I’ve been a solopreneur for over six years as the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire and my own personal brand. One of the most uncomfortable parts of running my own businesses, where I’m often the service that people hire (for weddings, speaking engagements, coaching, and consulting), is that not only am I the talent, but I’m also the one negotiating the price.

Jen glantz
Author Jen Glantz. Gaby Deimeke

Money conversations are awkward, but they’re a huge part of doing business. At first, I entertained offers that were below my set price for a service because I didn’t want to lose out on opportunities. I often said yes when someone said they didn’t have a budget to pay me what I asked for. I also didn’t have the confidence to provide reasons why my services were valuable, unique, and worth every penny.

Today, I’ve become my own lead negotiator. I’m not afraid to turn down an offer, and if a potential client wants to pay me less than I’m worth, I reply with a well-thought out response that often has them reconsider and say yes to my initial price.

If you sell and close deals on behalf of your business or are a freelancer, here are some scripts to follow to ask for more money when low-ball offers come your way.

When they ask you to work for free

One request that truly makes my blood boil is the request to work for free. If I’ve already done a consultation call and sent over a proposal, and the client then shares that they don’t have a budget for this and asks me to work for free, here’s how I reply.

“Thank you for your interest in working with [name of my company]. At this time, we’re not taking on any unpaid work. However, here’s where you can check out a resource that shares client testimonials and the immense value that comes from working with us. We hope to work with you in the future and if now isn’t the right time, feel free to keep us in mind for the future.”

Recently, I shared this exact script twice. One potential client was able to find $US2,000 ($AU2,696) in their budget to pay for my services. The other potential client wrote back saying that they’d be in touch if they could afford it – I never heard back from them.

When they want you to accept a lower rate

I often find myself reading emails from potential clients who ask me to negotiate my set rate to a lower price. When that happens, I usually reply with the script below.

“Thank you for your reply and for reviewing my proposal. We’ve carefully constructed all of our pricing to reflect our value, experience, and unique set of offerings. This is the best price we can do for the scope of work we are offering. If you’d like to revisit the proposal, we can find ways to adjust the services to meet the price you’re suggesting.”

This response allows you to save time and weed out potential clients who aren’t willing to pay you what you deserve.

When they agree to your rate but want more services included

Occasionally potential clients will agree to a set rate but ask that a handful of additional services be included for free. When that happens, here’s how I respond.

“Thank you for your reply and for reviewing my proposal. This is our set rate for the scope of work we’re offering and we’re happy to construct a new proposal with updated pricing that reflects those additional services and their set costs.”

This reply shows your boundaries as a business owner or freelancer, and allows the potential client to see that from the start.

Stay firm on your pricing and be willing to let clients walk away if they don’t want to pay what you’re asking for. Succeeding in business is knowing your value and getting paid in a consistent way that reflects that.