Negotiating a Higher Fee
As a recruiter, how can
you command a higher fee?
Well, here’s one idea
that sounds almost too good to be true—you simply ask for it. Savvy
recruiters know that at any given point in time, there are companies out
there with staffing needs so urgent, they'll do whatever it takes to get the
Like stranded airline
passengers who are sick and tired of hanging around the terminal, they're
more than willing to open their wallets, just to get going.
Besides, the fee
component isn't so critical to every client that it always trumps everything
else. In fact, I've known hiring managers—and HR managers—who have learned
that giving an incentive to recruiters can actually yield
higher quality results than beating them up on price.
Being penny-wise and
pound-foolish is a pretty common phenomenon—in all aspects of life. For
example, I have a friend who takes pride in haggling with home improvement
contractors until he gets the absolute lowest price. As a result, the
winning contractor feels slighted and does shoddy work, and my friend ends
up with a job that has to be done all over again. I keep telling him that
sometimes it's actually SMART to pay retail price—but he's
not ready accept such a radical concept.
The point is, if you're
patient and you can sidestep the demons, you'll find better angels with whom
to do business.
Fee You Deserve
But what if you keep asking for a higher fee, and you never get it? If
that's the case, you'll need to counter the fee objection with a compelling
reason why you're worth the extra money.
The phrase "Differentiate
or Die" isn't just the title of a book by advertising legend Jack Trout.
It's a concept that directly applies to premium pricing, and how to sell it.
Consider this. If you're not more:
capable of saving
your client time;
willing to work
hard and commit all your resources to succeed; or
better able to
apply creative or innovative methods than your competition,
then you haven't found a
way to differentiate yourself. And if that's the case, you probably don't
deserve a higher fee anyway.
Negotiating a higher fee
generally requires the willing participation of what I call an
affluent or a self-actualized buyer. Rarely is price is the issue
with this type of customer, who more than anything else is looking for
results—or a pleasurable buying experience.
If you find that you're
focusing mainly on price, the perceived value of what you're offering will
almost always get lost in the shuffle. It's only when value takes center
stage that price ends up in the back row where it belongs.
So, whether your strategy
is to wait in the weeds for the right type of customer to come along, or to
build up your value relative to other recruiters, a
stronger fee will make life a whole lot more enjoyable—not only for you, but
for everyone else, too.