Getting new clients for your business may be both exciting and scary to imagine. On the one hand, engaging with new people is in your best interest, and it might be high time to take in new clients and grow your brand.

On the other, negotiations are an aspect of doing business that give several people the jitters. What will working with them be like? How easy will it be to get them to agree with your terms? How should you go about writing a business proposal, talking to a potential client over email about it, and eventually sealing the deal?

Fear not: here’s our list of things that you should remember when negotiating with a client. Hopefully, these will impart you with a little more perspective, and a little more confidence in looking around for new engagements.

business negotiate


  1. They’re a team of real people

    It holds true: behind every name is a face. The businesses you’ll be working with comprise of real individuals, with real dreams. The process of sales pitching, in particular, is driven by a highly human element. Avoid coming off as too robotic when reaching out to a client, such as sending cold, impersonal one-liner emails. Introduce yourself warmly and invite them to have a conversation with you after reading your proposal.

  2. Recognize that they might be hesitant at first

    Negotiations can also be stressful on the part of your client. They might be careful about contracting for your type of service for the first time, or switching over to you after contracting someone else in the past. Don’t pressure them to say yes too quickly, and emphasize that they can ask you questions after you’ve pitched the main idea.

  3. Your business proposal is probably not the only one they’re looking at

    Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you’re your client’s only option. Try to brainstorm about what your competitors are offering, and make your proposal stand out from theirs. Add a little color and pop to your proposal, link or attach to relevant multimedia content, and showcase what previous happy clients have said about you.

  4. Their goals and objectives are different from everyone else’s

    For sure, when you’re pitching your proposal, you’ll be comparing the previous work you’ve done with the work you’ll want to do for them, emphasizing the similarities. But don’t forget that your client has a unique sense of identity, works within a particular industry, and might demand a particular approach. Treat them accordingly.

  5. Be mindful of their budget

    The financial aspect is one of the hardest components of closing a deal. One of the things you must learn is how to sell your services without selling yourself short. At the same time, it helps to have some foresight about how much a company can pay you for the scale of your services, especially if they’re a small-to-medium enterprise (SME).

  6. Be honest and manage your expectations with each other

    Come into the proposal stage knowing that you’ll be out to fulfill a particular function, be it planning for an event, designing a company website, or increasing social media traffic. Commit to that main goal, and don’t over- or under-sell yourself. Be honest from the get-go with your potential client about your range of skills, proficiency with tools and programs, and feasible working hours.

  7. It’s a partnership, and not just a transaction

    Take this opportunity not only to complete a pitch, but to form a great working relationship with your prospective client. Who knows? You could close this upcoming deal, earn a new client’s loyalty, and be renewed for future projects. Hopefully, the proposal stage ends with some great new beginnings for both of you!