It’s one of those beautiful situations in which you’re in a great conversation about your work. Everything is going so well.
Until the talk turns to money.
Suddenly you’re out of synch and that wonderful connection you had is broken.
Trying to appear disinterested creates a disconnect
Here’s what happens in so many conversations with prospective clients. You don’t want them to think you are in it for the money, and you really don’t want to work for free. Somehow, it seems, you have to manage the conversation so that they don’t think you’re after their money, while simultaneously persuading them that your work is worth paying for.
Do you see the irony? You want more than anything to be sincere and professional, but when you manage the conversation, you risk coming across as manipulative, or clumsy, or both.
That’s why so many conversations in which you try to appear disinterested go wrong. When the reality is that you *do* have a vested interest, trying to repress or deny it creates a disconnect, the opposite of what you intend. To pretend otherwise gets in the way of authentic pricing.
The problem is being in their business
Byron Katie talks about three kinds of business: my business, your business, and God’s business. (If you have trouble with the G word, think of it as Reality’s business.) Being in anyone’s business but your own creates suffering.
When you focus on what prospective clients think of you, there’s nobody on your side. You feel ungrounded and unsupported because you have left your business to hang out in theirs. You’re over there in their heads, and there’s nobody home in yours!
The solution is coming home to your business
Authentic pricing means being in your own business.
Imagine for a moment that you aren’t the least bit worried about what other people in a money conversation are thinking about you.
You have the same set of intentions: to treat them as human beings (not dollar signs) and to be well compensated for your work, but you’re not preoccupied with managing the conversation to control their reactions.
It’s a whole new movie when you let go of the outcome
What they think is their business. The outcome is God’s business. Your business is to be on your own side.
Being on your own side doesn’t mean being terminally self-absorbed, greedy, and wanton. You don’t want to be those things, so why would you choose to be?
(Sure, you can have a greedy thought, but it’s just a thought. It doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t act on it. When you are on your own side you don’t need to act on it because you don’t feel desperate.)
Being on your own side is your job
In a conversation about money (as in every situation), your job is to be on your own side.
When you are on your own side, you can evaluate what’s right for you. You can turn inside when you feel uncertain and affirm your good intentions. You can run the numbers, research the market, and feel into your heart to discover what you want to charge, then ask for it gracefully. You can practice authentic pricing.
When you are on your own side, you free other people to be on their own sides, too. Your job is to tell your truth and make clear requests. Their job is to respond as they see fit.
When you are your own side you can take no with grace
The difference between a request and an ultimatum is that when you make a request, you are willing to take no for an answer. That frees you up to practice authentic pricing.
That’s incredibly liberating. When you are willing to take no for an answer, there’s no limit to what you are free to ask for except your values and imagination. When you are willing to hear no for an answer, your creativity blossoms.
And the key, of course, to being able to take no for an answer is to stay in your business.
To be on your own side.
Being on your side closes the gap
Being on your side closes the gap between you and other people in money conversations. That’s because when you’re at home with you, you’re not trying to manage their perceptions or reactions. You are present and available.
That’s a good place from which to have a good conversation about money.
Photo by Florian SEROUSSI via Flickr