I was with a recruitment company last week, helping develop and improve their face to face meetings. They met with a prospect and discuss terms and shared their fees were 20%. The prospect said, “they’ve never paid more than 12% for any recruitment agency and don’t intend to now.”

My client explained he couldn’t possibly reduce his fees to 12% and said: “how about we agree 15%?” And after some hesitation, the prospect agreed and they shook hands.

When the prospect left the office my client turned to me and said: “I’m a good negotiator aren’t I?”

I replied, “you’re horrendous and that wasn’t negotiating!”

Dumbfounded, he looked me like I was mad and said “I won the client and I only had to move a little on our fees. To be honest, 17% is the highest fee I’ve ever got, so I’m happy with 15%.”

My explanation was this: you discounted, not negotiated.

A negotiation could have been, if I’m prepared to do 15% fees, I want the

Following conditions:

  1. I want my entire fees paid in full, not 50/50 payment terms
  2. I want to remove the rebate terms
  3. Once I demonstrate how good I am, I’d like to record a video testimonial where you share your feedback.
  4. I’m aware from your LinkedIn profile, you work with X Company; again once we demonstrate that we are the best recruitment agency you’ve ever dealt with, I’d like you to kindly introduce me to them.

If you can agree to that, only then will I give away 5% fees.

Remember discounting is giving away profits, negotiating is trading one thing for other things.

Never give anything away for nothing!