Worth vs- Perceived Value

Julius Peppers, defensive end for the Chicago Bears
Julius Peppers, defensive end for the Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears signed free agent Julius Peppers to a record-setting contract in the franchise’s history.  Peppers hadn’t even stepped onto Soldier Field yet and even when he did there would be no guarantee he’d be worth the money the team paid.  

In the world of negotiating, however, worth and perceived value aren’t necessarily equal. It is your job as writer to know the difference in an effort to get your desired rate. 

“Setting fees and negotiating salaries have nothing to do with what YOU believe you are worth. It has nothing to do with what you believe your skills and talents are worth in comparison to others. It doesn’t matter what the market conditions are. Always remember it is what the market, prospects and/or hiring manager will pay to acquire YOUR services.”

You must assess the conditions and understand your intrinsic value and how it relates to the professional situation even if it’s volunteering. You must understand how your perceived value (tangible and intangible benefits) factors into each negotiation you encounter. Once you determined your skills, education, experience accomplishments and (this is huge) the PSYCHOSOCIAL (involving both psychological and social aspects) benefits you provide, then you can demand a fee or salary above what THEY believe to be your perceived value. 

Case-in-point, f
ormer Free Agent now Chicago Bear Julius Peppers ‘ Agent, Carl Carey, who holds a PhD in psychology, negotiated a contract with Chicago bears that is said to be the most lucrative contract in franchise history. At $91.5 million over six years – $20 million the first year and $42 million guaranteed, Carey allegedly beat the odds. While Peppers is said to be a premier talent I don’t think Carey beat the odds at all. I believe he saw how the Chicago Bears organization valued his client (Peppers). 

“Carey beat the odds and brokered a deal that was not supposed to happen in an environment of testy collective bargaining and agreement talks and positioning for a 2011 lockout. Peppers age (30) and questions about his motivation were supposed to work against them in the negotiating process.” 
“That deal is so good that Carl did” Peppers says. “He’s not even a full-time agent. He’s a professor at (Texas Southern)…

The bottom-line in negotiating a salary/fees is you have to understand your prospective employer/clients’ expectation. While your prospect may say, “I want nice tight copy for my website; a communication plan that will reinforce my company’s brand globally.” You must remember that’s not a goal, it is an objective.  In an effort to secure your fee, you must uncover your prospect’s ultimate goal and assure you’ll help her achieve it.

Julius Peppers and his agent, Carl Carey, believed the Bears wanted to get to the Super Bowl.  Peppers knew he could be instrumental in getting the team to the NFL playoffs. When Peppers stated his ability to the Bears’ unspoken goal it resulted in a lot of money for Peppers.  

The same can be true for you, the writer. You, first, have to discern what is really at stake for your prospect. 

Copyright (c) 2010 MH