Worth vs. Perceived Value

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 negotiating, however, worth and perceived value aren’t necessarily equal. It is your job as a writer to know the difference 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 your perceived value (tangible and intangible benefits) factors in each negotiation you encounter. Once you determine 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, former Free Agent now Chicago Bear Julius Peppers ‘ Agent Carl Carey, who holds a Ph.D. in psychology, negotiated a contract with Chicago bears that is the most lucrative contract in franchise history. Carey allegedly beat the odds at $91.5 million over six years – $20 million the first year and $42 million guaranteed. While Peppers is a premier talent, I don’t think Carey beat the odds. 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)…

In negotiating a salary/fee, the bottom line is understanding your prospective employer/clients’ expectations. While your prospect may say, “I want a nice tight copy for my website, a communication plan that will reinforce my company’s brand globally.” You must remember that it’s not a goal but an objective. To secure your fee, you must uncover your prospect’s ultimate goal and assure her 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. Peppers stated his ability to reach the Bears’ unspoken goal resulted in a lot of money for Peppers.  

The same can be true for you, the writer. First, you must discern what is really at stake for your prospect. 

Copyright (c) 2010 MH