One of the hardest things to learn when you start a new business is how to ask for money. Asking for money, whether you realize it or not, is the essential element to any new business. You might be asking for money in exchange for your services as a freelance photographer, or you might be asking investors to fund your startup. No matter why you’re asking for money, the basic process is the same. For many people, it can be an unnatural and awkward experience at first. In this 3-part article series, I’ll teach you some tricks based on my work as a lawyer to help you ask for money in an easy and straightforward way. To begin, let’s talk about setting the stage to ask for money by being organized.
How to Prepare to Ask for Money
In the first step to Asking for Money, you’ll have to talk to your potential client about whether or not they want to give you money for the services, opportunity, or consumer item you’re providing, during a meeting. After the meeting, you’ll follow up with an email and try to move the process forward.
Being clear and straightforward in these first steps will lay the foundation for an easier working relationship, and can help simplify the rest of the negotiation process.
Let’s start with the meeting. Meetings are ideally both productive and engaging. To encourage this outcome, be organized. Being prepared and well organized is an easy way to signal to your potential client, investor, or customer that you are a sensible and smart person worth spending money on.
Go into every meeting prepared to lead it. Even if someone else takes the wheel, you’ll be prepared to steer the conversation in the direction that most benefits you.
Pro tips for getting organized to Ask for Money:
- Know who you’re talking to. Do a quick search and find out what you have in common, or if there is anything in the person’s background that you are interested in and can ask a question about.
- What are you discussing? Be prepared to guide the conversation, and focus on getting to the next steps and deliverables. Have an agenda of topics you want to cover and a few talking points ready. Bring notes on any specifics you have so that you can be prepared to answer more detailed questions.
- It’s better to be accurate than quick. To avoid misquoting on costs or deadlines, take the time to answer questions accurately in your follow-up email. If you underbid or over-promise, you’ll be in a difficult position when you have to correct the mistake or absorb the cost of it.
- Next, after you have this amazing meeting, get ready to take it to the next level with your nicely organized and timely follow-up email. The email should have three main elements:
- The Recap of what you discussed in the meeting
- Answers to any questions that arose
- Next Steps to make the deal happen
When you write the email, avoid common hedging language like “I think”, “I would” or “maybe” in situations where you are certain. Be confident in your opinions, assertions, and expertise.
In addition to recapping and moving the deal forward, the email is the first step towards a binding contract. It is also an opportunity to make sure that everyone is on the same page about the essential elements of the deal, so take the time to be thorough.
The response to your email will either be “thank you, but we are going in a different direction” or “thank you, let’s move on to the next steps.” This is when the negotiation on the details of the deal will begin, and when you’ll have to start Asking for Money.
In the next article in this series, I’ll tell you how to negotiate in the real world.[“Source-ndtv”]