WHEN NOT TO SEND YOUR RATE SHEET TO BRANDS
How was your 4th?! Hope you got some time to unplug and enjoy. I just got back from a week in Montauk and am feeling so refreshed, yet so exhausted. That's possible, right?!
Today's Quick Tip is all about when and when NOT to send your rate sheet to a brand, which there is a lot of ambiguity surrounding in the blogosphere. We're going to clear that up today, and I'll also share an example of what mine looks like below.
While it's important to have a media kit and a rate sheet on hand, it's even more important to know when to send them. One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding brand negotiations is that you should have your rate sheet prepared and ready to send as soon as you hear the word "collaboration".
But here's why you're selling yourself short if you're quick to hit send...
FLEXIBILITY IS 🔑
Feel the brand out first. Often times if you sent a rate sheet before you have a conversation about the campaign goals and get a feel for the resources the brand has to offer, you'll be low-balling yourself.
ASK INITIAL QUESTIONS LIKE
What kind of a budget is X working with for this campaign? instead of Is X working with a budget for this campaign?
Phrasing it just a bit differently puts the ball in THEIR court, and gives you time and resources based on their answer to develop a great rebound.
WHAT IF THEY THROW THE BALL BACK TO YOU?
Sometimes, you'll find yourself in a situation where you have to take the first shot when it comes to the rate discussion. Try responding with, My rates are project-based, starting at $X instead of My flat fee is $X.
Once you have a better idea of the scope of work, and whether or not the brand is going to have room to work within your bottom line, THEN you can prepare your rate card; and I say prepare because your rate sheet should never be a one size fits all with flat fees (even if its made out to look like it is!).
ADJUST, ADJUST, ADJUST
ALWAYS adjust your rates based on your initial conversation with a brand. Often times, you'll find that you can bump your rate if you just take a little time to dig out that extra information.
I shifted my strategy and started thinking this way after this happened...I was approached by a major retailer to participate in a campaign. At the time, I was charging a flat fee of $800 for one Instagram post. The timing didn't feel right, and so I held off sending my rate sheet. After some back and forth conversation, I got the feeling that the brand had a larger budget than I initially thought, and when it came time to throw out a number, I thought to myself, you know what - let me bump it and see what happens. Worst case is we continue the negotiation. I sent them back a proposed $2400 fee for an Instagram post and image rights. They accepted and had a contract out within 2 hours. AND TO THINK I COULD'VE BEEN LOSING OUT ON THAT ADDITIONAL $1,600! This was huge for me at the time, and totally changed the way I approached collaboration negotiations from that point on.
Remember that you don't always have to send your rate sheet. Some of my biggest brand deals have been through a simple email exchange (which I used to think was less professional). I've learned that you have to feel out the brand and just go with it. If it feels right to send yours, then send it - but always try to gather that intel first!
SEE A SAMPLE OF MY RATE SHEET HERE
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