Episode 43: 5 Tips to Handle Uncomfortable Money Conversations

Money conversations are a natural part of running any business. But for creatives (who are often people pleasers) it can lead to feelings of anxiety and overwhelm? How do we know? We’ve been there friend.

But over the years, we’ve developed habits and mindset shifts that allow us to talk about money with confidence and ease. We’re sharing a few of those tips with you today.

Episode 43 Show Notes

Key Takeaways:

  • [10:30] All of these 5 tips come from experience. These are things that you learn on the job, but it definitely gets easier
  • [10:50] “When you do hard things, life gets easier. When you do easy things, life gets harder.” 
  • [11:10] These are conversations that you have to face head-on and learn how to handle them well
  • [12:13] Tip #1: Stick to the facts
    • [13:01] Whenever you have to have this conversation, write out all the facts – things that are unequivocally true that can’t be changed
    • [14:17] If you’re feeling emotional about a situation that’s got you frustrated, use the part of your brain that is focused on facts and language to talk it out so it forces you to get rid of those emotions
    • [14:44] Talk it out with somebody that you trust like a mentor, colleague, or spouse before you have the conversation with your client
  • [15:20] Tip #2: Pick up the phone 
    • [15:33] These conversations need to happen with voice, not through text or email. There is a time and place for that, but conversations about money can get heated
    • [16:00] When you can tell that there’s something off from your client’s end, pick up the phone and talk to them directly
    • [16:56] You can always follow-up with an email that recaps what you talked about. Send them resources and good, better, best models if you have any as well as next steps of action to take
    • [17:25] Talking gets you through things faster. You can communicate empathy and emotion better
  • [20:09] Tip #3: Don’t make it personal
    • [20:21] Your first instinct might be to feel hurt and like they don’t understand or appreciate the work you’re doing, but you have to take a step back
    • [21:15] Don’t take it personally. Allow people to ask you questions about money and be curious
    • [21:44] Through your discussions, they might be able to bring something new to the table that you haven’t thought about before
    • [21:52] Approach it from a place of curiosity instead of automatically getting defensive
  • [22:44] Tip #4: Your money story is not your client’s money story (and vice versa)
    • [22:59] Everyone’s money story is different! Your clients’ money business is none of your business
    • [23:57] It’s easy to project your own story during initial consultations but you will potentially lose out on a great client
    • [24:11] Get rid of preconceived notions and prejudice you have on clients whether it be based on their race, employment or where they live
    • [27:10] Yes, oftentimes there are neighborhoods, lifestyles, and occupations that fit into your ideal clients but there are diamonds in the rough that might surprise you!
    • [27:56] Go into phone call consultation blindly, pretending you know nothing. Just feel out what they’re saying and take it from there
    • [29:59] Try taking off any budget-related questions in your initial questionnaire. It might make the initial consultation less awkward if you don’t have any assumptions
    • [31:42] If you want to put in budget questions, put in broad ranges that you can dial in later as you get to talk more about the project
    • [33:35] A good phrase to use is “I don’t know if this amount of money matches your wishlist”
  • [34:31] Tip #5: State the number without emotion
    • [34:47] Practice stating the amount as easily and emotionless as you would order dinner at a restaurant
    • [35:08] Practice with something silly — instead of saying $500, say 500 Chickens. It sounds silly but practices saying big numbers so it doesn’t overwhelm you
    • [35:33] Get comfortable saying the number in advance. It is just a number, don’t apologize for it. Whether you’re giving a proposal or discussing an outstanding invoice, it’s just a number!
    • [35:45] There’s a time and place for empathy but that does not mean you have to bend over backward to make clients pay for a service you rendered
    • [37:17] Speak with authority and land sentences with confidence. Place emphasis on the tone of your voice, especially at the end so you don’t end with a question

Resources Shared


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