A couple of weeks ago, I quoted a client for an overseas engagement. I received a note saying I was now booked in a coach to fly to the venue. In my quote, in the fine print, my terms included flying by business class (catching multiple red-eyes is not fun). the client hadn’t seen this and assumed, from our more general email exchanges, that I would be OK with coach class. After all, all those traveling from Singapore from their firm were also flying coach class. Stop for a moment.
Examine your emotional reaction to this situation. One of my mentees on my SUMMIT Speaker Success programme with whom I discussed this also admitted that he’d probably just say ‘OK’ and ‘go with the flow’. I paused and gave it a long think. As I began to separate the emotional context eg “let’s not be difficult’, ‘coach is good for the rest of them, why not me?” from the situation, I realised that one of the WORST enemies to our success in the speaking world is that we fail to separate our emotional responses from business realities.
Second, even if we do so, we lack the ability to articulate what should happen next.
- my terms were clear in the formal agreement,
- additional monies ( x 3 coaches) was NOT coming from an individual employee’s wallet,
- so what if the rest are flying coach? They may be on a daytime flight. owing to my schedule, I had to catch flights and in and out using a red-eye flight. Most importantly, the client did NOT use this fact to ‘persuade’ me to accept a coach class ticket,
- 99% of these others flying in coach aren’t having to deliver a programme immediately afterward to 150 regional staff. So – how would I say it?
Research from Northwestern University for example shows a big reason why so many women don’t get what they deserve in terms of wages includes a proportion who won’t even ASK (let alone negotiate their salary upwards) vs men, for fear of social penalisation (that’s a whole book in itself) -So I sent a cheery email pointing out that the quote actually had that inside. I then said – “I know I made a small concession on my fee, but I don’t recall making a concession on the class of travel. Could you check and let me know?”
So by being polite and by ASKING, I got the client coming back with apologies and rectifying the mistake. My hunch is that HALF of the speakers in such a situation would have let it slide. But if you learn how to ASK appropriately, you can “triple” as in this case, the benefits.