When we are rewarded for a particular behaviour, we repeat it.

Our brains are wired to change according to the dopamine loop and if you give someone a little hit of dopamine when they successfully haggle you down on cost for your first project, they will repeat that behaviour and try to haggle you down next time… and the time after that.

People repeat behaviours we reward.

Instead look for opportunities to reward them for the kind of behaviour that helps you grow a stronger business.

If you can’t, use reciprocity – show them how excited you are to work for them. When you pitch, show them endorsements from other clients or ask other clients to call them. Show them how good it feels for other clients when you’re doing their work.

Reward such clients with the occasional muffin delivery or lunch.

Send them an Amazon gift card when they pay their invoice on time.

You’ll have the margin to support it.

I’m Alan Jones, an EiR for startup accelerators, GP at M8 Ventures. Previously investor, founder, and early Yahoo PM. Opinions mine (but should also be yours).

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