Money like fire is good and badTalking about money

Not talking about money can cause serious problems in business, relationships, and health. So can talking about money if we get it wrong. Many of us see money in the way prehistoric man saw fire—we know it is something powerful, but we’re not too sure what to do with it or how to handle it.

Just like prehistoric people we either

  • rush in, get burnt and say never again…that fire is too dangerous for me
  • back off and stay shivering and wishing we could move closer….
  • Or we watch the fire, watch others, come a bit closer, experiment, get used to the heat, then closer, we learn to use it the way that suits us and use what resources we have to control the process.

We know how we would like to feel and what we should do or say, but when it comes down to it what happens? Our flight or fight response takes over, and we let our primitive instincts handle these situations ending up either coming on too strong or feeling frustrated…

As a mediator, I see instances of people locked in conflict because a conversation about money either wasn’t had, handled badly or had too late.  So here are some tips on how to talk about money with grace.

Talking about prices with G.R.A.C.E.

G. Get the story right in your head. Are you are telling yourself that you aren’t worth it, they won’t pay, they will think you are mercenary or that you are bad at talking about money? Take a couple of deep breaths, and  tell yourself

  • What I do is worth the money I am asking
  • The customer will be happy and want to pay
  • I trust that the person will pay
  • this is a good chance to practice my communication skills.
  • It is likely that I will end up with a good customer and the money.

If you keep this in mind before you have the conversation, you will set the tone.

R. Reflect on how you could ask—think about how you would feel if you were the customer. Everyone likes to contribute and be treated well.

A. Ask what they expect and when they want. If you can do this early on or before you meet them so much the better.

C. Clarity about what you are offering, terms and conditions and any offers. Be honest if they can get it cheaper elsewhere, and say why you charge what you do—I use high-quality materials, so it costs more (or I take more time etc.

E. Expect that some people will turn you down, and don’t take it personally. Encourage them to come back to you if they have any problems.

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will always remember how you made them feel”  Maya Angelou

Four final tips

  1. Talk about money as a tool. See what you do as a fair exchange.
  2. Remove the blame. Don’t take it personally. Be calm
  3. Be courteous
  4. Learn
  5. Keep the end goal in mind
  6. Access help