5 Negotiation Tactics I Learned From My Kids

How kids use mental jiu-jitsu to get what they want (and how to apply these principles to your next sponsorship!)

3 Minute Read

I’ve been negotiating brand sponsorships for a decade and for a while, I thought I’d seen everything. Every complex deal. Every bizarre legal clause.

But do you wanna know my most formidable negotiating partner?

😎 intimidating, right? 😎

That’s right. My kids.

Now, you’re probably thinking, “how can a couple of little kids out-negotiate a grown man?!”

You mean…other than somehow convincing me to change their diapers and wake up at all hours of the night before they could even speak????

Well, I’ll tell you how.

They understand the basics of human motivation.

Let me explain how kids use mental jiu-jitsu to get what they want and how you can apply these principles during your next negotiation with a brand.

Hit reply with a negotiating tactic you’ve learned from an unexpected source 🤓

1. “If I eat more vegetables, can I have extra dessert?”

Translation: “If I give you more than expected, will you give me more of what I want?”

Ok, sure…while I’m not obligated to reward them for eating a balanced diet, it sure tingles the “I must reciprocate” part of my brain as a parent. 😂

When you offer a brand more than they had originally asked of you, it often allows you to upsell yourself into more moolah:

  • CPG brand came to you asking for 1 post? Offer 3 posts so they don’t have to juggle working with 2 other creators (and 3x your $).
  • Toy brand wants 2 months’ usage rights? Offer 12 months (and 6x your $).
  • SaaS tool suggested doing a webinar for their customers? Offer to do one every month with different themes (and 12x your $).

The point is that by offering to give the brand something more or different, you’ll start to become their go-to partner whenever THEY have a unique campaign idea in the future.

2. “You brushed Liam’s teeth first last night, so tonight I get to be first”

Translation: “I saw you working with those other creators last campaign; here’s why you should work with ME on this one.”

Any parents out there with more than one kid can probably relate 😅

Remember how we talked about why you shouldn’t be mad when other creators in your niche get sponsorships?

It means you’re next.

If a brand you love sponsors another creator, it’s time to pitch them why they should include YOU in their next campaign:

  • Your audience has already expressed that they’re interested in the brand’s products.
  • You can create additional assets for them to use across their social media and for paid ads.
  • You can put them in touch with other creators to help spread their message even further (while taking a finder’s fee in the process!)

With billions being poured into the creator economy this year alone, an opportunity for one of us is an opportunity for all of us. 💪

3. “You said I only had to fold these 2 baskets of laundry. If you want me to do another you gotta give me $0.50 more.”

Translation: “If brands ask me for more work that wasn’t agreed to initially, I’ve gotta charge them more.”

While there are some situations where it makes sense to do a little extra work for free (such as helping your brand/agency contact “win”)…

It’s critical to clearly define these terms in the contract, so if the brand or company starts asking for additional work, there’s no question that incremental compensation will be required.

For example, if they say:

“We were hoping you’d have combed your hair to the left for this video, please reshoot it with this in mind.”

You can pull up the agreement and give em the ol’ Khaby Lame.

4. “If I empty the trash every day this month, can I get the new Zelda: Breath of the Wild game on the Nintendo Switch?”

Translation: “I have to tell the brand what I really want. I can’t assume they know.”

I always get suspicious when my boys are suddenly very helpful for seemingly no reason… 😉

One mistake I see creators making all the time is getting five or six emails into a negotiation before actually telling the brand that they expect to be compensated!

Especially when YOU’RE the one reaching out to a brand, you need to make it clear early on that, while you love their brand and their products, you’re not gonna work for free. 👇

5. “Can I have one more drink of water before bed?” (said with puppy dog eyes 🥺)

Translation: “I’m gonna make myself so awesome to work with that the brand can’t say ‘no’.”

Even though I KNOW it’s a stalling tactic and I KNOW my boys are just feeling FOMO that April and I get to watch shows at night and I KNOW they’re not actually thirsty, I get up and I get them the dang water because they’re adorable little humans. 😂

Likewise, as a creator you should aim to do stuff that makes the brand LOVE you so they’ll wanna keep you around for as long as possible:

  • Reply to emails swiftly
  • Be polite throughout negotiations
  • Show genuine interest in their brand and that you want their campaigns to succeed
  • Promptly write up post-campaign reports
  • Pre-emptively pitch your next collaboration and show how you could help them WIN again

Believe me, a lot of creators can make life kinda difficult for brands...

So your job is to illustrate that you’re the opposite of that. ✌️

Thanks to George Blackman for contributing to this piece.

Justin Moore | Creator Wizard