What can “Jersey Shore” teach you about negotiating?

Have you seen MTV’s Jersey Shore? I sampled it once for 10 minutes and clicked off. I don’t suffer fools gladly, so I have little patience for someone like “Snooki” – who thinks Canada is one of the 50 states. (Don’t believe me? Check out her appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.)

But the show’s “guidos” and “guidettes” are smart about one thing: negotiating. And their recent success with MTV is worth noting. 

If you haven’t followed this story, here’s the “situation.” (And yes, show fans, pun intended.) The cast gets paid scale minimum for their first season. The show becomes an instant hit, making MTV boatloads of money. Knowing this, the cast bands together and asks for more money. MTV balks and even threatens to replace them next season. 

But the cast doesn’t cave. They know how much MTV benefits from their “services” (and boy, do I use that term loosely). And guess what? MTV winds up giving them more money – a lot more money.

Those of us in the creative fields can learn from this. When you know the value that you’ve created for your client, you shouldn’t be afraid of raising your rates when appropriate. And you should be ready to walk away if your client isn’t at least willing to negotiate.

If “Snooki” gets this, I’m sure you do, too. Have you had any Jersey Shore-type negotiation stories? Let’s hear them!

Special thanks to Alan Kravitz, copy writer/editor/consultant who founded The Infinite Inkwell.


3 thoughts on “What can “Jersey Shore” teach you about negotiating?

  1. Carolyn

    How do you *know* the value of what you’ve created? Where do you get the numbers? How do you know if your numbers agree with their perspective? I’m curious, because I don’t feel like I have the client’s whole picture.

  2. Alan Kravitz

    This is a very good question, Carolyn.
    For me, one of the best ways get the client’s perspective on value is to ask them how their audience responded to the project after it’s done, and to share the feedback and/or statistical information with me when they get it. For example, I do a lot of direct mail. Every time one of my direct mail pieces drops, I always ask the client to share the “stats” with me – good or bad. I’ve never had a client turn down this request. It shows that I’m interested in their success.
    “Value” can certainly mean different things to different people, but having these “post-mortem” shares with your client usually goes a long way in determining the big picture you’re looking for. I hope this helps.