For a negotiation to be flawless, it has to bring benefits to both parties. I believe anyone can develop his/her negotiation skills by the means of focused exercise and that’s why I wrote this post. Success starts at the approach. First, you understand, and then you get yourself understood. Pinpoint the interests of both sides and build alternatives that benefit both. Present your proposal based on the interests and needs of the other, showing the solutions and benefits. Finally, keep in mind that the negotiation doesn’t end when the agreement is signed, but when it’s achieved. Read the tips below to understand more:
1. Know your company
Know your goals and classify them in order of importance. Do you need to hire a contractor? To build a new customer base? Look at the goals in the short and long term of your business and take it to trading.
2. Have an alternative
Never negotiate without alternatives. Set some clear boundaries before you begin to negotiate what you can and cannot compromise and be ready to finish the negotiation if these conditions are not met. If the other party is not able to provide a good offer for both, better stop the discussion and look for another supplier/partner. Be willing to question the truthfulness and firmness of the views of the other side. That means asking for what you want and not accept as first answer “no”. Remember: in situations of confrontation, objectivity goes hand in hand with good education.
Which options they have and what pressures they are suffering? Do they have a deadline to solve the problem? Do they tend to prefer shorter or annual contracts? What’s their budget? When you plan and anticipate, you feel more secure. Write down all the ways that the conversation might lead. In the best of all worlds, you and the other side end up finding common ground, e.g., the same growth strategy or the entry into new markets. That would make the deal more interesting. Go prepared with arguments to support your offer. Gather details of similar negotiations. Your position will be strengthened if you indicate, e.g., the percentage of market share that the other party can gain when accepting your terms, or how much they can save at the end of the year with your services.
4. Value your business
Discover ways to show the value of the solution you are proposing. Remember that the responsible for defending your interests is you. That is, if you don’t ask for more, the other side won’t improve the offer. The same reasoning applies if you’re buying. However, use this strategy with caution if there’s a good long-term partner there.
5. Become a good listener
Good negotiators are like psychologists: ask the questions and then keep silent to hear all that they can. Who talks more gives more information. Not to mention that many conflicts could be solved if the negotiators heard more. Do yourself the test. On your next negotiation, see how long you can keep silent, without interrupting the other side. You’ll be surprised.
6. Think about what you can yield
Think about the areas you can be more flexible in order to protect others where you can’t yield. For example, can you accept a higher price in exchange for extended payment terms? But it’s important to think about it before the meeting. During the meeting, make the other side recognize each concession you make: “If you do that, I can do it.” It’s essential that the other party leaves with a sense of victory, that it has done a great deal. For this to happen, keep some cards to the end of trading.
7. Evaluate your resources
We live in an economy that encourages sharing, where companies usually have something to offer to each other. Maybe your marketing team can help to launch a product of the partner. Or you can introduce your supplier/partner to some investors of your network. There’s always a way to use your resources for the sake of the negotiation.
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