Negotiations are a big part of business — no matter what industry you’re in, the market is becoming more competitive than ever. Which means you need to be able to negotiate effectively so you can attain your goals while maintaining healthy business relationships.
While negotiation requires confidence, negotiating too aggressively without understanding the process can lead to misunderstanding on both sides and result in a loss without a solution for either party. Instead of risking a no win situation that leads to a bad deal or no deal at all, negotiating skills can be learned and practiced so you can apply them to a variety of business (and personal) situations.
The following negotiating tips and skills will help you negotiate your way to success and promote your business in just the right way.
Business Leader Tips
Negotiating becomes successful when you understand the skills and traits of negotiation and how to use them. Consider these tips from top business leaders:
Set your negotiation goals high
Before entering into a negotiation, determine your expectations and goals. It’s okay to aim high – in fact the higher your expectations are, the more motivated you’ll be to negotiate hard for what you’re expecting to receive. At the same time, it’s important to be reasonable and clear about limits that are fair to the negotiation.
Establish honesty and trust
Being honest when negotiating is a good way to build up trust and a positive relationship with the other party. One way to do this is to concede on some point issues and admit that you don’t know the answer to a question. Being open and honest doesn’t make you weak in a negotiation – it shows your openness and willingness to continue negotiating.
Patience pays off
The negotiation process takes time for every party to be heard without being rushed. When the other side talks it’s important to listen carefully and give them your full attention. Patience when negotiating also gives you time to completely understand what the other party is trying to achieve and accomplish from the deal.
Understand the perspective of the other party
Good negotiators take time to understand the other party’s perspective, including their feelings and problems. Look beyond yourself and try to see the situation from the point of view of the other side. If you focus only on your own self-interests, you may miss out on options that you should be considering.
Be prepared to walk away
Coming to a deadlock in a negotiation can’t always be avoided, particularly if you’re dealing with an unreasonable party. As you gain experience as a negotiator, you’ll have the skills to look ahead during the negotiation and know when it’s a good time to bargain and when you should take a step back.
Being prepared to walk away from a bad deal doesn’t make your position weak – walking away can strengthen your stand in the negotiation as both you and the other party take time to review. Before walking, clearly state your reasons and position and then courteously leave, keeping the door open for continuing negotiations.
Whether you’ve been in business for years or are in the business startup phase, your success in any transaction comes down to your skills as a negotiator. These skills can be broken down into knowing clearly what you want and recognizing and understanding why people behave the way they do when they’re at the negotiating table.
Use these 5 skills to be a better negotiator:
1. Be self-aware
When entering into a negotiation, being self-aware can put you in the right frame of mind and keep emotions in their place during the negotiation process. This doesn’t mean that you’re not going to have emotions when negotiating – what it does mean is that you’ll be able to identify these feelings and understand the effect they can have on negotiating so they don’t get in the way. Self-awareness is also about looking at the entire situation from the other party’s side so you can find a middle ground between the two of you.
Your negotiating skill: Be self-aware and clear about what you need the final outcome to be so you don’t let your feelings and emotions interfere when you’re face to face with the other party.
2. Come prepared
Negotiators who come prepared do better than those who don’t, giving you an edge over the other party. Before the meeting go over what you want point by point – without these points your chance of success will be at risk. Included in your preparation should be information and data that backs up your position and claims.
It’s also important that you learn as much as you can about the other party and what they’re offering. This way some of your own points can satisfy one or more of their terms of self-interest. Another way to be prepared for negotiation is to be ready with a BATNA, your Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement.
Your negotiating skill: Be prepared to negotiate with facts and be willing to be creative and come up with possible solutions as options.
3. Learning how to concede
Conceding is a lot like compromising and it’s essential to any negotiation. Skilled negotiators know when it’s time to make a concession and how much to concede so they can keep the negotiation going and reach a successful outcome.
Before the meeting, make a list of what’s most important to you and what points you’ll be willing to concede. When conceding make sure the other party understands clearly what you’re giving up, including the value and cost to you – this way you show your goodwill and increase trust and your chances of a more favorable outcome to the negotiation.
Your negotiating skill: Be honest and willing to concede smaller points in order to gain leverage with the issues that really matter to you.
4. Bring your people-skills
Interpersonal skills play a huge role in negotiating and business survival. The first of these is likeability. The negotiation process brings together different personalities – when negotiators like each other, they’ll work harder at coming to a mutual resolution.
People skills also mean being sincere and taking a real interest in what’s important to others. Actively listening throughout the negotiation can help you connect with the other party in a positive way, moving the process along without contention.
Your negotiating skill: Bring sincerity to a negotiation and focus on being likable so it’s easier for the other party to compromise and work with you towards a mutual solution for everyone.
Negotiation is a skill that requires patience and an understanding of yourself, the other party, and what you’re negotiating for. Becoming a better negotiator means being more successful in your business dealings, helping you come away with a favorable agreement. Use the tips and skills here to hone your negotiating strategy and walk away from the table with what you want and what’s best for your business. For additional tips to learn how to negotiate, check out the visual below by ForSaleByOwner: