Five Tips for your next Business Negotiation

The world of business negotiations often has a lot of contradictions. You need to be firm but flexible; open and sharing, but also hold back. This can be a lot to get your head around but if you aim for a mutually beneficial outcome, the negotiation is likely to go better and you’ll in turn be more comfortable.

Here’s five tips to prepare for your next negotiation.

1. Do your homework – Familiarise yourself with the main terms and concepts they’re likely to use so you’re not confused or intimidated by jargon. Know their products or services, their industry and their competitors. Understand your position and what you bring to the table and why they might want to do business with you.

2. Don’t be shy – Taking control of the negotiation might be as simple as being the first person to say a number. The first figure can become a reference point for the rest of the conversation.

3. Know where you can compromise – As a small business owner, you may need the deal more than your negotiating partner but be realistic about that. Decide what you need to make it worthwhile and then be prepared to compromise on the other less important aspects. Compromise is needed in negotiations as it’s rare that a party would get everything that they want.  

4. Aim for a win-win – try for a profitable outcome that’s beneficial to all parties. A negotiation isn’t dominating your opponent into submission. Both parties can win and don’t underestimate the power of being nice.

5. Have a plan B – If you can’t agree, what happens next? If negotiations fail, can you live with that outcome? What are you willing to change/compromise for the deal to take place? This will help you decide how far you’re willing to negotiate the deal.  

Practice makes perfect

Negotiation can be tricky, which is why many of us don’t like doing it. Don’t be intimidated by it. As long as you know the strength of your position, respect the other party and know what you’re willing to compromise on, you’re off to a good start.