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How to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Posted by Tasnim Ahmed

October 30, 2020

Every entrepreneur has to negotiate at some point or another, whether it’s because of a major customer sale or it involves the price of rent. Here are 17 tips that can help business owners improve their negotiation skills to achieve positive outcomes while making their clients and customers happy.

Let the Other Party Make the First Offer

Ask the other individual to propose the offer first. That way, you can better understand what the other party wants and the reasons why they need to make a deal. Always draft the first version of the agreement according to the other party’s issues and points of view.

Listen More Carefully

By giving other parties enough time to speak first in a negotiation, you can analyze what points they care about most and which ones are easiest for them to move on. Thus, listening carefully can help you get a clear picture as to where the negotiations are going and what others are thinking.

Do Your Homework

Doing your homework is vital to a successful negotiation. Gather information about the other company or client with whom you want to negotiate. Explore their needs, strengths and weaknesses, options they have, their industry and nature of business.

Always Be Willing to Walk Away

Don’t force the deal on your client, and let your strategy make a difference. Walk away if you don't find the deal satisfactory. Deciding on a walk-away point before negotiation can help you be more prepared.

Understand the Other Party’s Interests

Everyone looks at the world differently, so you can negotiate successfully if you can figure out the other party’s perception of the deal. By recognizing the other party’s interests, you can prepare an agreement that fulfills the needs of both parties.

Show the other business that you’re willing to negotiate and compromise for a mutually acceptable solution. Preparing a strategy based on the weak side of your potential partner can help you create better terms of the agreement and have a clear idea of what you can compromise.

Know Your Audience

Understanding the priorities of your customers and clients can help you align your responses and language according to them. During a negotiation, present information that demonstrates what you can provide to fulfill other business' needs. When working on a deal, always try to achieve a fair agreement.

Plan a Win-Win Strategy

A win-win perception can help you enhance your business negotiation skills. Generating a win-win negotiation contract often includes three steps:

  • List the interests of both parties and find out how you can fulfill those in a way to satisfy everyone.
  • Provide concessions that mean a great deal to the other party.
  • Propose a deal that addresses both parties' needs and produces better outcomes.

When both parties are satisfied with the agreement, it may result in a long-lasting and successful business partnership.

Close With Confirmation

Avoid deals where the other side does not demonstrate commitment. Make sure everyone agrees on all the terms and conditions. Don’t leave behind any loose ends, and follow up with appropriate letters or emails.

Be Assertive

Using an assertive style can help you increase the chances of getting positive outcomes for your business. This can also help you rethink your original position and arrive at a better alternative. Assertive communicators are both confident and considerate who deploy positive body language and professional etiquette. Therefore, the other business can easily understand their perspective and can reasonably negotiate with them.

Never Take Things Personally

Don’t get involved in something irrelevant to the negotiation process. Even if the other party is rude or giving you a hard time, stay focused on achieving your goal. Try to understand what the other party hopes to get from the deal.

Set Clear Negotiation Goals

Write down all the goals and best possible outcomes that you want to achieve through the negotiation process. Make sure you’re clear about exactly what you want out of the deal. Prepare your questions before you enter the negotiation and explain why the other party should consider your request. Always set reasonable goals while striving for the best. If you believe you truly deserve something, ask for it.

Always Get Something in Return

Agreeing to discounts or concessions during negotiations is inevitable. But try to get something in return if you have to give something away. Also, make your concessions are worthy enough to be earned by the client so they understand the value and feel satisfied.

Prepare and Present Several Offers Simultaneously

Instead of making only one offer, consider presenting multiple offers at once, each of which should be equally valuable. If the other party rejects all offers, ask them which one they liked most and why. Then, try to improve that offer and prepare a letter of terms to reflect the deal.

Set an Expiration Date for Your Offer

If you believe you've made a reasonable offer, provide your negotiating partner with a deadline to accept it or walk away. Setting an expiration date on a deal forces the other party to consider it a priority. I

Negotiate Damages Upfront

Since you may not include every scenario in contingent agreements, you should mention damage clauses in your contract and the amount to be paid if someone breaches the contract.

Planning Skills

All successful business negotiations require proper planning and preparation. The larger the stakes, the more you need to prepare and plan. Knowing the business nature of the parties involved and talking to others who have worked closely with them will help you know their strengths and weaknesses. A little background research can help you learn details about the company you’re approaching. The better you prepare, the higher the chances for successful negotiations.

Prepare for What-If Scenarios

Each negotiation might present conflicts of interest between you and your partner. Therefore, identifying potential problems before they occur might help you prepare a solution. Before starting business negotiations, anticipate all the best and worst scenarios. If things don’t go your way, reevaluate your negotiation strategy and terms of business and present it again. Before entering into high-stakes negotiations, you should consider all the possible objections to the offer and prepare an alternative plan.


Tasnim Ahmed
Tasnim Ahmed

Tasnim Ahmed is a content writer at Escalon Business Services who enjoys writing on a multitude of subjects that include finops, peopleops, risk management, entrepreneurship, VC and startup culture. Based in Delhi NCR, she previously contributed to ANI, Qatar Tribune, Marhaba, Havas Worldwide, and curated content for top-notch brands in the PR sphere. On weekends, she loves to explore the city on a motorcycle and binge watch new OTT releases with a plateful of piping hot dumplings!

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