We’ve said it before…negotiation is a fine art. Whether you are negotiating logistics contracts, salary terms or new partnership agreements, proper negotiating tactics yield tremendous results. Below are seven of my top tips for negotiating in business and beyond.
1. Know The Rules. The better you know the rules of engagement, the more effectively you’ll make your case. By rules, I mean the terms that govern the buyer-seller transaction. Terms can be detailed in the contract you signed, defined by state or federal legislation, codified by regulatory decisions, or specified in industry practices or codes of ethics. The rules may be complex and always subject to change. Don’t negotiate anything until you know all of the rules you will be subjected to.
2. Update Your Knowledge Base. In other words: Keep current on industry trends and keep learning. The more you know about your business, and the more you know about your suppliers’ business the better off you’ll be.
3. Bring Time To The Negotiating Table. While money is rarely, if ever the only transaction variable, often it becomes the sole focus of negotiators. You know the scenario: one side says $X, the other says $2X, and confrontation begins. To break the logjam, bring other variables to the negotiating table such as time. Can you, for instance, accept a protracted delivery schedule? Will your vendor further discount the invoice if you pay their invoice promptly? Can your service provider accept payment in 60 days rather than 30 days?
4. Give To Get. Before you sit down at the negotiating table be prepared to offer several concessions in return for what you actually need.
5. Understand Your Own Goals. Too often businesses sit down at the negotiating table without having assessed their own long-term goals. Ask yourself: What do you really seek from your supplier or strategic business partner in this intended relationship? What will it take to arrive at that goal? The answers may totally reshape your deal-making process.
6. Never Use Criticism To Leverage Price. Yes, most businesses sit down at the negotiating table to lower their costs. But don’t knock the service provider’s service currently being provided to your company, don’t belittle the other teams negotiator or the products they sell and don’t demean the vendor to get what you want . Believe me, you won’t. get what you think you’ll get.
7. Always Be Courteous and Professional. I’ve seen too many negotiations boil over because the parties at the table took things personally. Remember this is not about you, it’s about achieving desired results that affect many more individuals than yourself.
I hope these tips prove helpful to you.