I came across a great article on the art of negotiation. Whether you are in a position of a Consultant or you are a client with a need, it is important to be ready for business negotiations.
We don’t have a choice as to whether or not we negotiate. Our choice is whether we do it well or poorly. We’re involved in negotiations every day as we sell staffing services, ideas and
ourselves. These six keys to negotiating success in sales can be applied to any form of business or personal negotiating.
- Remember negotiation is an ongoing process, not an event. These relationships need to be nurtured over time. Often the outcome is determined way before the two parties sit down at the table.
- Avoid a subservient mentality. Most people sell themselves short because they don’t recognize the personal power they possess. You must believe the prospect needs whatyou’re selling at least as much as you need the sale. Check your body language, tone of voice and word choices when you make your presentation.
- Information is power. Research the history of the account, problems in the past, past profit margins and personal “hot buttons” of the decision maker.
- Determine the best and worst-case scenario for you and for the prospect before the negotiations begin. By projecting each party’s highest and lowest expectations for a deal to take place, you’ll often find that a compromise can be made within the area that overlaps.
- Build value to increase your negotiating position. Set yourself apart from the competition by integrating your business process with the prospect’s. Find out how their business works from the inside. Businesses add value when they offer prospects a one-stop shopping concept. (i.e.: The staffing service that offers temporary and permanent services, employee leasing, specialties such as legal, accounting, etc.) Once working with the business, keep track of every incident that adds value, such as special requests you fulfill. Make that known by bringing a written list to the next negotiating session. The more value you communicate, the more likely you’ll be considered a better choice over your competitors.
- Expect reciprocity. When you give something away or concede on an element in the negotiations, always ask for something in return. Otherwise, you’re training the other party to continue to want more while reducing the value of what you’re conceding. By keeping that balance, you’ll soon be perceived as an equal in the process. That’s a crucial element to negotiating success.