Negotiating for your Business

What Is Negotiation?
Negotiation is the process by which two or more parties with different objectives and needs work to find a mutually acceptable solution to an issue at hand. Each negotiation situation will be different because they are influenced by each person’s attitude, style and skills. Negotiation does not have to be unpleasant and does not always involve disputes. It does not have to be underlined by bad feelings or angry behaviour.

3 Simple Negotiation Rules
You need to keep in mind these 3 simple rules:

  1. Don’t ever assume that you know what the other party wants.
    The outcome you are negotiating for may be totally different from what they have in mind. Make sure you keep an eye on their wants and needs.

  2. Keep your issues broad and don’t narrow them down.
    Try to broaden the scope of your negotiations. For example, if immediate delivery is a key factor to the other party and you cannot meet it, maybe a partial shipment will resolve the problem until you are able to produce the rest. By not narrowing your negotiations down to one issue, leaves both parties in a position of not having a winner or a loser.

  3. Remember that other people may have a different perspective on negotiations.
    Some may want to do a deal quickly and then it’s over. Others may want to build a longer-term relationship. Sometimes price is an important factor, but don’t assume that money is the only issue. Other things can change the price that they are willing to accept or the price that you are willing to accept.

Before you Negotiate have a Goal
Before you sit down at negotiation, you need to have a good idea of what you want to achieve. This means you may have to set down your goals so you know exactly the outcome you are looking for.

For example, do you want more money, increased sales, to get a discount, or improve the terms of a contract, etc. You also need to know what the other party is trying to achieve by the negotiation.

Be aware that the best negotiation will be where both parties have reached an agreement that each is happy with.

Plan and Organise before Starting
Whatever negotiation you are carrying out, you need to plan and organise well.

  • Make sure you give time to full planning and organisation of every aspect of the negotiation.

  • The amount of time you need to put into your planning will depend on how experienced you are and whether you have negotiated similar things in the past.

  • Make sure you have all documentation ready and that it is all accessible in a logical manner. This means having the documents in chronological order if necessary, so you can get to them by date as soon as the matter is raised.

  • On the other hand, don’t over-plan and be tied down in a negotiation with unnecessary details and reference to documentation that does not have a bearing on the negotiation. Be careful you are not distracted from the main goals of the negotiation, which is to arrive at a solution or outcome that both parties are happy with.