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Negotiation Tips for Entrepreneurs

Posted by JEREME SANBORN
15 September, 2016

negotiation.jpgAs a business owner, learning how to effectively negotiate can both help you maximize your profitability, and enhance your relationships with clients and vendors. Today, we offer a few ways to ensure you leave every negotiation without feeling like you left something on the table, while simultaneously boosting your standing in the business community.

Identify Your Must Haves – A large component of successful negotiations is prioritizing your desired outcomes. While you may have a dream list of what you want from a particular negotiation, chances are you won’t walk away with everything on that list. Take the time to identify the two or three things you feel you must have as a component of any deal ahead of time. Then, be prepared to break off negotiations if you can’t get those “must haves.”

Identify Your Don’t Needs – Negotiation is all about give and take. Otherwise, it’s not really a negotiation. Just as you identified your “must haves” above, it’s equally as important that you also identify those things you are willing to forego. After all, you’re going to have to give up something during your negotiations. Knowing what that “something” is in advance will make you an even shrewder negotiator.

Do Your Research – Never walk into a negotiation without having done your homework beforehand. Gather as much information as you can about your negotiating partner, their business, current market conditions and so forth. That way you’ll be better positioned to achieve your goals for a particular negotiation.

Stay Positive – People want to do business with those they find easy to work worth. Being known as a tough but fair negotiator is fine. Developing a reputation for being intractable, difficult or negative is not. Resist the temptation to go negative when negotiations get tough. Instead stay positive and polite at all times.

Limit Deception – Again, this is about your reputation. If you develop a reputation for being deceptive in your negotiations, word may spread. This will limit the number of partners willing to negotiate or do business with you in the future. So be forceful yet forthright in your dealings. Those who you are negotiating with will respect you for doing so.

Ask & Listen – The more questions you ask the person you are negotiating with, the more they may directly or indirectly reveal about themselves, their business and their goals for a particular negotiation. So be sure to ask plenty of probing questions and truly listen to the answers to help glean what you will be willing to successfully negotiate.

Give & Take – When you acquiesce to your negotiating partner, make sure you get something in return. Give up something of value? Make sure you get something valuable in return every time.

Know When to Walk Away – Recognize that not every negotiation is fruitful. Can’t reach an agreement you find acceptable? Politely end negotiations and look elsewhere. Chances are you’ll find another partner willing to meet you halfway on your demands. Conversely, if you can’t find that partner, it might be time to adjust your expectations.

Get It In Writing – Reached the basic parameters of a deal? Write down who agreed to what in black and white as quickly as possible while it’s still fresh in everyone’s mind. That way you’ll avoid, “I never agreed to that” type disputes and still more negotiating later on. Even if you’re still waiting on a signed, official contract, consider at least getting sign-off on a document outlining the main points of the negotiation within 24 hours.

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