One of the toughest skills that a leader has to develop is the art of negotiation. Being a successful negotiator can help you scale your business and achieve your goals. From driving sales to getting new clients, reducing costs to hiring efficient people, being a good negotiator helps a leader get optimum results. In today’s competitive business ecosystem, it is essential for leaders to both develop and fine-tune the skill of negotiation.
10 ways to do so:
1. Know what you want
Before you enter into a negotiation, be clear about what you want its outcome to be. It’s necessary to be updated regarding the required details before engaging in anything with your clients. It also helps to be clear about your least favourable outcome but one you could settle for if things don’t go as planned. Lastly, it is always advisable to have a back-up plan in case the deal does not go through for any reason whatsoever.
2. Do your homework on the other party
Negotiating is at minimum, a two party process. Study the other party well before you get into any kind of understanding with each other. This includes past negotiation patterns and their possible expectations from you and your company.
3. Start with a higher ask
Starting a little higher than your most favourable outcome gives you an edge early on in the negotiation. In the best-case scenario, you get more than you originally hoped for. In the worst case scenario - You will still be well above your least favourable outcome.
4. Listen to understand what the other party really wants
While you go into a meeting room, all prepared with your own set of expectations, it’s easy to forget that so have they. It’s important to be alert throughout the exchange of thoughts and requests that might give you direct or indirect indications of what they want from you. Their verbal and physical cues will tell you the rest.
5. Remain calm, don’t get emotional
Negotiations can get heated really quickly. Deals can cave in, unpleasant exchanges can occur - All because one or more of the parties took something personally. Staying level-headed and calm drives one towards a successful negotiation that limits the chances of any abrupt and unintentional outbursts.
6. Don’t rush things
Negotiations take time. It may take a while for both the parties to come to a deal that is mutually favourable. There is no point in trying to hasten the pace of the negotiation and inadvertently making a mistake. Be patient, and if it is taking too long for either party to close the deal, try to reschedule the negotiation at a later date and start afresh.
7. Keep an open mind to alternative possibilities
While everyone has ideal scenarios in mind, sometimes, during the course of negotiations, one finds that there might be a still better option, one that was previously overlooked or not possible. Therefore, keeping an open mind to alternative solutions can lead you towards attaining better outcomes.
8. Provide and receive
Aim for a mutually favourable deal. When you target a win-win situation for all parties concerned, it indicates that you both respect and care about their needs. It also helps ensure that neither party is taken advantage of.
9. Be okay with walking away from the table
If at any point, you get a feeling that the deal might not work out, don’t be afraid to walk away. If you have prepared well enough, you should be able to negotiate similar terms with another party. This will not only reduce your dependency upon the current party but also allow you to negotiate better.
10. Practice negotiations daily
While negotiations may seem particular to important business operations, in reality, we negotiate every day, albeit, on a much smaller scale. These smaller negotiations can be something as trivial as convincing your friends to order out from your favourite restaurant or getting your child to eat their vegetables. Negotiating is a part of our daily life, and by practicing your skills during these daily events, we can easily prepare ourselves for bigger deals.
A good negotiator can guide a business through important deals and be indispensable to the business. As one works on their negotiation skills, it is important to remember that rejections occur even in the best of circumstances, and shouldn’t deter you from trying again the next time. Just review what you could do better the next time. Like I mentioned at the beginning of this article, negotiation is an art, and like all the other arts, it needs to be refined to the point that it flows naturally through you.
Khushboo Jain, Co-Founder and COO, ImpactGuru.com