For entrepreneurs and those who have already established a business, making deals is a mainstay of keeping your business going. The deals can take different forms, from simple acquiring of products or equipment to hiring workers, and even to forming partnerships with or buying other companies. There is a bit of an art to making deals, and one of the key elements to deal-making is negotiating. If you don’t know how to negotiate successfully, the whole deal can fall apart. So what does it take to be able to negotiate successfully? Here are a few tips to help you along.
1. Silence is golden
One thing to keep in mind is silence, which is one of the most powerful negotiating tools. The more you are silent, the more likely your opposition will be to expose themselves and provide you with the advantage. You won’t even need to jump at the chance; if you’re silent just a little longer, they will soon offer you whatever you want just to resolve the deal. The trick, however, is to know when to be silent.
While at the negotiating table, think about the future and about how what you say can do can create a long-term relationship, and that long-term relationship can make future negotiations go easier and also make your business world better.
Don’t be afraid to say “no”. You want to be agreeable, but you go into a negotiation wanting certain things. Remember what you are wanting, and if you don’t seem to be getting it, say “no” as often as you have to until you get what want.
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Be assertive and challenging. Everything is negotiable at the table. Being assertive means to say “no” (as above), and does not mean being aggressive. Let them know what you want in a non-threatening way. Challenging means to not take everything at face value to but think and decide for yourself and not just believe what others tell you.
Don’t talk too much. Instead, listen to your opposition, and understand their issues and point of view. Understand what is important to them, where they may be flexible, and what limits they may have. Then come up with an appropriate response.
Don’t go into the negotiate not knowing anything about the situation. Review who the other company is and the background of the person you’ll be negotiating with. Review any similar deals the other company made in the past, what the terms were, etc. Study the other company’s competitors and what their offerings and prices are.
7. Professional and courteous
Keep the negotiations professional and courteous. In other words, “don’t be an asshole”, as the rule goes. You may need to work with the people again, so you want to foster a long-term relationship, and a professional, positive tone to the negotiations will help to close the deal.
8. Walk away
Be willing to walk away if you can’t close the deal satisfactorily. If you are willing to walk away, the other side will know that you are serious and for them to make concessions.
9. Give and get
Don’t give away something without getting something in return. If you don’t force them to give you something back, they will feel entitled to ask you for more.
Be patient. Don’t be in a hurry. You’re likely to make mistakes and leave money on the table if you rush. If the other person is a hurry and you aren’t, they’ll think you’re not under pressure to close the deal and will start making offers in order to get you to close the deal.
If you have high expectations for the deal, you’ll get more out of it. Sellers should ask for more than they expect to get and buyers should offer less than they’re willing to pay. Those who aim higher often do better, as their optimism becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
These are just a few tips to help you negotiate successfully. You can find more tips here, here, here, here, and here.
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