Negotiation is part of doing business. In any given week, many business owners and leaders are in negotiation about a wide range of issues. Some negotiations are simple and address relatively minor matters. These agreements are typically reached informally and quickly. Other negotiations are more complex, affecting critical business outcomes. To assist you, we offer some advice about negotiation.
First, recognize that there are four primary stages of negotiation:
- Exchanging Information
- Closing and commitment
The negotiation process typically involves movement back and forth between exchanging information and bargaining.
Consider the following tips advice about negotiation.
- Do not raise a bid or lower an offer without first getting a response.
- Think seriously about having a skilled professional conduct the negotiation for you.
- Never make a deal with someone who must “go back and get approval from the boss.”
- If you cannot say yes, the answer is no. The fact that a deal can be made does not mean that it should be made.
- The fact that an offer appears non-negotiable does not mean it is non-negotiable.
- Beware the late dealer. Feigning indifference or casually disregarding timetables is often just a negotiator’s ruse to make you believe s/he does not care if the deal is concluded.
- Be nice. If you cannot be nice, go away and let someone else negotiate the deal.
- Do not discuss your business where others can overhear you. Almost as many deals have gone down in elevators as elevators have gone down.
- No one will show you their hole card. You must figure out what they really want.
- Always let the other side talk first. Their first offer might surprise you and be better than you expect.
- Never view negotiation as a contest. Instead, view it as a joint effort. Think win-win.
- Do not bargain over points of view. Instead, work together to solve a problem.
- Don’t attack people; attack the problem.
- Don’t focus on differences; focus on common interests.
- Never search for the single “right solution.” Be creative and brainstorm jointly. In most cases, you will be able to choose the best of multiple options.
If you follow this advice about negotiation, you should be on your way to a positive outcome. Remember: when the stakes are high, there is no shame in bringing in an expert negotiator. Always do your homework (due diligence) and approach the negotiation with the goal of achieving a win-win solution.