The Art of Negotiation

Negotiating is an essential skill in the business world, one that needs to be constantly honed and improved. The difference between a strong and weak negotiator will directly affect your bottom line and the future of your business. Practice and prior knowledge will help you traverse the complex landscape of negotiation to achieve the outcome you want.

Build a Relationship

Before you even begin to negotiate, it is important to cultivate and maintain a good rapport with everyone at the table. By building this mutual respect, you will make your words more effective and meaningful to all involved. In return, displaying your trust for the other people promotes a healthier environment for the negotiation. One way you can create an amicable environment is by entering the conversation with a win-win goal. If you step into the negotiation with only yourself in mind, you risk eroding the trust in the relationship as your disingenuous feelings will be easy to notice.

Take Charge and Listen

A proficient negotiator asks probing questions followed by silence to intently listen for a response. Remember, the person in charge of the conversation is the one who asks the questions. Take charge through probing questions and listen to the responses before you formulate your response. Once the other party agrees to the terms, end the conversation. If you push further after the other party says yes, you risk undoing the deal you both just worked so hard to reach.

Prepare Your Offer

Preparation is crucial to the outcome of a negotiation. Understand what you are negotiating and have clear objectives in mind. Ask for more than you expect to receive, as your fellow negotiator will surely seek to talk you down from your original offer. It is equally important to spend time understanding what the other party will want — what are their needs, pressures and options? You can’t make accurate decisions without knowing the goals of other side.

Negotiating contracts with vendors, landlords and legal agreements are all a part of running a small business. Set yourself up for success in each of your contracts by negotiating favorable terms and building business relationships. Click here to learn more about business law.

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