Any tips for negotiating?

All entrepreneurs will be required to negotiate at some point. That may be with customers, suppliers, members of the team or partners.

Negotiation is defined as a discussion aimed at reaching an agreement.

Often it is used as an important method to reduce conflict or to get things done.

Preparation and having a plan are key to a successful negotiation. So much so, that I recommend that if someone attempts to negotiate with you by surprise, then where possible delay the discussion until later.

I encourage you to start by listing your value. For example, everything you have brought to the table, done, actioned and the impact you have made. Highlight every feature of your contribution, especially if it is a unique claim by you.

This creates your value and ideally a greater sense of that to the person you are negotiating with.

If you are negotiating in relation to a product or project, then list the priorities for its success and write your name alongside all those that you contribute to. Likewise for the other party.

Know what you are negotiating for and position what you ideally want. Make the first recommendation for agreement. This means you work from that point and it is easier to get to, compared to starting elsewhere.

Also know your compromise and the worst case position you are willing to accept.

A negotiation is normally a win:win. Negotiating requires give and take. You should aim to create a courteous and constructive interaction that is a win-win for both parties. Ideally a successful negotiation is where you can make concessions that mean little to you, while giving something to the other party that means a lot to them.

However, often I think you need to take a more selfish approach to obtain the win for yourself without a compromise.

After you have presented your position, your ideal outcome and value, then consider the ways that the other party may respond and the position they may take. Then consider how you would react and respond by pushing back on their perceived value.

Also consider when you walk away. Not lose the negotiation, but feel the whole balance is not right for you and unless they go to your preferred position you will just walk away.

Keep emotions balanced and have a poker face, so they don’t know what you are thinking until you say it!

Preparation and planning is key and always the first step. Then start with defining the ground rules. Be clear and justify your position by sharing your value, then consider the counter points, before bargaining!

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