A successful negotiation is not where one side has pulverized the other. You don’t “win” a negotiation; you get the best possible outcome for your clients while doing the least harm. No one should leave a negotiation angry. After all, you never know when you might have to negotiate with the same people again. When it comes to negotiating on behalf of my clients, I keep the following in mind:
Set the stage: Select a location that’s quiet, neutral, pleasant, and away from distractions and confusion. These days, so much is done over the phone and email and signed online with DocuSign so negotiations can go pretty quick. You don’t want to get too caught up and rush into something. Consider offers and counter offers thoroughly but don’t drag you feet in responding and lose the deal.
Be prepared: Never start without doing my homework. Verify any outstanding facts before the negotiation begins. ( Later fact-finding can cause a negotiation to be bogged down! )
Leave attitudes at the door: It’s very simple…treat everyone in the negotiation with respect, regardless of personal opinions. If anyone disagrees, disagree with the idea, not the person.
Watch non-verbal cues and body language when you can: Tone of voice on the phone can also be telling.
Hold something in reserve: Discuss concessions with clients beforehand and only offer these concessions when you absolutely need to concede something.
Negotiations should never choke over a minor point. Get an agreement on major points such as price and terms and put lesser times aside to return to later.
Never volunteer too much information: Knowledge is power in a negotiation. Telling the other side any information, however insignificant it may seem, could weaken my clients’ position.
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