10 Steps in Getting What You Want
Start out with an ideal and end up with a deal.-Karl Albrecht
The most difficult thing in any negotiation, almost, is making sure that you strip it of the emotion and deal with the facts. – Howard Baker
Any business arrangement that is not profitable to the other person will in the end prove unprofitable for you. The bargain that yields mutual satisfaction is the only one that is apt to be repeated. – B.C. Forbes
From buying a flat screen TV to securing new clients, you must know how to negotiate the best deal possible. Giving in too soon or holding out too long can both be detrimental. Negotiation is about balance-it’s about risking just the right amount to achieve what’s best for you and your business.
Some professionals are born with the innate ability to work a deal while others are weary of any situation that requires skillful negotiation. We’ll admit, negotiating isn’t for the faint of heart, but sometimes learning the necessary steps is all it takes to get your game on, and in the end, close a deal to your satisfaction. In this two-part series we share 10 steps that can help you improve your approach to the art of negotiation. This week we’ll examine the first five steps:
It’s important that you do your research before scheduling any kind of negotiation. Whether you’re working with a vendor, a client, or your next-door neighbor, you should know what you both have to contribute to the deal. And what are your weaknesses? Any good negotiator will have determined yours before the meeting. Do you know what theirs are? Also ensure that you are meeting with the one who actually holds the power to seal the deal. The last thing you want to discover, after going through all 10 of these steps, is that the deal you have secured still needs approval from someone higher up.
Timing can be everything. If you schedule a meeting with a company at its busiest time of the year or after a sudden downturn in the local economy, you will be at a disadvantage. When scheduling an appointment, ensure that you have selected a good time for both you and the party with whom you’re negotiating.
Negotiation is all about strategy. Remember that your first offer sets the tone for all future conversations. In his Entrepreneur.com article entitled “The Art of Negotiating,” Michael Sanibel explains, “The first offer is usually the most important and the benchmark by which all subsequent offers will be judged and compared. You’ll never get what you don’t ask for, so make your first offer bold and aggressive.” Remember that negotiation can be a professional dance where offers are often padded with extra, but unnecessary, amenities that help build price so that it can be whittled down again. Understanding what, exactly, you want, will help tremendously as you move forward.
On the other hand, it’s equally important that you know what the other party wants, and this can only be achieved when you listen to what they’re saying (this includes body language).
Know and believe in your own strengths–what you bring to the table. Only when you have confidence in what you’re offering will you be able to use that as leverage in securing the deal you want.
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Join us next week when we talking about closing the deal with final five steps:
9. Hold Firm
Sanibel, Michael. “The Art of Negotiating: A Practical Guide to Getting What You Want, When You Wants It, and at the Price You Want.” 24 August 2009 Entrepreneur.com
Sloan Brothers with Daniel Kehrer. “10 Techniques for Better Negotiation.” 2005 Yahoo! Small Business