30 August 2012

Get what you want from your Negotiations

Some quick tips for improving negotiation skills to help you navigate the journey to a successful outcome for both parties:
  1. Remember you're the expert: Think of negotiation as education. You’re the person who knows your side of things so think of the negotiation as a process of helping the other party understand your perspective.
  2. Negotiation is a two-way street: Negotiation is a process of give and take. When you give a concession, you can always ask for something in return. When determining what to ask for, consider what’s fair for the ongoing relationship of both parties. Care about the outcome. Remember though, good negotiators do not put their best terms on the table first.
  3. Hold firm to your principles: Don't forget you have something the other party wants; they need you as much as you need them. When something is important to you, stick to your guns. They will respect you for it.
  4. Know when to walk away: If the deal is unacceptable, don’t cut your losses too late. I've heard horror stories from people who have accepted loss-making contracts hoping to make up the margin along the way. This rarely happens and the lingering ill-feeling is bad for everyone. Know your BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement) in advance so that you can walk away comfortably.
  5. Don't be intimidated: You do not need to automatically accept the terms the other party offers you. Remember, it's their job to get the best possible outcome possible. That's your job too. Be particularly wary of unfairly punitive contract clauses, such as late fees or liquidated damages.
  6. Keep your ear to the ground: Always stay alert for clues as to how the negotiations are progressing. It's a good sign if the other party promptly returns your calls, keeps promised meeting times and gets back to you when they say they will.
  7. Negotiate at the proper authority level: Negotiate with the person who can say ‘yes’. Don’t let your negotiation get lost in translation.
  8. Don't celebrate until the contract is signed: The negotiation process has many twists and turns and what looks good today might not look so good tomorrow.
  9. Respect the process: Negotiation can take time. There may be lots of to’ing and fro’ing. Drive the process without getting impatient. Hold true with your behaviour. Don’t send mixed messages that might confuse the other party and delay the negotiation process.
Try these tips for a better chance of winning that important deal!