As business leaders, we can be experts in our own field, but the ability to successfully negotiate and close a deal can make all the difference in keeping our clients and business moving. The following seven habits of highly skilled negotiators can help you achieve success in your negotiations.
1. Understand your clients’ needs
Before you go into a negotiation, it’s important to understand your clients’ needs. Are they people looking to make a quick profit, a small business looking to grow its customer base or are they looking for extra time to pay their bills? By understanding this, you’ll be able to pinpoint any red flags.
2. Set the ground rules
To set the ground rules, it’s a good idea to first sit down and share the basic terms of the deal. Ask them to sign on the dotted line and keep them informed of any changes. They may need to adjust their offers to accommodate a difficult situation, like the death of a family member. Keep the business owner informed of any changes in the deal until everything is signed.
3. Focus on the other party’s needs
Understand that the other party wants something too. If they don’t have the money for a new security system, they may want you to cut a deal that benefits them. Be sure to show them how their needs could benefit you as a business. They may also have some goals they want to accomplish by signing on the dotted line, like obtaining tax-deductible status. The key is to focus on what they need to get to the next stage.
4. Recognize that both sides have leverage
The biggest mistake business owners make is negotiating from a position of weakness. In some cases, the business owner has a tough bargaining partner, like a major corporation or government agency. Also, many business owners don’t have the financial leverage of a big business, so they don’t have much power when negotiating. By understanding that both parties have leverage, you can negotiate a deal that benefits you and your clients in the long run.
5. Ask the questions you know you can answer
At some point in the negotiation process, you’ll have to talk about money. It’s important to prepare questions that will help you achieve the best possible deal for your clients and you. What is the cash available? What expenses can the client control? Do they want a new security system or do they want you to fund the upgrades? Understanding what your clients value will help you define a fair price.
6. Ask questions that are specific
Understand that you don’t want to ask questions that are vague. If you can’t answer a specific question, you don’t have the leverage to negotiate. Understanding the right questions to ask can help you win the negotiation.
7. Never make a decision at the end of the negotiation
When all the negotiation is over, ask yourself one question. Does the deal make the most sense for your clients?
Make sure you set realistic expectations and ensure that your negotiation process aligns with the values and goals of your clients and business. When you use these seven habits of highly skilled negotiators, you’ll be able to negotiate a fair deal that benefits you both.