How to Negotiate Like a Pro: Best Tips for Small Business Owners
By Tom Jager
In today’s competitive business world, no one gets what they ask for, but what they negotiate. If you want to become a master negotiator, it’s time to learn the secrets of successful business negotiations. Implement the following strategies the next time you need to make a deal.
1. Always be prepared
Whether you are trying to close an important deal with a future client or partner, pitching investors, or simply trying to make a sale, the most important action to take is prepare yourself. Being prepared may be time-consuming, but it is ultimately the only thing that will truly increase your chance of negotiating a good deal. As you prepare, make sure to:
- Review the other person’s background, their company, their social media profiles, and of course, perform a thorough web search.
- Research the business by looking at the company website and reading press releases and articles.
- Go over the offer provided by the other party, evaluate it, and calculate if it is worth a negotiation.
- Review similar deals to the negotiation in question, in general and with the company you will be negotiating with.
2. Listen to the other party’s point of view
You need to be prepared in a negotiation, but this does not mean that you are the only one negotiating the terms. Some people take over negotiations and speak nonstop without allowing the other party to express their point of view—this cannot be more wrong.
If you want to be a great negotiator, you need to be a good listener. Once you learn to listen to the other person in the room, you will be able to understand what they expect and want from the negotiation.
3. Be professional
Regardless of how successful you are, no one will want to do business with you if you are not professional and you act badly. Many business owners lack professionalism in their business negotiations, which seriously harms their business deals.
When the negotiations are concluded, always remain courteous. After all, you never know if you will be doing business with that particular person or company in the future.
4. Prepare the first draft of the agreement
Have your lawyer prepare a first draft of the contract you will bring to the negotiation. Doing this will help you to frame the structure of the deal and point out the key points you want to discuss.
Drafting a first version of the agreement does not mean this is the end of the negotiations. However, having something in writing will certainly slow down the other party from making extensive changes, which is a huge advantage when it comes to your interests.
5. Be prepared to walk away
Negotiating is basically the same as playing poker. Always be prepared to walk away if you cannot get a satisfactory solution. Successful negotiators know their target price, minimal conditions, and are always ready to get up and leave the table if their needs are not respected.
6. Be prompt
Being prompt does not mean that you should rush, but is actually the opposite. Time is a crucial element when you’re negotiating, and if you do not plan the process properly, the deal may take more time to complete than anticipated. When this happens, the chances of something derailing your negotiations are much bigger, which is why you must keep the momentum moving.