It’s been said that if two people want to do business together, nothing will get in their way. If they don’t want to do business together, anything will get in the way.
Negotiation is a part of life and here are some points to consider.
1. Throw your fears out of the window. Don’t worry about rejection or being viewed as haggling, cheap or undignified.
2. Know what you want and identify what’s really important to you.
3. Know the field and get the facts. If you know that a vendor doesn’t have the ability to come down to your price points, don’t try to get blood out of a turnip and adjust your terms. If you know of someone else who is getting a sweeter deal, bring it up. If a vendor’s competition is offering something special, give them a chance to match or beat it.
4. Make sure that you’re playing with the players who have the authority to play ball.
5. Never make assumptions about what is important to the person across the table. Price is always an issue but it may not be “The Issue”. Be empathetic and look at the situation from the other person’s perspective. What do they need to get out of the negotiations?
6. Don’t be shy. The world belongs to the lions and the worst that is going to happen is that you’ll be told “no”.
7. Leave yourself wiggle room and try to keep things moving forward. Don’t make everything so black and white that there is no room for shades of grey. If you do you’re putting yourself in a box.
8. Don’t rush the negotiating process. Time can be your friend and let things play out as they evolve.
9. Know which points you’re willing to give up or bend on and use them as chips.
10. Listen, observe and take notes.
William F. Kendy
May reprint with permission of William F. Kendy