Expert Pointers on How to Become a Master in Negotiations

Negotiation skills are important in building a business. You may need to negotiate with employees, customers, vendors, or other departments in your organization so it's good to know the basics first in order to master the art of negotiations later on. Having stronger negotiating skills will enable you to handle these occasions more confidently and successfully and you will achieve better results. Here are some expert pointers on how to become a master in negotiations.

Prepare for it beforehand

Before you enter the negotiation room, make sure you understand what your goals are. What are your parameters about what would be acceptable, such as the highest price you are willing to pay? What are your alternatives if this deal doesn't go through? What do you know about the other party's situation and wants? Doing a little work up front before the negotiation begins can get you better results.

Why is preparation so important in business negotiations? Because it helps you understand your opponent. Understanding an opponent can be extremely beneficial for the negotiator who wants to use every trick in the book to get the job done and close a good deal.

Think about relationships

Rather than viewing the negotiation as a fight with your adversary, try to reframe it so that you are working together to solve a problem for both of you. This makes it likelier that you will achieve a win-win outcome. It also makes it more likely that you can have a positive on-going working relationship with that person. Professionalism in business is paramount. No matter what happens, it's really important that you keep your cool. If the proposition that's on the table doesn't live up to your expectations, decline politely but do your best to maintain a good relation with your opponent. Chances are you could meet again in the future.

Ask probing questions

During the negotiation, you can gather useful information by asking questions. Use probing, open-ended questions, rather than simple yes or no questions. An open-ended question will generally let you find out more information, instead of just getting a one word answer. Sometimes people in a negotiation will talk too much, and give too much away. It's alright to be quiet at times. If you need a few moments to think about a proposal, take your time and think it over before you reply. You don't need to rush into it.

Explain what you want

You don't need to beat around the bush too much. Let the other person know what it is that you want. They aren't mind readers, so find a diplomatic way to state what it is that you would like out of the deal.  You may be surprised at how easily you can get what you want if you just make it clear.

Stay relaxed and friendly

Start your meeting with a warm smile and a handshake. A little small talk at the beginning can help break the ice, but be cognizant about wasting the other person's time. Keeping the tone of the negotiations cordial and friendly can help things go more smoothly. It also helps to establish some rapport between you, which can build trust and lead to a better outcome. Stay confident and calm throughout the process.

Have an exit plan

You may reach a state in the negotiation where you need to consult with others, do some research, or just think a proposal over, before making a decision. Have an exit plan in case this situation arises, so that you don't feel pressured to make a quick decision on the spot. You can say something like “I'll need to go over the numbers with my staff”, to give yourself an extra day or so, and prevent a rash decision.

Business individuals who want to excel in negotiations should be perseverant. Know the ins and outs of your proposition and be ready to argument every claim. Use your body language the smart way and don't let an opponent “read” your weaknesses. If you're too nervous to speak, just be quiet and listen. Ask meaningful questions and build a relation with your opponent. A win-win solution in business can have a lot of benefits for the starting entrepreneur eager to build connections and help his company thrive.

By Steve Brown and!


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