3 Negotiation Tactics Every CEO Should Know

As a CEO, you probably spend much of your time convincing others to accept your ideas. Being a good negotiator is essential to your success. Here are some negotiation tactics to use for successful business negotiations.

1. Prepare yourself

The role of preparation in negotiation should not be underestimated. Negotiation is a delicate process, and you should lay the groundwork ahead of time. While experienced negotiators are skilled enough to ‘wing it’ spontaneously, most people choose to prepare meticulously and achieve the best outcome possible.

Make sure you find out as much as you can about the other party. If it’s someone from a different niche, review their website, articles, press releases and understand the nature of their business. Google and LinkedIn searches of negotiators is advisable.

Once have the information, ask yourself a few questions to understand the deal dynamics better:

  •   What do I want to achieve?
  •   What do I think the other party wants to achieve?
  •   What options would benefit the other party?
  •   Who has leverage? Who wants the deal more?
  •   What kind of variables could support my case? Are there time constraints?

Next, make sure you’re going to negotiate with the right person – someone who has the authority to make decisions and accept alternative options. You don’t want to find yourself negotiating with someone who has zero ability to cut deals.

2. Respect the pace of the negotiation

A negotiation is rather like a dance. If you try to rush along and push your agenda, you’ll step on someone’s toes. Relationships play a vital role in negotiations and without the necessary respect for others, you won’t be in step. If you’re manipulative or too forceful, others will sure sense this and trust you less.

Know when time is on your side and when it isn’t

The more complex a deal becomes, the longer it takes to come up with. You shouldn’t rush to avoid getting stuck on an issue. Instead, keep the momentum going.

Sometimes it’s best to suggest setting aside an intractable issue and move on to other problems. A creative solution may come up later outside of the heat of negotiations.

Know what to do when the negotiation is derailed

Even at the executive level, negotiations have a way of bringing out emotions and making people revert to immature behavior. When a negotiation veers off track, you can save it by taking the high road and not giving in to your own negative emotions. If you experience difficulties in holding your emotions, you should attend a few negotiation workshops or a negotiation course to learn how to react in such situations.

Be flexible enough to change course when necessary

As an effective CEO, you should be a skilled decision-maker. If you find yourself making a wrong decision, you should be flexible and humble enough to reverse just as quickly as you made the decision. Flexibility is a crucial negotiation skill. One indication of a great leader is the ability to understand when something doesn’t work and change course quickly.

3. Go for a ‘win/win’

The better understanding of yourself and other parties at the negotiation table gives you the opportunity to find a win-win negotiated solution, so everyone walks away a winner. Such a situation will not take place if you arrive at the table with the attitude that you have to win at all costs.

Leave your ego behind

When your ego is involved, it’s hard to really listen to others and discover their motivations. You may be so invested in ‘your’ solution that you feel weak if you can’t impose solutions on others. If you’re inflexible, you have less chance of finding a solution that meets all needs.

Listen to others

Some of the worst negotiators are those who dominate and do all the talking. Some of the best listen carefully to recognize ‘hot buttons’ and understand the fundamental motivations of others before coming up with a response. Listen to others, and you may find that they have solutions you have not even thought of.

Ask the right questions

Asking the right questions helps you to discover where flexibility is appropriate, and gives you a better chance of finding common ground. Depending on the type of deal ask about benefits, timing concerns, competitors, best price or offer.

Establish a relationship

No-one wants to negotiate with a person who becomes aggressive or abusive. The ability to build rapport gives you leverage. After the negotiation, you may want to do business with this person again. An unlikely situation occurs if one party feels like a beaten-down loser. Steamrolling others in a negotiation means that you are becoming that someone nobody wants to work with. A collaborative, positive atmosphere during a negotiation will encourage an ongoing and healthy relationship.


To negotiate successfully, you need to broaden your perspective and think creatively.

Take some ingenuity to find the overlap between your needs and the needs of others using the right negotiation tactics. Go into your next negotiation with the right mindset and everyone will win.


Author's Bio:

Authorities in training clients to successfully navigate their high stakes negotiations, also offer readers free online resources in the form of posts, book reviews, negotiation case, Q&A’s, and negotiation definitions.

Mercy - CBNation

This is a post from a CBNation writer. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue 16 Media.

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