Negotiation will always be a required skill for business owners. Negotiation not only involves closing the deal, but also coming up with a desirable situation for both parties. The ideal result in any negotiation is to have an agreement where both parties can get the best results. Here are nine suggestions that you can employ in order to make your negotiation skills work for you.
1. Know your product very well
It’s your product and you should be the expert. Customers are coming to you under the perception that you have what they need. As a business owner, your job now is to ensure that your clients fully understand what it is that you’re offering, and how they would benefit from your product or service. Likewise, if a client is giving you a low-ball offer, knowing the ins-and-outs of your product can come into play. Knowing your product’s features, advantages, and benefits like the back of your hand can pretty much allow you to re-negotiate the terms and make the customer realize that the product or service deserves more than what they’re initially offering.
2. Make sure to Communicate effectively
Negotiation, very much like any form of communication, is a two-way street. In negotiating, you always need to make sure that you communicate with the other party effectively. You can do this by actively listening to what the other party is saying, then saying your piece, then repeating the process until an agreement is reached. One major no-no in communicating is when you talk-over the other party. Make sure to only talk when it’s your turn, ask questions when you need clarification, and paraphrase your customer’s statements when necessary. Doing so will avoid any miscommunication.
3. Don’t Trade in Your Values just to Make a Quick Buck
People respect those who stand by their principles. And believe me, there will be times when your personal integrity will be put to the test when doing business deals. Stay true to your ideals and you will be respected by your clients.
4. Avoid Low Margin Offers
Low margin offers may look good initially. It’s easy to overlook contracts with minimal profit because it is safe to say that at least you’re still earning; but think of the long term effects. Contracts with low margins eventually cost more in the long run. You might not realize it but, your investment , especially time, sometimes cost more than the contract’s worth in the long run.
5. Don’t take the First Offer
It is always given that during negotiations, the customer will always start at the lowest possible rate or price for your service. Always keep in mind that your client’s agenda is to get the best possible service or product at the lowest possible rate. As a business owner, it is your job to make sure that you also get what your service or product is worth. Being amenable to the first offer might strip you of any potential of higher revenue.
6. Actions Speak Louder than Words
As a business owner, you also need to have the knack of reading your customer’s actions. Even though your customers may not explicitly say it, but you can always gauge where you are when it comes to the customer’s list. Some good body language from the customers are quick return calls, strict adherence to appointments, and getting back to you at the time they had promised.
7. Be Consistent
Like in any other negotiation, consistency is always the key. If you used certain formats for a letter, email or presentation, always remember to stick to that format during the entire process. Being consistent, even in the smallest of details, tell your customers that your product or service is also consistent when it comes to quality.
8. Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They’ve Hatched
We’re all too familiar with this expression. There are a lot of things, foreseen and unforeseen, that can happen during any negotiation. Only celebrate your success in closing the deal once you’ve already put your mark on that contract.
9. Always follow the Process
Don’t try to circumvent the negotiation process by doing some things that are ‘under the table.’ Your customer, or his/her representative, are bound by procedures; and so are you. Engaging in agreements not found in any company policy or work contract might not only lose you the deal, but it might also earn you years in the slammer as well.