Smart Work

Be a Master Negotiator

Posted 25 April 2016 | BY Sansan


Negotiation is a daunting prospect for many, but unfortunately it cannot be done away with as it plays a critical role in your success. It impacts salaries, promotions, resources, sales commissions, client and employee relationships, and more. Mastering the art of negotiation is therefore an invaluable skill that will pay off many times over.

Here are some important tips to consider when you’re at the negotiation table with a business partner.

  1. Research

No matter the kind of deal you’re looking to make, preparation is absolutely essential. Begin your groundwork by finding out as much as you can about the person you’re going to negotiate with – learn about his or her culture, personality and negotiation style. Find out what the market average is or what your competitors’ terms are for similar deals, so that you don’t aim too high or too low. Think of creative solutions in advance that could help both you and the other party get what you want.

  1. Know what you’re worth

The fact that the other party is already willing to negotiate with you means that you have something that they want. Be objective and assertive about the unique qualities you can bring to the table that your competitors cannot, and use that to your advantage when justifying what you’re asking for.

  1. Always ask for more than you expect to get

One of the most important rules of negotiation is that you should always set the bar high, so that the other party can meet you halfway. Often, you’d be surprised at what you’re able to get just by asking for it. Your negotiating partner is already prepared to make a lower counter-offer, so don’t make the mistake of asking for too little or you won’t have a wide enough range to negotiate with.

  1. Seek a win-win outcome

Many people often make the mistake of focusing only on getting the best possible outcome for themselves, instead of considering what the other party is looking to get out of the deal. The very act of negotiation, however, is to help both parties reach a mutually beneficial conclusion. Seek to understand your negotiating partner’s needs, so that you can make an offer that is palatable for the person but still gets you what you want.

  1. Don’t be aggressive or confrontational

The quickest and surest way to be met with an unwillingness to cooperate is to display aggression and hostility towards the other party. Listen to what the other party has to say, focus on building trust and getting optimal results. No matter how unreasonable your negotiating partner may be, never jeopardise the discussion by allowing your ego to get the better of you.

Being able to negotiate well can mean the difference between walking away from a deal dissatisfied and scoring an arrangement that well exceeds your expectations. For the modern entrepreneur looking to navigate the business development arena, negotiation is most definitely a skill worth honing.