By Fola Daniel Adelesi
Fuel is to automobiles what effective negotiation is to successful enterprises. To succeed in any business endeavour, you need strong negotiation skills. Many businesses thrive because of the ability of the founders to negotiate on transactions and not solely because of their access to funding.
There are products and services your business needs that may be out of reach in value. You will often find that the people you transact with are asking for far more than they should be getting. As a result, you must master the art of driving a hard bargain to ensure a balance in giving and exchanging value.
What to bear in mind before and during negotiation
- Do not negotiate based on emotions: If you negotiate based on how you feel, you may put yourself in a difficult spot. Serious business negotiations has nothing to do with emotions so you must ensure that it doesn’t get in the way. Never show desperation in such situations; the other party might just take the advantage.
- Sentiments are not strong negotiation tools: Sentiments don’t work either when you are dealing with facts and figures. Avoid tying negotiation discussions with religion, gender, race and other factors as they could be detrimental to successful transactions. While sentiments may work in few cases, it is usually not advisable to rely on them.
- Negotiation is like a tug-of-war: Have you played the game before? Two teams are given a long rope and both teams have equal parts of the rope on their sides and when given a signal, they start pulling. The team that is able to pull the rope to their end wins the game. That’s how negotiation works. You go in there to get the juicy part of the deal and the other party has the same motive but who will pull harder?
- You don’t have to conclude immediately: It is ok to walk away and meet again on new terms. Do not put yourself under pressure to reach an agreement immediately. The bottom line is that you should not appear desperate, even when you need an outcome urgently.
Be armed with the following while negotiating
- Information: Before negotiating a deal, you should do basic research on other similar transactions to understand what the outcomes were like. If necessary, talk to a lawyer as well to get a different perspective.
- Facts and Figures: After getting basic information, you should go a step further to get facts and figures surrounding that transaction where applicable. Never negotiate without a game plan.
- Expertise: Always negotiate from a point of knowledge. If you are not an expert in a field and your business needs to negotiate in that area, find an expert to handle that.
- Value Proposition: What you are offering and the ability to sell it to the other party is an important part of the negotiation. The other party must see value in what you are offering them, in exchange for the value you are receiving.
- Win-Win Strategy: Even though each party want the best value from the transaction, applying a win-win strategy is effective for reaching a mutually beneficial agreement. In a win-win situation, you must be able to communicate how both parties will get value from the transaction.
Whatever the outcome, your ability to communicate effectively is key when negotiating. As a good business negotiator, you must also know when to speak and when to listen.
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