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Achieving Your Business Goals Through Successful Negotiation

Aug 16, 2008
When trying to achieve your business goals, being skilled in negotiation can work strongly in your favour. Whether you would like to win a new contract to drive revenue for your business; work with a supplier to reduce your costs and increase your margins; or work with a problem customer to overcome potential legal ramifications; you can be sure that being a dextrous negotiator will work in your favour.

Clearly Define Your Goals

When you are entering negotiation on behalf of your business, make sure you understand exactly what you would like to achieve, and also how important each part is. When you know this, it's far easier to be able to make concessions in the less important areas should the need arise. You should ensure that all key decision makers on your side agree on the importance of each material point before the negotiations begin.

Know Their Goals

Start to think about what the other party would like to achieve, and what their core focus is. When you comprehend this, you will be in a far better position to make offers that they will seriously consider. Far too often in negotiation, negotiators are far too focused on their business goals to consider how and when they could offer sweet advantages to the other party to clinch the deal.

Think Outside the Box

During the difficult stage of the process, using lateral thinking can work well in your favour. To give an example of out-of-the-box thinking, let's imagine that a marketing business is negotiating with another business over how much they are willing to pay for the provision of IT services. The companies can not agree on a price, and they are stuck in deadlock. The IT services firm is about to lose a large contract. What if the IT services company decided to start using the marketing business as their agency instead of their current one? The marketing agency will pick up a new customer, and then in turn the IT firm can charge them a higher price for their services.

Keep Cool

When either party makes it clear that they have to succeed with negotiation, and the other party doesn't, then one has a clear advantage. You should never appear to be too desperate to get a deal done, or this may give the other party a much stronger hand.

What If ?

If you feel the other party needs a deal more than you, then you may wish to use the tactic of explaining what will happen when negotiations do not go ahead successfully. Different negotiators will use different approaches during this stage in the negotiation. Some people will try to be threatening, and may mention legal ramifications (if applicable) or the detrimental affect this will have on the other parties business if things don't go through; others will try to coyly suggest that they may have to walk away. Whatever approach you decide to take during the negotiation process, make sure you don't play this tactic too early.
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