[This article was written by Dawn Castell.]
Negotiation is key to doing business. The best deals are made in this manner, as are how contracts are worded. Negotiations can shape a business, as well as break them. There are keys to how this can be done. Professionalism at every turn is one of those keys. If, as an owner or executive, a person is shaky in this part of the business, then they may need to turn to negotiation training. A contract can put a business into a situation that will cost them more than the deal was worth, in the end. That is why learning all that can be learned is a good idea.
Be prepared is drilled into people from early childhood. This is very true for negotiation. A person must know what they are going into the negotiation for. They need to know what they are able and unable to compromise on. Knowledge of needs and the person sitting across the table will help keep away nervousness and uncertainty. Never go into a room to work out a deal if they are not the final decision maker. Preparation in business means that customers are going to be pleased and will come back.
Have a strategy before walking into the room. Know the way the other person will deal with everything. Know what the extremes of the deal can be. Remember what the company is able to do. Set goals for the negotiation. Never go in without a plan on how to accomplish what is needed. The other person will have a strategy, so be on par with them. There will be back and forth, but know what the plan is and execute it. Doing this in everyday business can lead to a better business.
Find ways to have an upper hand. The company negotiating across the table may need the deal more than they are letting on. There will be unknowns when starting to plan, but find them. Leverage will get a better deal. If the other person relies on keeping a rhythm, find a way to break it. Gain knowledge in psychology, if need be. The people in the room are there to make the best deal for who they represent, not make friends. Business leaders can be friends, but, as in everyday business, professionalism is key.
Arguing between negotiators can lead to very bad deals. It can also lead to the end of the deal, even if it is needed by one or both of the sides. Being argumentative is unprofessional and can lead to a bad reputation. If there is a chance that the negotiations could lead to this, step away and send someone else in. Every person has a snapping point, but it is extremely bad for this to happen at the table. The same goes for dealing with customers and clients. A temper leads to a bad reputation that can kill a business. Never allow a situation to not show professionalism. If that happens, walk away and calm down. If need be, send someone else to finish.
Preparing to negotiate is the same as how a person should approach their business. There needs to be a level of preparation, strategy, leverage, and a cool head. Learning negotiation tactics will show a person how they can run their business in a better way. The one word that should be in every part of both is professionalism. Learn that for one and a person will see how to apply it to the other. Employees want to negotiate for better pay or position. The person on the other side of the table wants better prices and more business. The same in different contexts.