Willoughby Western Lake County Chamber of Commerce

How to Prepare for Your Next Negotiation

Offer Valid: 02/10/2022 - 03/09/2024

Negotiating has become second nature to many people. You may negotiate discounts, better terms on your loan, or a bigger salary. In business, you may negotiate for products or services. But don't forget what you want from a negotiation. Several steps can help ensure your success. Use this guide to learn more about the preparation process, so you're ready when you get to the negotiating table.

Prepare for Negotiations

Don't go to the discussion without all the information. Comprehensive preparation helps you make the best decisions. Consider this "pre-negotiation" period a time to gather intelligence, prepare your strategy, and determine what you want from the negotiation. Preparation reduces the risk of bad agreements. Even if the negotiations turn out poorly, you can use those negative experiences to adjust how you negotiate next time.

You also need to prepare for losing the sale. Sometimes the other side comes to the table with an unappealing agenda. They may also reveal information that makes you question whether they're ready to do business with you. Always have a backup plan, such as negotiations with a similar company.

Learn the Different Negotiation Techniques

Several options are available for getting what you want from negotiations. Your approach must be appropriate to the situation and your audience. The three most common approaches include:

  • Competitive. This is a win-lose approach, where one company wins and the other loses. With this method, you may shop your offer around to many companies to see who gives you the best terms.

  • Negotiating for advantage (getting to yes). In this approach, both sides come out ahead by compromising, trading concessions, and making compromises contingent on the other party's admissions.

  • Fairness approach. Both parties receive a fair deal with this method, with neither side winning or losing. This technique is popular among businesses that seek to build long-term, mutually beneficial relationships.

Know When to End the Negotiations

Sometimes you must walk away from negotiating for the other side to take your bottom line seriously. As negotiations proceed, keep your nonnegotiables in mind. Walk away when the other side tries to cross the line.

Be open to accepting the possibility of losing the sale, whether it's because your counterpart is unwilling or unable to make concessions on price or because they aren't a great cultural fit for your company. Losing the sale can help you succeed in the future and makes you more sensitive to the needs of your clients.

It also teaches you how to avoid those issues in future negotiations. Additionally, it may lead to a better deal or a more substantial relationship with a new vendor. It's a win-win for you and your company.

Work on Presentation

When you're ready to put a deal on the table, spend some extra time making the written version look as good as possible. Think of it as a first impression. Ensure your contract is accurate, clean, professional, and readable. Above all, make sure it's written in plain language and leaves nothing out. Consider sending the document as a PDF using a JPG to PDF converter.

How to Get the Win

Through careful preparations and proven negotiation skills, you can succeed in your future contract talks.

For more negotiation tips and tools, join your local chamber of commerce.