Negotiation is a fundamental business skill, but many small business owners struggle with it. Lots of small business owners have to negotiate prices with vendors, negotiate fees with clients, negotiate lease terms with landlords and figure out how to get the most out of every transaction or interaction. Many people are uncomfortable with negotiations because they don’t like confrontation, they don’t want to appear rude or ungrateful – or because they’re afraid of losing a customer or alienating a vendor or otherwise damaging their business.
But the truth is, if you can be a better negotiator, your business will be exponentially better off. Think of how much money you could save, how much more profit you could make and how much more smoothly your business operations would go if you could only learn to ask for a slightly better deal on some of the various transactions that make up your business career!
Negotiation Techniques You Can Start Using Today
Stop Being Afraid
Don’t assume that people are going to think you’re being “pushy” or rude just by asking for a better deal or asking them to reconsider an offer. Studies have shown that many people tend to overestimate the degree to which other people think that they’re being assertive. Just asking for what you need is not necessarily seen by other people as being confrontational or aggressive. It often helps your cause – and helps your business – to stop worrying so much about what other people think, and focus on whether a particular deal or sale or agreement is really right for you and your company.
Do Your Research First
As in so many things in life, in negotiation, it pays to be prepared. Do your homework before going into any negotiation. Being equipped with the right data and information can help you have a better understanding of the overall deal and will help you know what price or which deal terms are right for your business’ needs. Know the market price of whatever vendor’s product or service you’re thinking of buying – can you get a better deal? Are they overcharging you? Also, don’t be afraid to negotiate about the terms of a deal. Maybe a vendor or customer will agree to a more favorable price in exchange for different payment terms – you might not get everything you want out of a negotiation, but there are often various ways to sweeten a deal (beyond price) to make sure you feel happy with the overall decision.
Work as a Team
Negotiation is often thought of as being an adversarial process of “you vs. the other side.” But this is not the only way to conduct negotiations! Instead, it’s often better if you approach negotiation as a collaborative, mutually beneficial process. After all, both of you usually want the deal to get done – it’s often just a matter of figuring out the right combination of details that make the deal a true win-win situation for both sides. Think creatively, work with a spirit of kindness and trust and try to see things from the perspective of the other side of the table – how can you both find a positive, innovative solution where you can both walk away happy?
To learn more about how to be a better negotiator, check out this article in Lifehacker: How to Get Over Your Fear of Negotiating and Ask For More.