All entrepreneurs need to be good negotiators. You deal with clients, business partners, investors, suppliers, distributors—and each time, the success of your business relies squarely on your ability to make the right agreements and secure the most advantageous deals.
Do you have what it takes to be a good negotiator? This article will help identify the traits of smart negotiators and how you can be one, too.
Understand your needs, assumptions and beliefs. Because we are all different, all of us are oging to approach life and negotiation in a different way. Some people value money and power. Some people want to win. Some people want to be popular and liked. It all depends on your personal style and values, but two things are sure: you never get what you want if you don’t know what you’re looking for, and you’re dead if other people understand you better than you do yourself. Write down what you feel are your five biggest motivations, and ask a friend to write down what he thinks are your five biggest motivations. How can someone use those perceptions against you? Or, how can those motivations make you vulnerable?
Know the person you’re dealing with
Try to find out as much as you can about the person you are dealing with, from the industry pipeline and also friends, enemies, and people who have negotiated with him before.
Become emotionally detached to the outcome of negotiations
Banish from your mind that everything depends on this particular deal. You will be able to make better decisions, think better on your feet, and may even appreciate the ‘thrill of the hunt.’ To relieve anxiety, consider meditation, mental visualization, massage, exercise—all those stress management techniques.
If you are overeager other people will use it against you. Or even if they don’t, your intense desire to get a goal may make you blind to details. Use time to your advantage. Focus on the issue. If you don’t know what the next step should be, don’t rush in; see what happens tomorrow.
With patience comes persistence. Your strategy may fail the first time, but see it as a chance to review your mistakes, learn from them, gather more research, and come back and try again.
You’re not a bad person because you want what you want. Don’t feel awkward or bashful for naming your goal. You don’t have to ask for everything the first time out, but you have to beleive that it’s fundamentally okay to make your offer. You’re the one who has to live with the deal when it’s done.
Negotiate even before you start negotiating
If there’s something you want, don’t just call up cold and start negotiating for it. Establish an informal communication level first. Chat, build rapport. Give away good but not vital information, hoping to get good and vital information in return.
To help you get ready for the big day of negotiation, you can also read our article on how to prepare for a presentation.
Photo from oregonstate.edu