In thinking about negotiation—the act of making a deal or bargain with others—it is a business tactic that you either love or hate. But no matter what your take on negotiation is, it’s a very important skill to learn and practice. For entrepreneurs and small businesses, it can be crucial in the start-up and growth phases.
According to Jenna Goudreau, a Forbes staff writer who assistant edited the annual World’s 100 Most Powerful Women package and helped launch and grow ForbesWoman.com, negotiating is truly an art. She also recognizes that successful negotiations occur when people leave their egos out of the equation.
Focus on Results
Rather than focusing on the specifics of you as a leader and your company/product (which can lead to conversations about not only strengths and opportunities, but to potential weaknesses and threats), stick to discussing results. What are the positive results that both parties would be getting out of a deal? Try not to take things too personally.
Share Your Concerns
If you have a concern about a term in the negotiation, address it up front. Ask questions and be sure of the answer before moving further. If you can speak with references or other partners about the negotiation process or a deal that had been worked out, be sure to reach out. You should feel comfortable about the terms of an agreement before signing anything.
Stop Saying “I”
“I want, I want, I want.” This is a phrase that no one wants to hear in business. Negotiation is all about reaching a common ground—finding out how you can get what you want while helping someone else in a mutually beneficial way. What will you be providing? How can you help move the process along? Working together and using words like “we” and “us” can help you get farther in the negotiation process.
In addition to these techniques, can also engage the other person by using your body language (maintaining eye contact and leaning forward into a conversation). It is also important to respect the other party and frame the negotiation around mutual interests.
How do you negotiate? What technique works best for you in that type of situation?
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Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!