If you’re in business, you’re in the selling business. After all, you don’t make money without selling something, right? And part of sales is often negotiating. Many entrepreneurs admit they could use some help refining their negotiation skills and tactics, so we wanted to take a look at exactly what goes into becoming a competent negotiator.
1) Planning skills
Negotiating a sale means being prepared for as many things as you can be.Being prepared before you enter negotiations will help you fortify your position and give you a wealth of knowledge, plans and alternatives you can use at a moment’s notice.Here are some ways you can plan:
- Understand the needs and wants of the company you’re negotiating with.
- Know the deliverables you can produce and why they’re great.
- Prioritize your own needs and wants.
- Decide on the lowest possible deal you’re willing to accept.
2) Ability to think clearly under stress
Negotiating can be tough and, yes, sometimes frustrating. But it’s business, so try not to remain objective. A cool head will help you adapt to changing situations and answer questions on the fly. Keep an open mind, remain down-to-earth, and be willing to compromise if necessary.
3) Organizational skills
How confident would you be in a potential business partner or supplier if they showed up to a meeting 20 minutes late, or didn’t have any files or paperwork prepared? Strong organizational skills do more than just give you a strong foundation in negotiation – they make you look like someone worth doing business with!
4) Communication skills
You don’t have to be the world’s most hypnotizing public speaker, but a certain amount of verbal ability is important for small business negotiations. You should be able to speak confidently about your business, your products or services, and why you feel you’d be a good fit with your potential client. You also must be prepared to answer questions relevant to the negotiation, such as financial or sales questions.
5) Product knowledge
Knowing what you’re selling will show your potential client that you’re knowledgeable and confident – and it’ll make your product or service sound appealing, too! You need a clear understanding of the deliverables and the value your product or service will bring to the client. Have examples of your experience ready to refer to if necessary, as well.
6) Personal integrity
These days, it’s more important than ever to remember that even if you don’t make this sale, your reputation is on the line. Product knowledge is critical, but so are your attitude and behaviours. You’re trying to form a business relationship, so make it as easy as possible for potential clients to want to work with you. Listen carefully, be patient, and don’t forget to have a little fun!
7) Ability to perceive and exploit power
This last negotiation skill isn’t quite as cutthroat as it sounds. Essentially, you should be able to strike that balance between getting what you want and giving away the farm. When negotiating, don’t give information away without getting something in return. Be sure to reciprocate with additional questions after providing a response. Use your instincts and intuition to assess the situation in the room. Should you walk away, or do both parties have a chance at getting something out of the deal?
Do you have any negotiation tips or tricks you’d like to share? Let us know!