Running a flourishing business is no walk in the park. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that 50% of companies don’t last more than five years, which is a shocking fact for many.
Entrepreneurs face a myriad of challenges from supply chain issues to financing. In light of these obstacles, learning how to negotiate is crucial. With the right skills, businesspeople can learn how to defuse these problems to prevent their companies from going up in flames.
Here’s how savvy entrepreneurs can hone their negotiation skills to keep their businesses going.
The experts at negotiations.com say crystal clear communication helps bring success in negotiations. So, it’s critical to express yourself distinctly and succinctly to make headway in your business deals.
If you and your business partner are not on the same page, contracts may quickly turn sour and collapse. This will lead to losing valuable resources.
It pays to use straightforward and concise language. Avoid technical jargon that can cause some clauses of your contracts to get lost in translation.
Scientific American says every person’s brain is wired differently. How you say something may not be how the other person hears it. So, ask questions and seek clarification whenever necessary.
Apart from delivering your message well, it helps to build rapport with the other side to dissolve tensions. Before jumping into the main discussions, consider using small talk to warm up a conversation. This paves the way for a sound working relationship. Find out more about your business partners’ interests to help think of creative ways to break the ice.
It also helps to pay attention to your body language and demeanor. Trained negotiators typically advise that you keep a friendly disposition with a smile and warm posture, so your genuine intentions shine through. Avoid gestures such as checking the time, which could make you appear disinterested.
Additionally, listen intently and show your engagement, for example by leaning in or nodding your head where necessary.
Thorough preparation can give you an edge. For instance, say you’re negotiating with suppliers for lower prices. It could help to probe into key factors such as:
- How much other suppliers are charging
- The typical payment terms in the industry
- Normal delivery routes and times
- Discounts that supplier has offered before
Once you gather information, you can lay down a stronger, fact-based argument to get a better deal.
Preparation also allows you to dig deeper into the people you are negotiating with to discover their goals and interests. Knowing what the other side wants can help you shift perspective and smoothen the discussions.
The more you try to see things from where your business partner stands, the easier it can be to reach a win-win agreement. This is because you can pick up on what your business partner values more. Your partner’s values aren’t necessarily in line with your own, they can be used as leverage in business negotiations. You can then use the other side’s desired outcomes as a bargaining chip to get what you want in return.
Patience and Resilience
As a business person, you likely have several important stakeholders to deal with. On the internal side, you’ll handle dealings with employees and investors. Looking outward, you’ll meet with external partners such as customers, suppliers and consultants at the negotiating table.
All these encounters require varied approaches which can drain you. In addition, you won’t always get what you want out of every meeting. So, building your resilience and patience is one of keys to staying in the game and achieving your goals.
It pays to separate issues and people so you can remain objective and assess situations with a clear mind.
Also remember that rushed decisions can lead you to fall into traps. So, it is beneficial to practice patience even when things look like they are falling apart. For example, say you’re in a situation where you’re renewing your lease and asking for a longer fixed term lease with your business’ landlord.
If they ask for a higher rental in return, you may be tempted to move out, which will lead to moving costs and new tenant deposit costs. Instead, consider pausing and reflecting on your options. You may find that the landlord is willing to drop the rent increase if you take care of say the building maintenance. In the end, having patience in situations such as these could save you time and money in the long run.
High Emotional Intelligence
A calm and level headed emotional state helps your thought patterns stay clear and sharp throughout the negotiations. Skilled negotiators know how to use some techniques that can prevent negative emotional outbursts.
- Using deep breathing to reset flaring emotions.
- Channeling emotions elsewhere such as taking long runs or walking.
- Taking time outs to gain composure.
- Identifying triggers so you can stay ahead of them.
Negotiations are dynamic situations that can spin on their head at any moment. So, it pays to stay flexible and open-minded so you can adjust to changing situations.
For instance, if you’re negotiating with a customer, the ideal situation is not to present the price right from the get-go. You would rather steer the conversation to center around the product or service’s value before diving into price discussions.
However, the customer might hit you with a price right from the get-go, knocking your pitch off balance. This situation may call for you to deflect and circle back to discussing the product or services benefits before making a counteroffer.
Quick thinking and the agility to traverse between different strategies can go a long way in helping your negotiation skills.
Growing Your Business Through Negotiation Skills
Starting and growing a company can be a tall order. So, consider taking training courses and sharpening your negotiation skills to get ahead of the pack. Learn key skills such as:
- communicating effectively
- building rapport with your business partners
- preparing thoroughly
- maintaining a sound emotional state
- being flexible
Remember that you won’t always get it right off the bat. So, be patient and train yourself to build resilience to last the long haul.