Have you ever walked away from a negotiating table? Were you sure about what you did? Or were you haunted by doubts?
If you are too assertive or if you walk away too early the deal might be lost or the relationship ruined. If you are too timid then you leave money on the table.
Effective negotiation demands clarity above all. It is essential to know beforehand what you want. What is critical? What is unacceptable? Although it is difficult: you have to have a plan. You have to determine your ‘walk-away’ point always before, and not in the heat of the discussion.
Before deciding what your deal-breaking point is, ask yourself how important the relationship is with this stakeholder. There is more than just price and cost involved. Could this supplier, distributor or customer open a door for you in future? If so, you could settle for what you get instead of putting the stakes too high on what you want.
And find out what you can about the party you are negotiating with. What would their dream deal be? Understanding their situation gives you the power to close a favourable deal. Reminder: the best deals are win-win deals. Taking, but also giving, is necessary from both sides. Therefore, take stock of what else you can offer beside money. A payment schedule? Knowledge sharing? Contacts? You might want to draw one of these rabbits-out-of-the-hat in order to move swiftly to a win-win deal that makes the relationship blossom and everybody think it was a good deal. No, it was a great deal.
What is your strong point in negotiations?
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