Negotiation isn't just about making a better sale or hammering out the best terms of a deal. People skilled in arguing for what they want can achieve higher levels of success in all realms of life, regardless of who it involves convincing. Take some tips from Charles Bonello, cofounder of Grand Central Tech, a community of startups and partners that breaks from the traditional accelerator model by providing accepted companies free office space in New York City for a year without requiring equity. Here's his advice on how to be a master negotiator.

1. Visualize what you want.

While it may sound simple, people often don't take the time to envision what a successful outcome actually looks like. Do this by committing to paper--or its digital equivalent--what your success involves. Think tangible and intangible, monetary or even a feeling. Your end goal is whatever you want it to be. The important part is being able to see and feel it before starting to negotiate.  

2. Empathize with your counterpart.

Identify as many variables as possible that could have a material impact on the outcome for any party, and assign a value to each variable and for each party. From there, outline what is valued by your counterpart to determine the total value of the deal from a third-party perspective.

3. Construct and make the first offer.

Break down your best-case scenario outcome that's based on the value it brings to each party, and communicate this outcome simply. While it may seem risky to make the first offer, it's a chess move that sets the tone for the rest of the discussion. In fact, 90 percent of the final format and figures of the deal will be determined by whomever puts them forward first.

4. Negotiate locally while thinking globally.

Be prepared to give and take, following three steps: set prices, barter and offer options. A key part of this process is looking at the deal holistically to determine which variable holds the most weight to you at the end of the deal. You need to be willing to give up something to ultimately gain whatever you deem most valuable.

5. Be ready to close fast or walk away.

Have everything ready to close the deal as soon as possible upon reaching agreement. On the other hand, be prepared to walk away if you're unable to get what's most important to you. If you start the negotiation by understanding your desired outcome, you'll have a good understanding of when the deal is no longer valuable for you.

Published on: Jul 29, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.