Negotiation is one of those things that a lot of business owners struggle with. And it's also one of the most often used skills in a business owner's arsenal, whether it is negotiating salary and benefits for your new key team member, trying to get better pricing or terms with one of your vendors, or negotiating pricing on the new office building you are looking into buying for your next expansion. Being able to negotiate successfully can really help your business grow.
And while a lot of negotiation skill comes with time and practice, there are a few things that you can start doing immediately to calm your nerves and get your head clear before a big negotiation. Which will give you the upper hand on just about anything you try to accomplish. So today, I wanted to share the two exercises that I do before any negotiation.
Let Your Mind Wander
Before I go into any negotiation, I have a clear idea on what I want the outcome to be. Whether that is a dollar amount, a particular partnership or agreement, or something else entirely, I lay it all out for a moment and really let the outcome come to fruition in my head. Writing it out in your journal or laying out the numbers in a spreadsheet can also help you visualize what it would look like should you get what you wanted in the upcoming negotiations. Going over the best-case scenario is a great way to calm your nerves and allows you to focus on the end result of the upcoming meeting. You can repeat this exercise any time you feel anxious or nervous about the upcoming negotiations.
The second exercise is one that those with anxiety should have no problem doing. In fact, we often do it without even knowing. Imaging the worst case scenario sounds like the last thing you would want to do when trying to calm your nerves, but allowing yourself a moment to really feel what it would mean to lose the negotiation, and what is at stake and what could happen, allows you to approach it from a place of understanding. Would it be the end of the world if you didn't get that discount from your vendor? If you lost that key hire because you couldn't come to terms on compensation, would it be the end of your business? What would losing look like for your business? For the majority of situations, even the worst case scenario is simply a setback but not a deal breaker. Going over the worst case scenario allows you to move past the feelings and work towards creating the best case scenario that you envisioned in the first exercise.
If All Else Fails, Breathe
You have imagined the best-case and the worst-case scenarios and your nerves are still all over the place? Relax. Breathe. And go into the meeting anyway. The more you face your fears and practice negotiations, the better you will become and the more likely you are to get a favorable outcome.