If you're in business, you negotiate-every day of the week. While you may not be negotiating multimillion-dollar deals with customers or vendors, chances are you're negotiating all sorts of things-from a hoped-for raise, to a flexible work schedule, to a plum assignment on a product development team.
Negotiation is a skill that gets better with practice-the more you negotiate, the more comfortable you'll be and the better your skills. That said, there are certain negotiation tips that can quickly move you from amateur to pro status. Give these a try the next time you find yourself in a negotiation, and you will exceed your expectations every time.
1. Don't say yes to a proposal the first time you hear it
The fact is, most negotiators make an initial offer that is lower than the number that they are prepared to settle for-it's just an expected part of the negotiation game. When someone makes an offer, think it over first and don't be too desperate to accept it. If the offer doesn't meet your needs, then make a counteroffer that does.
2. Do conduct the negotiation at your site or at a neutral location
You put the other party at an advantage when you agree to conduct the negotiation at their offices. Try to schedule negotiations at your offices whenever possible. Worst case, pick a neutral location that evens the playing field.
3. Don't be the first to name a price
There's a rule in negotiation that the first party to name a price is the one that ends up losing. Push the other party to do most of the talking and to reveal exactly what it is that they're looking for-and the outline of a possible deal.
4. Do deal only with decision makers
It's a waste of your time to negotiate with people who don't have the authority to agree to a deal. Whenever possible, push to negotiate with the person who is in the position to say "Yes."
5. Don't negotiate with yourself
When you make a proposal to another party, give them time to consider it and respond. Don't be so desperate that you lower your price even before they have a chance to respond.
6. Do control your emotions and temper
Some negotiations can get very heated, however, when you lose your cool, then you're going to make mistakes. Not only that, but you reduce the chances of getting the deal that you want. Always be professional, and keep your emotions and temper in check.
7. Don't be afraid to say no
The most powerful word you can utter in any negotiation is "No." If you're not satisfied with a proposal, then don't hesitate to use it.
8. Do seek win-win outcomes
Every party in a negotiation should be a winner-when you've got a win-lose situation, the outcome is imbalanced, and long-term relationships will be damaged. Seek win-win outcomes that will build your business relationships, not destroy them.
9. Don't be intimidated
Remember: the other party needs you as much as you need them. Refuse to be intimidated.