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Seven Tips for Negotiating in Business Today

It is such an honor to work with and help our clients in their business as they negotiate through numerous transactions and relationships. It is always interesting to help clients as they communicate with the opposing parties as the parties try to obtain a resolution to their needs. The following seven tips are based upon my experience in witnessing hundreds of transactions recently.

  1. List the accomplishments you want to achieve. Many times, writing out and listing the objectives you hope to achieve will help in prioritizing the things you really want to accomplish. Even though this process seems simple, it generally helps in determining the real needs and wants in negotiating.
  2. Ask for the things you want. Successful negotiators generally are clear and decisive as to what they want. Many are assertive and direct. This can be accomplished while still being kind and professional. I am amazed at how many times when people are clear about what they want or need to accomplish, stating it with decisiveness and directness, almost makes it seem like a foregone conclusion that it must occur. Many negotiations include the dance of people asking for the things they really need and not backing off. Making sure that your needs are met while maintaining professionalism and respect for the other side’s point of view is key.
  3. Don’t rush the negotiation. More times than not, the best negotiations have resulted in our clients not being in a hurry to get it over. This has been evident recently more than ever. Not rushing the negotiating, conversation and expectations result in a much better outcome most of the time. Be patient.
  4. A great time to listen and learn. Listen to the other side. Very few people are willing to come right out and say why they cannot or will not take a certain action to get to resolution of a transaction. However, if you listen close enough, often times you will gain an understanding of why they cannot or will not do so. Then, the power shifts back to you for you to determine a workaround the barrier to accomplish your goals. When negotiating with clients in mediation or in contracts for clients, when we listen close enough, we hear the real issues coming to light. Allow those barriers to become opportunities.
  5. Keep your numbers close to your chest. When the negotiations turn to the numbers, often dollars, keep your bottom line close to your chest. Keep your aim high if you are asking for money and be willing to move slowly. Once the number comes down, it is almost impossible to get it to go back up. Thus, be willing to move but move slowly and optimistically. Showing a forecast of how you plan to move in your numbers can be a benefit in helping the other side getting closer to your number. Also, being willing to say “no” to an offer can be beneficial in negotiations.
  6. Keep the negotiations professional, not personal. Keeping negotiations on a professional level and about the issues helps protect the negotiations from becoming personal. Focus on determining what the issue is and how to solve the issue. Avoid focusing on how unprofessional the other side might seem. Try to understand their actions and/or words and use that to your advantage.
  7. What are the pressure points for the other side? Knowing as much as possible about the other side usually provides value in negotiations. Does the other side have a deadline to meet? Are there internal or external pressures to solve the issue? What does the other side need to resolve the issue? What happens if a resolution is not reached? What is the worse and best case scenario for the other side? These are a few questions which can help determine the need for the deal for the other side.

I hope these ideas and suggestions are helpful to you in your negotiations. If you have questions about negotiations, please feel free to contact us.

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About James Vann

James’ law practice concentrates on creditors’ rights, unmanned aircraft systems, business law and planning and succession, civil commercial litigation, estate planning and business succession planning. Through his family business, James learned at an early age the value of sound business judgment and values. When representing his clients, James strives to consider business and economic issues, as well as the legal issues.