TOP TIPS: NEGOTIATING

Most people have to negotiate a deal, or agreement at some point. Although it can be an emotional and daunting experience, preparation and a logical approach will make it easier  and can help you get what you want.

1. Do your homework. Clarify your objectives and make sure you understand what your opposite number wants from the deal. For example, to make a sale, reduce price or increase order volume.

2. Identify the strengths and weaknesses in your proposal and the value of your offering (eg quality product, quick delivery or prompt payment).

3. Decide what is negotiable  for example, price, volume, delivery dates.

4. Choose the right time and place for the negotiation, ideally one where you are not under pressure to close the deal.

5. Open negotiations by outlining your requirements, or terms and conditions, and try to get your opposite number to reveal their starting point for discussions.

6. Ask questions and listen closely to the answers. It will help you understand what your opposite number wants to achieve and you might be able to get them to reveal how flexible they are on certain issues.

7. Be firm, but fair, and avoid appearing too keen to do a deal.

8. Don’t reveal your negotiating position and avoid making unnecessary concessions. If you have to make them, test the strength of the concessions and look for reciprocation.

9. Be aware of negotiating tactics that may be used to force you into rushed decisions or unnecessary concessions (such as false deadlines).

10. At the end of the meeting, summarise what has been agreed and follow up with a written confirmation.