Approaching a negotiation can be mentally and physically exhausting, but it doesn’t need to be! It may be intimidating to assert yourself, but if you see this as an opportunity to express your ideas, opinions, and needs, and are prepared to speak up, you’ll feel motivated and optimistic. Use these simple tricks to make your next negotiation a little less stressful, and much more successful:
1. What is Your Ideal Scenario?
If you don’t know what you want, how can you expect to get it? List out what would make you happiest, and then go after it! Do not be afraid to aim high. The more detailed you can be, the better, so you will know where you may be able to compromise if necessary.
2. What is Your "Rock Bottom" Scenario?
Equally important, you need to know what the minimum is that you are willing to agree to. Don’t make a deal that will make you miserable.
3. Have a Backup Strategy.
If the opposing party tells you that they are not going to budge on their offer, and it’s below your minimum requirements, it’s time for plan B. Determine ahead of time whether this means that you will:
Walk Away, and: i) Hope they come back to you with a more acceptable offer, but also accept that they might not, or; ii) Shop your offer to someone else in a similar position/company/industry.
Take the Offer, and: i) Make your acceptance contingent on another matter between you, or; ii) Initiate a plan to make up for the loss or inconvenience somewhere else in your business.
For example: If a manufacturer will not budge on product pricing, you could agree to accept this, contingent on them investing in your marketing plan. You’ll lose money on the products deal, but make up for it with the marketing investment. If they refuse, you could take the deal, and also initiate pricing negotiations with a different vendor to make up the difference.
4. Don't Negotiate Against Yourself!
If your offer is declined, give the opposing party a chance to make a counteroffer. If they ask you to come up with a counteroffer for them, politely pass. This is a sneaky negotiation tactic to make you feel rejected and weak so that you will whittle down your offer, potentially giving up more than is necessary to strike a deal. Push back.
5. Silence is Awkward...For Both of You.
If you’ve made your offer and the other party is silent or staring at you, resist the urge to start rambling. They may be trying to get you to do just that, and start negotiating against yourself. Give them some time to formulate a thought and share it with you.
6. If You Give Something, Get Something.
Do not agree to a concession without asking for something in return. This signals to the other party that you are not a push-over to be taken advantage of, and each compromise they expect you to make will carry similar weight for them.
7. Own It!
If you don’t believe in yourself, you might as well not bother. The party on the other side of the negotiation has agreed to speak with you. This means that they value having a conversation with you over lots of other things they could be doing with their precious time. You are important, so act like it!
Andrea A. Tarshus, Esq. began Tarshus Law Firm @Tarshuslaw.com in 2015 to fill a void in the legal ecosystem: efficient, accessible, and fair in-house and General Counsel legal services for business owners. Her engagements regularly include business legal startup paperwork, negotiating and executing contracts, administering internal legal and operational controls, and creating legal documents that protect the company's best interests.
This article is intended to be informational in nature, should not be relied upon by the reader without consultation with an attorney, and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and reader.