The Keys to Negotiating

We are all negotiators.

Whether you are trying to get a better price for meat in the market or a better deal with your suppliers, you are negotiating. When you think of successful negotiators, you probably picture two people across a table from each other having a heated discussion, but in fact 90% of a negotiation happens before you reach the bargaining table. This week, let’s focus on how you can best prepare for a negotiation.

What do they want?

Don’t just think about the person you are negotiating with, but also their stakeholders. List everything you think that they want and then prioritize it from what they want the most to the least. Do the same thing for yourself. That way you’ll be prepared to understand what they won’t give up and what you won’t give up on.

What’s your best alternative?

Before you get to the negotiating table ask yourself, “How low (or high if you are the buyer) will you go?” and “What will happen if the negotiation falls through?”. Imagine you are hiring a salesperson. How much do you need this person to join your team? How much better are they than the runner up? Once you know the answers to these questions, you can decide what salary package offer you simply can’t go above.

Make sure it’s fair

As humans, we’d be happier with a fair deal than a good one. To make sure that both parties think the deal is fair, vocalize your objective criteria. If you are buying cloth to make shirts, you could say your criteria are thread count, delivery costs, and style availability. Tell your supplier how each of these criteria are playing into the amount you are willing to pay.

Is this a one-time thing?

If you are not expecting to negotiate with this person again, make sure that you win. If you are negotiating with them again and again (maybe you are negotiating a bank loan), you need to let them win sometimes too.

Don’t make assumptions

Ask the other party what they want and what they value. You may get lucky and realize that what is important to them is not costly to you. This way you can truly negotiate win-win partnerships.

Be prepared

Do you want next week to be your most successful week yet? Get ready by taking some time today to record all the transactions from the week that you may have missed.

OZÉ is a mobile platform that helps small business owners in Africa (starting in Ghana) to make data-driven decisions to improve their performance, tap into networks, and access capital. Entrepreneurs can track their sales and expenses, who owes them money and who they owe money to, see their profits on a dashboard, send receipts and invoices, and even access a business coach. Interested? Click here to try it today!