By Daniel Kehrer
Success for a small business (and especially those selling business to business) often hinges on striking good agreements and deals – with clients, customers, vendors, employees or others.
So just what are the secrets to masterful deal making? Here are six negotiation essentials that apply to any size business or deal, from Arthur Wylie, author of Only the Crazy and Fearless Win BIG!
- Know your own value. While you can’t know everything the other party might want from you, be sure to understand what your offer or position can do for them. This means researching all the potential benefits and ways that your idea, product and/or service could help the other party, whether it is solve a problem, boost profits or simply make their life or business more convenient and enjoyable.
- Pursue personal relations. Don’t be afraid to show the other party who you are as an individual – what you can do, where your values is and how the deal at hand will benefit everyone. You learn about them; they learn about you. Both parties must feel a synergy; only then can you forge a mutually beneficial relationship. When deals close quickly and easily it’s often because people have come to know and trust each other.
- Get buy-in on your vision. Getting others on board with your plan can be challenging, especially when there are many people involved and/or there is much at stake. A critical step in artful deal making is to articulate your vision of the outcome so the other side desires the very same outcome. Make the “what’s in it for me” factor crystal clear to the other party as you present your position.
- Be humble, fair and honest. You have to be humble, but firm, to effectively broker a deal. There’s a fine line between the two, particularly when you’re dealing with people who’ve already achieved success. Always respect the positions of the other people involved in your negotiations, no matter how badly, or not, you want the deal. It’s critical to be fair and honest about the negotiation and to keep your intentions pure. You need to let people know you have the ability and desire to deliver what you say you will. You also need to showcase with quantifiable examples that you put 100% effort behind everything. In short, your goal is humility with backbone. It’s a tricky but essential combination.
- Apply a little finesse. Blunt force doesn’t work in any negotiation. No matter how large or small, almost every deal takes finesse, which is where skill and natural ability meet. This is where you get to have fun and allow your personality to shine. It means being able to explore different angles. It’s problem solving with a twist. It’s poise and diplomacy. In the end, when finesse comes into play, the parties tend to genuinely like each other and all sides look for ways to make sure the deal goes through. For the best deal makers in business, finesse often comes naturally. If it doesn’t for you, try to develop it, let it flow and have fun trying it.
- Show confidence. It helps to add a dash of swagger as long as you are careful not to appear arrogant (remember humble from above). If finesse is about problem solving and outside-the-box thinking, then swagger is about having a commanding and authoritative disposition and demeanor but without being pretentious or arrogant. It’s about knowing how good you are and hinting at what your business is capable of without bragging. In a deal-making situation, try to exude confidence, success and fearlessness.
Master these six essentials and you’ll be ready to successfully negotiate just about anything for yourself, or your business. Remember, though, that the best negotiating skills are developed over time and with practice, so don’t despair if things don’t all go your way. You may have to stumble a few times, but just get back up and go at it again.
Have a question about negotiating? Connect with a SCORE mentor online or in your community today!