“So what’s the best deal you can offer me then?” This is one of those questions you dread being asked in a business negotiation because it puts you on the back foot. It also summarises quite nicely one of the main challenges of a negotiation – how to get yourself in a strong position. I have some key pointers:
Don’t start negotiating right at the beginning of your discussion
It’s what the questioner above is hoping you’ll do. It will leave you in a weak position early on because you probably don’t know enough yet about where they are coming from. Take your time and…
Ask lots of searching questions
In a negotiation, information is power. The more you can ask the more you’ll find out.
Have a structure and follow it
- Plan your approach
- Establish a friendly rapport
- Ask relevant questions and signal what you want them to think your position is
- Ideally get them to propose first because then you get information first
- Always politely reject their first proposal even if it gives you what you want, it will never be their best offer
- Trade don’t give concessions
- If you think you’ve got agreement then ask for it
Trade concessions, don’t give them away
Why should you give something without getting something back in return – and I don’t mean getting the deal itself in return. For example: “If you’ll increase your order by 10,000 tons, then yes I’ll give you the discount you’re asking for” – see what I mean?
Keep pushing until they’ll move no more
That’s the point at which to shake hands – not before!
And a key tip to finish? The more you get them talking the stronger your position will be.
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