How To Be A Good Negotiator In Business: 8 Tips To Close The Deal
Knowing how to be a good negotiator in business can be a winning skill. Negotiations are a vital part of every online business.
Whether you’re looking on either side of the supply chain or dealing with customers, successful negotiations get you good value from a sale or purchase.
Knowing how to be a good business negotiator isn’t necessarily akin to negotiating on the streets. It’s not just a matter of lowering your price aggressively till the other party gives up.
You need to implement smart negotiation strategies to become a powerful negotiator.
In this article, we look at eight such strategies.
1. Know What You Want
Oftentimes, entrepreneurs and negotiators look for complex strategies on how to get success in business negotiations. But, there’s no magic formula. The key lies in knowing exactly what you want from the negotiation.
- A certain price
- The exact number of purchases
- A mutual agreement in which your company is getting X benefits
You need to know what you exactly want from the negotiation. It’s not as simple as lowering the price until you feel satisfied. You don’t need to lock on to an exact figure–one that will make you and the other party happy. Having a range and a cap in mind will guide you through the negotiation.
An entrepreneur who is sure of themselves is a confident negotiator. And a confident negotiator is a good negotiator.
2. Listen To What They Want
Knowing how to be a good negotiator in business requires some very basic social skills such as listening. It’s vital to the flow of every conversation and in negotiations, as well. It’s common knowledge that most people think of what to say even before the other person is done.
That only results in half-hearted responses and in a negotiation, such responses will most likely fail to add any value to the other party. To solve this, practice active listening.
Active listening is most often used by counselors. It requires the listener to really tune into what you are saying, without adding any judgment or opinions. It helps the listener understand the values of the speaker and what they’re looking for.
In negotiations, this can translate into you learning what the other person wants out of this deal. This, in turn, can help you formulate a deal that benefits you both. You get to close the deal and call it a win-win. What’s better than that?
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3. Practice In Advance
Nothing will teach you how to get success in business negotiations better than good ol’ practice. Practice makes perfect and this applies to just about everything in life, even when it’s about knowing how to be a good negotiator in business.
However, when it comes to conversation and negotiations, the practice has a two-pronged benefit. If you practice negotiations with yourself and a person, you’ll be in a strong position to preempt a lot of their questions and have answers ready for them.
You might even begin to see the cracks in your end of the deal and might lead you to do more research and fix a few things that can make your points a lot better and, in turn, make you a powerful negotiator.
4. Research The Other Party
Research the person/ people you’re negotiating with and the company they’re representing if it is a B2B negotiation. Research goes a long way and it will help you greatly with business negotiations.
Just like a Football manager will look into the other team and prepare their tactics, a powerful negotiator will learn about who they’re talking to, what they value, the kind of deals they’ve made in the past, and what their company’s future plans are.
You’ll be more aligned with what they want and can even offer options that they didn’t think about.
5. Practice Good Body Language
Practicing approachable body language is vital to getting the other party in the negotiation on your side. Here are some things you can try:
Make eye contact: In a friendly, approachable way. Avoid staring and intensely gazing at the person. Don’t make it artificial by keeping your eyes wide open as they’re talking, instead of actually listening to them.
Fix your posture: Good posture not only prevents back problems but also makes you seem like a confident, good negotiator. Don’t slouch or sit like you’re trying to create a triangle with the chair.
Acknowledge the speaker: Nod and react to what the other person is saying and take some time to answer them instead of jumping right into your speech.
Practice your handshake: Don’t crush their hand, but don’t tickle them with your handshake either. All good things lie with balance.
Avoid showing signs of anxiety: Fidgeting, playing with your nails, touching your face, or moving your legs rapidly all scream “I’m a bad negotiator”. Everyone gets anxious before a big deal, just take a deep breath and avoid showing it in the open.
There are plenty of articles and books that talk about body language. Learning them will only help your cause.
Here’s a quick video of body language hacks for better negotiations.
6. Learn To Read Good Body Language
Humans subconsciously know what a certain type of body language means. However, most of us don’t analyze them as anything beyond that.
Someone is either approachable or not, for most people. However, knowing how to be a good negotiator in business is about learning to read those signs and use them to your advantage.
Someone is fidgeting? Maybe they’re anxious about talking to you? Ease them into the conversation so that they feel like they’re an active part of this discussion.
Good negotiators learn to read the situation and make the conversation positive so that everyone feels like they’re getting value out of the discussion.
7. Read Up
Books on social skills can teach you how to be a good negotiator in business. Dale Carnegie’s ‘How To Win Friends & Influence People’ is a timeless classic and its teachings remain true in this day and age, as well.
Much like it, there are a plethora of books available to read on a variety of topics.
At the same time, general reading and reading about current affairs and pop culture can help with small talk and can make you sound well informed.
At the end of the day, negotiations are as much about the prospects of the deal, as they are about the people who are involved in the dealmaking. A good negotiator knows that keeps themselves aware and educated.
8. Don’t Plan To Close The Deal
Quite ironic for an article that teaches you how to be a good negotiator in business. A powerful negotiator, much like a great salesperson knows two things that are more important than closing the deal:
These are two of the most fundamental aspects of most negotiation strategies. Instead of thinking about closing the deal, think about how you can add value to your client/ the other party.
Instead of thinking about the client as a sale or as a way to make profits for your business, think about how you can build a long term relationship with them.
Negotiation isn’t a one-off game. If you’ve made the other party happy, while meeting your requirements, then you’ve opened the door for future negotiations.
Think about what the other party really needs and think about where that falls into your own requirements.
Chances are, much like Venn diagrams, there is an intersecting zone for both your requirements. Once you tap into that zone, you’ll both end the negotiation satisfied. And this is a recipe for future deals.
Negotiations are similar to other important events. There’s the pre-execution, the execution, and the post-execution. If you want to learn how to be a good negotiator in business, you’ll have to learn to sharpen your ability in all three of these.
Think about the kind of research and practice you can do, how presentable and confident you can sound on the day of, and how you can turn this negotiation into a relationship.
Once you have all of these aspects in the bag, you’ll be negotiating your way into and out of most business deals!