According to the Harvard Business Review, one of the most common ways we lose the upper hand in a negotiation is to undermine your negotiation team. Whether you have a team or are flying solo, create a negotiation strategy that is aligned with your goals before ever meeting with a client. Coming to the table blind with just hope and an argument won’t get you very far. To close the sale like a pro, get started with these expert tips for business negotiations and win big.
Do your homework
Walking into a business meeting without every detail thoroughly researched and validated inside and out is a waste of time. Study your proposal, the pros and cons, the financial figures and the backgrounds of the people you’re meeting with. Arriving completely prepared can tip the scales in your favor. An article in Inc. points to the “consistency principle,” meaning the person you’re meeting with will defer to your authority if you firmly understand and know what you’re talking about.
Hone your sales skills
It’s difficult to hone your sales skills before you’ve had the appropriate practice. But sales is only something you can practice in real-time action. Recruit a mentor to give you pointers on how to improve your game, or ask a superior if you can mentor a negotiation. To get immediate experience, consider launching your own side business to work on your sales skills. Consider freelancing a service or working with leaders in the direct sales industry like Amway. Use their tools and resources to refine your approach and get comfortable working your sales platform and growing your business before taking your skills to your next business meeting.
Stay open-minded before you enter the meeting room on what you want to accomplish. Being flexible and being a pushover are two different things. But you may uncover new ideas and benefits to your situation from the people you’re negotiating with. But before you say yes to a new term, digest it and research the proposition first. It’s easy to want to skip the negotiation and start signing papers simply to avoid the stress of the meeting room.
Be willing to walk away
Staying flexible can leave the door open to new opportunities, but shouldn’t mean bending until you sign away your stake. Enter every meeting with the mindset that you can just walk away if the terms don’t add up for your interests. The first meeting or contract is just the jumping off point to possibilities. Once someone is interested in saying yes, you can use their feedback and experience negotiating with them to find a better offer.
Think about what they’re getting
You already know what you’re getting from the business deal you want to sign. But what about the other party? Think about what everyone in the meeting room is actually getting from your terms and how you can meet their needs. If you’re meeting with investors, show them how they’ll make a healthy return and in what projected time frame. Or if you’re signing on a silent partner, walk them through what their financial participation will look like and the commitment involved. The more you can show you have your colleague’s best interest at heart, the easier it will be to seal the deal.