How often do you negotiate? I bet it is more often than you think. Negotiating happens every day and in every facet of life. Most people associate negotiating with price. How much can I get the other party to come down on price (or how much can I get the other party to pay)? While getting a good deal in your eyes may make you feel good, this type of negotiating can leave a better deal for both parties on the table.
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Instead of negotiating price, negotiate VALUE. Look at the negotiations as if you have already agreed on a price. What else of value can each party add? Maybe price is very important to one party, but delivery time is important to the other. In this scenario, negotiations can be based on “I can sell you this for $2, but I can’t deliver it for 3 weeks, but at $3.50, I can special order it and rush ship it”. One party gets price, the other party gets quick turnaround.
In order to negotiate value it is critical to understand your opponent’s needs. Do not assume you know what their needs are, do some research. How has their business been performing? Are they strapped for cash? Who is the decision maker? What is the decision maker’s reputation?
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Another effective way to gain an insight into the needs of the other party is to role-play with a partner. Have the partner play devil’s advocate and have them focus on the other side’s possible interests.
Also consider this when you are negotiating inside your business with employees. I think most people assume that salary in the most important thing to employees. What if it isn’t? What if education, or career advancement, or benefits, or 401(k) matching, etc. are just as important as salary to an employee? Think of the employee’s needs and negotiate on meeting those needs.
Effective negotiating skills can be an enormously beneficial tool that can help business owners not only add value to their business, but also add value to their clients businesses.
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