Small business owners face negotiation challenges every day, in which they must strategically push to get the other side to give in to their demands. Whether negotiating salary requirements with employees, pricing with vendors, or contract terms with potential partners, there are certain techniques you can employ to get your way time and time again.
In this Roundtable Discussion, BrandMakerNews asked entrepreneurs to reveal the most effective negotiation tactics they use to get positive results for their businesses. The responses we received offer several different approaches you can use to get things to work in your favor.
Here are 11 powerful negotiation tactics to help you negotiate your way to YES:
1. You have to know what you want. Walking into a negotiation blind is suicide. You must have an idea of the final outcome and then you need to keep that secret. Dont walk in and lay your cards on the table, but play the game. That means you need to do your homework. You need to know what the item really costs and then negotiate from that position. You also need to make sure you are negotiating with a decision maker. Dont waste time haggling with junior personnel that cannot make decisions. Ask to speak to someone with the power to negotiate and make it clear you will only speak to them. – Louis Rosas-Guyon, President, R-Squared Computing
2. I like to play dumb sometimes. Too many people want to act like they are the smartest person at the table, that isn’t always the best position to be in. If you act dumb you can ask a lot of questions, which can give you a leg up in regards to your next move. -Derek Johnson, CEO, Tatango, Inc.
3. Know which terms are essential for you and what your “wiggle room” is for that term (e.g., you ask for X dollars but will take X-Y dollars). -James C. Roberts III, Global CApital Law Group
4. I only do business with friends. I make sure to understand who and what people are all about. I invite potential business paartners to come sailing with me, go for a hike, enjoy a meal and a concert. If I don’t know and trust them – I don’t do business with them. I want them to feel it is in their own best interest to have the intention of treating me and my business right. -Anthony Sandberg, President, OCSC Sailing
5. Look for ways to create value for the other party, including things that they hadn’t thought of. I start by determining what my boundaries are, and then find ways to make the deal so compelling for them based on their perceived wants and needs, that they agree. The key is not what I would consider important and valuable, but what they do. -Ronald Kaufman, Author of “Anatomy of Success”
6. Don’t declare war. Don’t draw a line in the sand. Don’t threaten. It is important to approach your discussion as a friendly, professional experience, and expect a win-win outcome. Its always helpful to begin by laying out points of agreement, and stating your expectation that you will reach common ground. -Judy Feld, Executive Coach, COACHNET
7. Let people know that you are a small business so money is tight, let them know that you will have to talk to a few competitors before you decide, let them know that you want to form a partnership and you have a great business plan that will take off and when it does you will have a lot more business for them. -Adam Kruse, The Hermann London Group
8. You need to do your research on your opponent. Specifically you need to find two items; their fears and their motivators. The key to negotiation comes down to psychologically making your opponents fears magnified and offerring your solution (whatever it may be) as the best way to alleviate whatever their fear is. If you can tie in their other motivators to backup your solution…..Well, the deal will be yours before you even know it. -Zachary Weiner, CEO, LuxuryReach Inc.
9. Start out with a fair offering; a reasonable market-based (yet nicely profitable) price, reasonable terms and conditions that are both customer-friendly and vendor-friendly, and then present the offering with confidence and an air of finality. Very few customers ask me to cut my price when I use this approach. -Troy Harrison, President, SalesForce Solutions
10. I ask closed-ended questions which require a yes or no answer and I reinforce the desired answer by using body language. For instance, if I ask a question with a desire yes answer, then I subtly nod my head in the affirmative. I alway have a quick but methodical response to any questions I am asked and I always create a need or desire to do business with me. – S. E. Day, Author, “How to Legally Steal Your Next Vehicle”
11. We offer to feature that person on our blog. For someone who really gives us a great deal, we’ll record a testimonial on video and allow them to post it on their site. Since first-hand testimonials are priceless, this gives us some great pull in negotiations. -Elura Nanos, Esq, Owner, Lawyer Up
Don’t leave the outcome of your next business deal to chance. Arm yourself with the powerful negotiation tactics above to make sure things work out in your favor. Learn how to negotiate your way to yes! Your small business will thank you.