Five Tips for Effective Negotiation

If you follow Patricia Barclay on LinkedIn (Here) you will have seen that she posted a series of negotiating tips last week.

In case you missed them here are the main points

1 – Explore all your options.  What routes are open to you to reach your goal?  What are the pros and cons of each?  This allows you to identify the most appropriate option for you before you head into detailed negotiations and also means that during those negotiations you can weigh up what is on the table with the alternatives.  You then give yourself permission to walk away if the alternatives look better than the current deal and avoid getting caught up in the moment and falling into a poor deal

2 – Take the lead.  Try to set the initial agenda, make the first offer, put together the first drafts.  This means that your concerns and interests are the main focus of the discussions.  You also anchor the value of the deal.  It does mean you need to do more preparation work to ensure you know the true value and have a clear idea of the main issues but it will pay off so long as you can back up your position with facts.  It is called anchoring and basically pulls the final outcome closer to your end of the spectrum.  By having your lawyer draft the contracts you make lots of little gains as the other side will accept a lot of points that would not be their first choice but are acceptable as they will not want to argue every issue and will want to concentrate on the major issues

3 – Consider why the other party wants to deal with you.  Are there some special attributes about what you are offering?  Do you fill a hole in their business?  It is rarely that you are simply the “best”.  There will usually be some feature that particularly matters to the other party.  By understanding your value to them you can negotiate more effectively by asking for more in return for the things that matter to them.  Remember that what you think is the most exciting feature of your offering may not be how it is perceived by others so take time to consider this.

4 – Don’t try to do negotiate alone.  Having someone along with you will not only make you feel more confident but there are also practical advantages.  It is very hard to order your arguments and explain your position while watching for reactions and keeping track of the other party’s points.  If you have someone with you one of you can do the talking while the other notes responses and body language.  There is an additional benefit too which is if you are not getting your point over having someone else take over the explanation can often lead to a breakthrough.  You may feel that they are saying the same thing but just another voice or the way they phrase it may make the difference

5 – Have you engaged with all the relevant people on your own side?  If you are going to get a good deal and be able to implement it fully you need to ensure you have proper buy in.  Think about who you know who has dealt with this situation or these people before - can they give you any hints?  Who is going to have to implement the deal?  Are they happy with the practicalities that are proposed?  If you are negotiating a solution to a problem has anyone who has been hurt by the problem been involved in crafting the solution?  You may not be able to accommodate all their views, but it is important that they feel heard and that where their views cannot be incorporated, they understand why.  If you are doing something very radical, you would be wise to give a heads up to any long-term employees so that this does not come as a surprise to them.  They need to feel that their long service and experience is respected, and they may be able to spot issues you have overlooked.  Also, if they buy in to the changes, they will likely carry weight in persuading others of the merit of the new plan.

In short, the most important thing that you can do is to prepare thoroughly for any negotiation.  Most people do not do this so this will give you an immediate advantage.


If you would like to discuss any aspect of this further or to explore how we might help you contact us at 0131 202 6527 or through

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