Success in small business means getting the right prices, the right deals, and the right employees you'll need to distinguish yourself from the competition.
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To do it, you're going to have to master the art of negotiation. Here are some tips to get you started.
Know Your Objective
If you don't go into the negotiation knowing what you want, you'll never be disappointed. Unfortunately, you'll also never make it in business because other people are going to walk all over you time and time again. Successful negotiators have a clear understanding about what they want to achieve before they begin the negotiation process. They not only have a "best case scenario" objective, but also a bottom line objective they absolutely must have in order to make the deal work. A successful negotiation is anything in between.
Information is Power
In negotiation, information is power. The most valuable pieces of information are the ones that help you determine what is important to the other party and how far they are willing to go to close the deal. This is going to require you to do some advance research, but you can also gather information by asking probing questions throughout the negotiation.
Don't Be Intimidated
Some small business owners get intimidated when negotiating with larger companies because they believe larger companies have more bargaining power. But once you allow yourself to be intimidated, you've already lost ground in the negotiation. Approach the negotiation process as an equal, confident in your ability to achieve a good deal for your business.
In negotiation, it's expected that both parties will ask for more than they want in hopes of getting what they actually want. When you ask for something, aim high enough to leave room for negotiation, but not so high that it comes off as an insult. Likewise, when the other person asks for something, remember that they've likely inflated their request.
Use Body Language
Good negotiators know how to use body language to their advantage. They also know how to read other people's body language to gain the upper hand. Crossed arms, raised eyebrows, wandering eyes - they all mean something. Pay attention and you'll be surprised what you might learn about what is really going on in the negotiation regardless of what is being said with words.
Negotiation can be nerve-wracking. Sometimes it's tempting to give up concessions just to reach an agreement. But impatience can be costly. If the negotiating process is wearing you out, consider suggesting a break in negotiation to regroup instead of giving in to the other person's demands.
Don't Be Afraid To Walk Away
No matter what happens in the midst of the negotiation process, don't be afraid to exercise your ability to simply walk away from the deal. This might mean that you'll never be able to make the deal, but it might also be the impetus the other person needed to reach an agreement.