It could be anything from a multi-million dollar merger to the terms of your current cable plan. But no matter what’s at stake, the better you are at negotiation, the more likely you are to get both what you want and what you deserve.
But there’s more to negotiation than just coming out ahead. In fact, the most successful negotiations are often the ones that leave both parties happy and satisfied with the outcome. After all, many long-standing business partnerships are built on the backs of mutually beneficial agreements. It’s unlikely you’ll be working with them in the long-term, no matter how far ahead you came out, if your negotiations are excessively brutal.
The key, it seems, is all about balance. You can’t be afraid to shoot for what you want but you certainly don’t want to drive away the party you’re negotiating with. That is where the art of negotiation comes in – learning how to walk that fine line between asking for too much and being taken advantage of.
In this eBook, we’ll be looking at how to achieve this balance while walking you through the three phases of successful contract negotiation: Preparation, Negotiation, and Execution.
Each step is absolutely critical to a successful negotiation process and, as such, should not be skipped under any circumstances. Even the most highly skilled negotiator needs to go through each of these phases to get the most out of any deal.
We’ll also be taking a look at some of the Dos and Don’ts of contract negotiation along the way as well as tips and tricks that will help ensure you walk away with everything you’re shooting for.
So, no matter what you’re negotiating or the severity of the stakes involved, this eBook will serve as your guide through this delicate and crucial process.
Let’s get negotiating!
Phase 1: Preparation
Just like nearly any endeavor in life, preparation is one of the most important indicators of achievement. The renowned ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius perhaps put it best, “Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.”
Negotiation is no different. Walking into a negotiation without having done your due diligence is a bit like going into a dodgeball match wearing a blindfold: you won’t know what you’re aiming for, you’re likely to get hit where it hurts most and from every angle, and you’re probably going to end up bruised and battered by the end of it all.
The question is, then, how do you prepare for a negotiation to ensure you come out successful? There a few things to consider here.
Position vs. Interest
First off, one of the most important steps is first thinking about what you hope to achieve from these negotiations by considering your own position and interests. While these two terms might sound similar, there’s actually quite a difference between them.
A position is the specific ask of a single party. The interest, on the other hand, is the underlying goal behind these specific asks.
Your position in talks with the current landowner would be to buy the plot for a set amount if you would like to acquire a plot of land so that at some point you can develop an apartment complex on it,. The interest would be the future development of valuable real estate.
Defining your positions and interests for every aspect of the negotiation is absolutely critical to creating an effective negotiation strategy. Depending on the type of negotiation, keeping your overall interests hidden might be necessary in order to ensure you receive the outcome you’re looking for.
The landowner may up his asking price accordingly if he discovers you intend to build a piece of real-estate that’s going to be highly valued.
In that same vein, it’s also important to try and determine the position and interests of the party you’re negotiating with before walking into the room as well. Anticipating their actual offer (position) beforehand can help you develop counterpoints that you can use for a better outcome.
What’s more, if you are able to discover their underlying interests, you can also better gauge how far they are willing to stretch their immediate terms. You’ll have even more leverage in the negotiation if they have a higher stake in the game than they are letting on.
While it’s true that negotiations can be about uncovering weakness as above, that certainly isn’t the only way to come to an agreement. Sometimes, as mentioned earlier, the best terms are those that leave both parties happy rather than one limping away.
Determining the other party’s interests comes into play in this type of negotiation as well. The other party may propose certain terms that you may find to be wholly unrealistic and non-negotiable. Rather than responding with a simple “no” though, if you understand their interests you can instead suggest terms they haven’t considered that you still find to be favorable.
In the words of Jerry Maguire, think of it as “help me… help you. Help me, help you.”
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