Steps to successful strategic negotiation

There are six strategic steps that are essential for effective negotiation.  You are the supplier and you have to have faith in your product or service, but you also need to know where the other party is coming from.

As you go through each step, seek to improve any areas where you know you may be weak.

1. Prepare. Don’t make the mistake of not preparing for a negotiation situation.  You need to understand the needs and possible concerns of the other party.  You also have to think about how you will present your product or service.

2. Rehearse. You cannot put enough weight on rehearsing.  Put yourself in the mind of the other party.  What do they want to achieve from the negotiations?  What are they likely to ask for?  What sticky questions could they ask you? Role play with somebody else if possible and play out different scenarios but doing this alone is fine too, it simply helps you to consider all angles and be prepared.

3. Describe. Visualise the negotiation process.  Can you describe what you have to offer the other party focusing on the benefits and value to them?  Do not let price enter at this stage or you will be on a downward spiral.

4. Propose. In a negotiation situation you will arrive at a point where someone has to make a proposal.  DO NOT make the first proposal.  You have made your offer so let the other party put a proposal forward first.

5. Negotiate. If the other party made the first proposal then you are now in control because you are aware of their starting point.  This may be way off where you need it to be so you will have to think how you are going to handle their negotiation tactics.  It is vital that you do not concede to something you are not happy with.

6. Agree. One of the biggest challenges in any negotiation situation is to reach agreement.  You have done all the hard work so don’t fail to agree.  Go over with the other party what you have agreed verbally.  Then get this in writing as quickly as possible.  This stops them coming back to question what was agreed and subsequently starting this process all over again.

More will follow on negotiation in future posts.

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