Practical Negotiating Tactics Every Small Business Needs Now

Good negotiating skills can be one of the most important, unsung heroes of a successful business. It can make or break your financing and cash flow and it can set the right expectations with workloads with your team. And, negotiating can be learned! There are great books and conferences to help you improve your skills but for now, let’s look at a few practical negotiating tactics every small business needs now.

Never Give Without Getting

One of the cornerstones of good negotiating is to never give something without getting something in return. Ever! Giving something for nothing devalues you and your business. So if you’re willing to budge a little on a particular issue, be sure you do so only if the other party gives you something you want in return. A kilometer is made of centimeters and sometimes, that’s how you get it done.

Be Creative

People often think negotiating is only for money, but obviously we negotiate everything from payment terms, to ownership rights. That means that while money may have brought two parties to the table, it’s not the only thing they want. If you find your negotiations getting hindered by money, get creative and consider other, non-monetary items you can give or get. If your vendor can’t budge on a price, for example, ask for more lenient payment terms, or get some sort of freebie that you need and is easy for them to give.

Know When to Walk

In negotiating, they call it your BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement); your alternative if you’re unable to come to some agreement. Knowing your BATNA helps you understand your options and how much you’re at the mercy of the other party to negotiate. Obviously, if you have a lot of good alternatives, or good BATNAs, you’re in a position of more power during the negotiating than if you have to make a negation work because you have no alternatives. So if an offer is worse than your BATNA, it’s time to walk away.

A successful negotiator is like a successful poker player, playing the players not the cards. So be prepared to tweak and change your negotiating tactics based on who is on the other side of the table and the nature of your relationship. And with these practical negotiating tactics you’ll continue to add new tools to your negotiating tool box.

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