How to get the best deal for your business – our top 10 tips

Posted on: 07 January 2014

Some of the best business people appear to be master negotiators almost by instinct. For the rest of us, however, it comes down to using a few simple techniques.

  1. Setting Target and Walking Points – your Target Point is the realistic outcome that would make you really pleased. Your Walking Point is when the numbers no longer make sense for you, the money doesn’t add up or the deal is just plain counter productive for you because it offers no business advantage whatsoever.
  2. Get in first. Seize the initiative and strike a positive note by laying out your position from the outset. This establishes the negotiations as having to be worked out from your position not that of the other party's.
  3. Do your homework. If you’re not prepared with evidence and numbers to back up what you say, you can’t hope to come out well.
  4. Be nice. What kind of style you adopt is a personal choice, but being precise about what you say, being business-like and polite at all times are rules that you should never deviate from.
  5. Adapt your style – beforehand and during negotiations. Everyone will develop their own approach to negotiating and if you face a good negotiator they may well vary their style as the proceedings go on. But don’t negotiate with someone who is trying to bully either by being patronising or in any way aggressive. A deal is about both sides reaching common ground, otherwise it’s not a deal at all and you’re probably wasting your time.
  6. See things from the other’s side. It’s vital to work out what the other side in the negotiations is after, what is most important to them, how much do they need to do a deal, and where you estimate their own bottom line (or Walking Point) is.
  7. Realise what the other side can’t deliver. Some areas may simply be non-negotiable.
  8. Give way. The art of negotiation is really all about giving up something to the other party that feels of value to them, but has as little value as possible to you.
  9. Be happy. If you want to build a business relationship with the other party, rather than just conduct a one-off piece of business, then it’s vital to ensure that you and they are happy with the outcome of the deal.
  10. Close the deal fast. Make sure the other party is happy with the deal, but also, when you have reached common ground and you are happy with the agreement, move fast to pin it down and finally agree it.

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