Most business experts would argue that the ability to negotiate is one of the most important skills you need to succeed. To succeed in business you must have some negotiation skills. For one, it’s a gold mine for so many aspects of the business operation, such as hiring top talent, locking in lucrative deals, and quickly resolving conflict.
If you’re looking to sharpen your deal-making skills, the experts at www.negotiations.com have put together a list of the top six skills you’ll need to achieve business success.
Preparation allows you to identify your goals beforehand. When you’re crystal clear about what you’re after, your focus is sharper. You can speak with a rational head, rather than getting caught up in the heat of the moment.
Preparing also gives you the opportunity to research who you’re meeting. You can think about what their objectives might be, what they’re likely to concede on, and what their bottom line is. This allows you to anticipate their next move and form a counter strategy.
Think on your feet
Negotiations can change on a dime. You could find yourself at a disadvantage if you get stuck on one point.
For example, let’s say you’re meeting with a supplier, hoping to get a lower price on their product. However, they’re not budging on their price. Instead of getting frustrated, think of other areas where you can strike a deal. For instance, you could ask for a longer warranty, faster delivery terms, or more favorable payment terms.
Being well-prepared can help you think on your feet. Also, not being dead set on a specific outcome. When you’re flexible and open to different possibilities, you’re more likely to find creative win-win solutions.
Emotional intelligence means being aware of your feelings, understanding their impact, and keeping them in check. It also involves reading someone else’s emotions and using that information to your advantage.
Negotiation skills can stir up powerful feelings on both sides. For example, you might feel anxious if you think a deal is slipping away. That feeling could drive you to make irrational decisions or become defensive. Or you might feel angry if someone isn’t budging on a key issue and speak harshly as a result.
Strong, positive relationships are the glue that holds many business deals together. However, the close ties could go up in smoke if you let your emotions explode. By keeping a cool head, you can maintain these positive relationships and move closer to a win-win deal.
Negotiations can drag on, especially if there’s a lot at stake. If you throw speed into the mix, you could overlook key details or make careless, costly mistakes. That’s why it’s important to have patience.
If you feel yourself getting impatient:
- Take a deep breath and remind yourself that there’s no need to rush.
- Focus on the long-term goal and keep your eyes on the prize.
- Think about ways to make the process more efficient without sacrificing quality. For example, you could propose taking breaks every hour. Or you could set a deadline for when the negotiation skills need to be wrapped up.
Of course, this doesn’t mean allowing discussions to drag on forever. If a discussion is going nowhere, cut your losses and walk away.
Negotiating is about persuading the other person to see things from your point of view. As a result, your words and tone can either spark conflict or open the door to collaboration. So, when you speak, make sure you’re respectful, clear, and concise.
- Listen more than you talk. This will help you understand the other person’s objectives and figure out where there might be room for compromise.
- Pause before you speak. It gives you time to collect your thoughts and choose your words carefully.
- Make eye contact when you’re speaking and listening. This shows that you’re engaged in the conversation.
Ask masterful questions
The right question can open up a whole new perspective, shed light on an important issue, or ease a tense situation. Unfortunately, most people don’t know how to ask questions that are both effective and respectful. They either blurt out whatever is on their mind, or they beat around the bush so much that the other person gets frustrated.
To help you ask masterful questions:
- Be clear about what you want to know.
- Ask questions that show you understand and respect the other person’s perspective. For example, instead of “Why are you not budging?” try, “What can I do to help you feel more comfortable with my offer?”
- Ask open-ended questions.
- Listen attentively and be prepared to follow up with more questions if needed.
- Write your questions down before the meeting.
Whether you’re looking to start a profitable business or boost current performance, you need to know how to negotiate. The skills and tips covered in this article can give you a leg-up to the next level.
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