The art of negotiation is a delicate balancing act that requires several critical skills and the confidence to utilise them effectively. Taking the time to learn how to apply it in your personal life, career and business are worth the effort.
In an increasingly competitive global market, inter-connected through social media, being a competent negotiator is a highly sought-after skill. Companies benefit from increasing profits, building mutually-beneficial partnerships and resolving conflict through negotiation. Additionally, employees can use it to improve their salaries, benefits and position. In short, being a proficient negotiator is the cornerstone of any successful business and career.
Many of us don’t realise that we negotiate daily. Whether it is with our kids, partners, friends or colleagues, we are always angling for the best deal possible. However, because many of us don’t realise we’re doing it, we don’t use it to its full effect and often don’t understand its advantages. That’s why we’re going to explore the top five benefits of negotiation skills and how they can help your business to grow and thrive in today's market.
Being respected is a career goal for any leader. Your colleagues, employees, clients and vendors must see you as a fair, hard-working and confident person to maximise productivity and get the best out of your business. Negotiating well can leave a lasting impression on others of an excellent problem-solver, innovator and influential director. Consequently, this builds trust in your business, creating a lasting impact that sets you apart as a market leader and can encourage future negotiations with potential clients and partners. Additionally, it allows employees and colleagues to trust your ability to solve problems and conflicts fairly. By creating a stress-free, unified environment for your workers, they will want to stay longer, work harder and invest more energy into your long-term goals.
Walking into a negotiation requires confidence. You need to know everything about the other party, including their needs, wants and desires, just as you know your own. You need to be able to avoid taking the conversation personally and remain focused on the goals you want to achieve. After all, you are the face of the company to the other client, vendors or other businesses, and you want them to see you as an excellent representative.
Learning how to negotiate well can allow you to leave your worries at the door when holding a meeting or securing a new deal. You can enter knowing that you have the best problem-solving tool at your disposal and that your communication ability is enhanced and finely tuned. It helps you to concentrate on the outcome and spend your time and energy better. Making a counteroffer will be easier, too, as you will understand the other party's goals and motivations and create a more appealing deal.
Contrary to popular belief, negotiation isn’t just talking the talk. It is about actively listening to what the other party is saying and identifying what they want, what they need, and what is negotiable. You need to be able to think critically and compare this with your company's goals and motivations to figure out where you could sweeten the deal and where there is room to manoeuvre. The key is thinking before speaking, a critical life skill that helps build better interpersonal relationships and partnerships. Subsequently, it helps a business to look switched on and more personable and instils trust in your brand. When people feel heard, they feel respected, which is what every business needs to build an excellent reputation.
You never want just to accept the first offer you are given in business, usually because it is the best offer for them, but not for you. By taking it, you are setting yourself up for disappointment when you realise you could have got a better deal later. Negotiating gives you the best chance of making an equal deal that benefits everyone. Whether that is an additional free service in return for an increased cost or a larger share of the profits for increased oversight. You want what is best for your business, and maximising the value of your investments, deals, and partnerships puts profit in your pocket and add to your company’s scope. Also, it can maximise the value of your employees. Training them to negotiate gives them the agency to increase their benefits and salary whilst simultaneously giving them the power to confidently enter negotiations on your behalf and get the best out of every deal.
Despite what television might have us believe, master negotiators aren’t about beating the other party; they want to create a win-win scenario for everyone. Lauding defeat over your opponent looks fantastic on the big screen but looks arrogant and selfish in a meeting room. To build an excellent reputation with vendors, clients and partners, you need them to feel like you also have their best interests at heart. That everyone will walk away from the deal with the best for both sides, creating goodwill, you can utilise in the future. By having a reputation for achieving win-win scenarios, other businesses will want to work with you, which can give you a leg up in developing relationships across the globe.