Negotiate your way to success

There are few business skills as important as negotiation. Many successful businesspeople pride themselves on their ability to turn a deal in their favor.  Here are a few key negotiation principles to ensure you’re generally getting a good deal.

March 03, 2014 |
Steven Burns

Photo: Ambro via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There are few business skills as important as negotiation. Many successful businesspeople pride themselves on their ability to turn a deal in their favor.

What is it about their negotiating skill that helps them come out ahead so consistently? Here are a few key negotiation principles to ensure you’re generally getting a good deal.

Don’t underestimate research. In Sun Tzu’s book, The Art of War, he says that almost all battles are won or lost before they even take place. Preparation, he says, is the crucial part of any strategy–knowing your strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of your opponent, in order to formulate a strategy to approach the situation successfully.

In business, one should know the history of the person or group you will be negotiating with. There may be patterns in their negotiations and business dealings that you can use in your favor.

Don’t show your hand. Your budget and other limitations–or freedom–should never be freely given to the other party before the deal is made. If the other party knows your limitations, they may present you with an inferior product or service, not giving you a chance at the best they have.

Even worse, if they know you’re not limited by budget or executive sign-off constraints, you could easily get snookered into agreeing to something that’s less than mutually beneficial.

But know your hand well. In bidding situations where there are other competitors vying for the position, you have to know what you can offer that they can’t match and use this information to your advantage.

Offering extras that don’t have a major impact on your costs can help seal the deal. If the deal you are bidding for is going to be solely judged on the lowest available price, however, this strategy won’t be as successful.

Sealing the deal. To successfully close a negotiation where both parties have a particular number in mind, it may be necessary to make a compromise to close the deal. One should always be aware that at some point, a final compromise will be necessary, allowing you to set the stage for it with the earlier offers.

Confidence grown through preparation and learning some key skills can give you leverage so you can get what you want out of any deal.

Read more from the BQE blog.

Editor's note: This is sponsored content. The text was provided by the sponsor company.

Steven Burns | The Business Behind Design

Steven Burns, FAIA spent 14 years managing the firm Burns + Beyerl Architects, and during that time the firm’s earnings grew at an average rate of 24% per year. After founding his own software company, Steve took his management expertise to BQE Software, where he is refining their business strategy and product development for the company’s groundbreaking project accounting solution, BQE Core.

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