To be more specific all hail the what I want, what you want and what makes sense. Negotiations are hands down an art form that most people fail to master. Negotiations encompass communication, relationships Interests, options standards and finally the fork in the road … cue the dramatic music…. yes or no. Kudos to salespeople, negotiators in police or FBI and honestly anyone who has perfected the craft.
In a startup, you negotiate all the time. Whether it be for pricing, product, for help, or even with yourself to chase a dream or not. Sadly enough you lose a lot but you gain more in the long run. Relationships turn sour and a less than favorable result is the outcome. Here are a few tips that I picked up:
Tips for Negotiations:
1. Communication is key: Before assuming, before saying a price or a salary, before skipping to the result that would sway the other party in the yes or no direction, communicate. Ask questions, ask what interests they have, what factors are causing them to sit at the negotiating table? Without completely avoiding the question answer a question with another question to gain more insights. (This may seem like more work but trust me is could avoid hours of running around with no solution.)
2. keep the conversation where both parties are expressing themselves in a cordial but professional manner. If one party is more dominant than the other party may either be stubborn and will not go with either solution, or they will feel pressured and the ultimately weakening the lifetime value of your cooperation.
3. Options: Who doesn’t love options? With the other party build options together, that way no party is treated less fair and everyone feels like they are winning) Continue to probe for potentially hidden interests joint problem-solving. This stage takes patience, be sure to really think and weigh the options so that it makes sense for both parties.
4. Express your standards. What standard have you set in the past or things based on how you feel at the time. Continue to probe for potentially hidden interests. Note that all the while no final number has been said, everyone is still developing their own perfect solution.
Throughout my experience with starting a business, I would say negotiations have taught me a great deal. In the past, I was very strict and tried to get my way which led to a lot of deals being lost and potential opportunities missed. As I grew and dealt with more and more business owners my views changed and I learned to not look at jus the picture before me but to look at the whole picture. I learned to take an aerial view and look at where I was and where I wanted to be. “Could this deal, help me get any closer to where I want to be?” That’s what I would ask myself each time.
Things to look out for:
Negotiating is good and can benefit you in the long run, BUT it has to make sense.
– Morally does it work for you? Are you lowering your standards?
– Financially does it makes sense. Are you profiting or for that matter are you even breaking even?
– If you are not breaking even or even profiting are you networking can this deal put you any closer to your end goal?
It takes time but you will definitely learn to master the art as you talk and work with others. Practice negotiating and you will go far!
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