It is safe to say there will be many times during your career when you will need to negotiate; whether it’s securing a salary package at the start of a job, asking for a promotion or securing the best price from a supplier, there’s no getting around negotiation. However, being able to negotiate to secure what you want, when you want it, at the right price is not just a skill it’s an art and like most art forms being good takes preparation, planning and practise. The time you invest up front to prepare for negotiation should reflect the desired outcome, yet the steps you take to prepare should be the same no matter how big or small the result is.
“Prepare by knowing your walk away [conditions] and by building the number of variables you can work with during the negotiation… you need to have a walk away… a combination of price, terms, and deliverables that represents the least you will accept. Without one, you have no negotiating road map.” Max Keiser
8 tips to help you prepare for negotiation
- Recognise the issue you are negotiating – this will give you focus and help you articulate your point in the opening dialogue.
- Identify your preferred outcome – plot out your ideal, middle ground and the absolute minimum outcome.
- Consider the needs of the other party – negotiation is a two-way street so you will need to be prepared to meet their needs along the way. The desired outcome should be win-win.
- Identify what you are willing to compromise on and what you have to trade and stick to it. It is also worth identifying your walk away point. No matter how well you plan, at times negotiations will just break down.
- Workshop possible objections and responses to them to ensure you are prepared for any turns the negotiation may take. Ask a work colleague or friend to assist you with this step by asking them to throw objections at you. This will help you consider all possibilities.
- Develop a negotiation plan based on the above information and take it with you when negotiating. This plan should include your desired outcome, compromise points, what you will relinquish and the walk away point. If you are negotiating as part of a team, make sure everyone has a copy of the plan.
- Identify and gather any supporting information you may have that will help support your negotiation points. If you are negotiating a pay rise, this may include sales results or KPI’s & milestones you have met. If it’s negotiating a better deal with a supplier, you could provide competitor quotes or industry pricing.
- Have a run through. Just as you would a big presentation, rehearse with your plan the night before, focussing on your delivery and tone.
Remember, the more prepared you are to negotiate the more confident you will be walking into the negotiation, this will help you communicate better and appear more professional.
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