5 key factors to successful negotiation with a customer

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Negotiating is an art as old as time itself. Unless you were born a millionaire or managed to hit the lottery jackpot, in which case you never have to worry about money again, you understand that nowadays negotiating is an integral part of business. Negotiation might lead to an immense growth of a business as well or its immediate demise, and therefore should never be underestimated. After all, effective negotiations help build stable business relations, avoid conflicts and above all – bring income to your company. As we know the art of successful negotiation is not always an easy, and a good negotiator, one that will be dealing with customers and colleagues, apart from having excellent people skills, needs to know what not to do when it comes to potentially offending the other negotiating party. So, how do you negotiate like a professional? In our company we believe in these 5 key factors:

1. Power
Negotiations can easily turn into arguments, so when things get fierce, don’t expect satisfactory results. Something must have gone terribly wrong if you are quarrelling, instead of discussing. You need to understand that in negotiations your power lied in calm assertiveness. Aggression never yields good results. If you feel like things are getting out of hand, take a short recess and resume when the tension goes down.

2. Concession
Successful negotiation isn’t about compromise, but about effective communication resulting in an agreement that both parties or all parties are satisfied with. Although you may be fixed on your own goals, let the other party explain their ideas.Listen carefully, but don’t agree on anything based on emotion. Your concession needs to be thought through and discussed. Many people tend to overlook the fact that actions speak louder than words. The same way, your immediate and, therefore often reckless, decisions also send a message. Don’t agree to frequent changes, and by no means agree to last minute amendments. You may appear weak and indecisive. The other party may think that the deal that has just been made isn’t the best one they can get. And the process will start all over again.

3. Leverage
You need to know your financial and ethical boundaries. Before a meeting, prepare a detailed plan of action. Set your limits, but remember to give yourself room for bargaining. Negotiations are all about the balance of power so be prepared before you begin.

4. Resources
Find as much information as you can about the other party. Concentrate on their strengths and weaknesses, skim through their list of former clients, and you then go into a negotiation with the information you need for it to be a successful negotiation. If you are negotiating with foreigners, remember to find out as much about their culture as possible as it will affect how you conduct yourself. Asians, for example, are known to prefer different strategies than Europeans or Americans.

5. Attitude
Always respect and listen to what the other party has to say. Don’t compete with each other, after all if you can view yourselves as a team coming together with a common goal, that being a good outcome for all involved. Pay attention to the other parties body language. It reveals more than you think. Tone of voice is also a good indicator of whether the negotiation is going well. Interestingly, words constitute only 7 per cent of the total message, so listen and observe. Acknowledge that silence is a powerful tool too – use it to your advantage. Silence often makes people uncomfortable and they have a tendency to want to fill it with words. Ultimately, you can resort to using some psychological tactics, but be careful, if you don’t have a psychological background, those tactics may backfire.

Successful negotiators understand the power they hold, and have developed this over time. Have in mind the above five factors during your next negotiation and take as much from them as you please.

Emma Davis
Emma is a content marketing specialist currently employed by the Lottery Office. While not working, she enjoys the long walks near a beach with her dog Skipper.

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