Top 7 Tips to consider before negotiating a deal


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1. Plan and prepare

This is arguably the most important step of the negotiation process. It involves reviewing the position from both sides and helps you prepare counter arguments before entering into a deal.

Failing to plan and prepare beforehand puts you at an immediate disadvantage and could give the other side an upper hand.

Consider what is important to both sides before starting negotiations. How will the opposing side tactically seek to negotiate terms? What combination of factors are important to them? Understand who you’re up against. And do your research beforehand.

This process will help put you a strong position. You might be able to predict how the negotiation will go, so consider every step of the deal. From your opening statements to finalising and securing.

The Gap Partnership is expert in negotiation training and compare the planning and preparation phase to a game of chess:

understand your opponent and you could predict their moves
predict their moves and you could anticipate tactics, ultimately giving you an advantage

pexels-photo-288477 (1)

image source: pexels

2. Rehearse

This is often overlooked, but it is key. It allows you to test your arguments, identify any misalignment of strategies within the team and makes you aware of any uncertainties or points that might need correcting.

Some tips for a productive rehearsal include:

write down your approach, key statements and your responses to certain objections
practice negotiating out loud with your team
consider negotiation role play

Rehearsing will give you more confidence and make you feel at ease when you enter negotiations for real. Ask a team-member, who understands your strategy, to test the strength of your argument from the opposing side’s view. They may find faults in your position that you might want to strengthen and open up insights into the other side’s tactics.

3. Explore and explain

In the early stages of negotiations you should observe and listen. Be in control. Have a written agenda of the key elements you want to address that remain in line with your winning strategy.

David Oliver, author of “How to negotiate effectively”, says asking questions is the simplest way to stay in control. And paying attention to answers will allow you to drive the negotiation in the direction you want it to go.

4. Propose

Be weary of early concessions during the proposal stage and don’t allow the opposing side to propose solutions before you. Letting them respond to situations first allows you to see their reactions and body language to your tactics. You’ll be able to identifying where negotiations are deviating from your plan, and where they’re leading.

This is when both sides may begin to notice any faults in the authority and arguments of their opponent. Try and identify these first and ask questions that could lead to an advantage for you.

Alternatively, if you are offered a good proposal that you may want to accept early. But bear in mind, this could mean you’re settling for less than you should.


image source: pexels

5. Bargain

Bargaining begins after a counter-offer is made. It’s where your planning and preparation in stage one begins to pay off, as you should now be ready for your opponent’s next moves. Get the bargaining phase right and you’ll gain the advantage.

It may seem obvious, but it’s important to distinguish between bargaining and conceding. Bargaining implies a negotiation of terms, a concession by you in exchange for a concession from the other party. When tensions are high and negotiation is in full swing be wary of conceding anything without any benefit. You could end up creating losses for yourself.

6. Agree

Before you leave the negotiation table, take a moment to review everything that was discussed and ensure both sides are agreed on everything. This will allow you to check if all the points in your agenda were addressed and resolved, and that any uncertainties on agreements have been cleared up.

7. Review

At the end of a negotiation, take the time to debrief and asses your performance individually and as a team. Review your successes and areas needing improvement. This will allow you to reflect on where you need to develop your skills for future deals.

These top 7 tips will give you the advantage. They’ll help ensure success whether for you’re negotiating individually or as a team in the workplace

Frank Vitetta
Frank is co-founder of modoola, the first smart furniture company that designs desks and connection devices tailored to offices and co-working spaces. Frank has more than 10 years' B2B experience, specialising in design, office supply, B2B marketing, and Supply Chain Management. Outside of work he loves running and his 3d printer.


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