10 things to watch out for when...Conducting business negotiations

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 December, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 December, 2002, 12:00am

Important art: Business management experts emphasise repeatedly that a successful business deal mainly relies on the art of negotiation. Most well-known businessmen are good negotiators and that shows in the ease with which they conclude a business deal.

Be a good listener: A good negotiator usually asks probing questions and then listens to the other party patiently. Business experts say many conflicts can be resolved easily if we learn how to listen. The catch is that listening is a forgotten art and business people mostly are busy making sure people hear what they have to say, rather than the other way around.

Be prepared: According to Selfgrowth.com, for a successful business negotiation one must gather as much pertinent information beforehand. For instance, what are the needs of your client? What options do they have? Doing your homework is vital to successful negotiation.

Aim high: Business people who aim higher do better. If you expect more, you will get more. Ed Brodow of Selfgrowth.com says successful negotiators are optimists. According to Mr Brodow, sellers should ask for more than they expect to receive and buyers should offer less than they are prepared to pay.

Be patient: Management gurus suggest that whichever party is flexible about time has the advantage. Your patience can have a strong impact on the other negotiator if they are in a hurry.

Satisfaction: If through your negotiating skills the other party feels satisfied, you are halfway there. Satisfaction means that the basic needs of the other party are fulfilled.

First move: Mr Brodow says that the best way to find out if the other negotiator's aspirations are low is to induce them to play their hand first. They may be hoping for less than what you are willing to offer. If you open negotiations, you may give away more than is necessary.

First offer: According to Selfgrowth.com you should not accept a first offer. If you do, the other negotiator will think they could have done better. Wait for a counter-offer before you make any decisions.

Concessions: During business negotiations do not make a unilateral concession. Whenever you give something, get something back in return. If you do not do that the other negotiator may ask you for more.

Walk away: If a deal is not heading in the direction you thought it would, you should be prepared to walk away. Never negotiate without options, for if you do you are putting yourself at a disadvantage.

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