Striking enduring business deals

Striking enduring business deals

Any business that wants to succeed will have to be involved in some negotiations of some sort. We all negotiate daily with friends, customers, employees or workmates. You either negotiate to resolve a work related conflict or to resolve a sticky issue with a customer. All successful managers need to negotiate, whether it’s to hammer out the terms of a contract, or to gain people’s agreement in a meeting, or to agree on deadlines with team members.

Negotiation is key to business success so you can’t leave it to the novice. John F. Kennedy, a former US President, emphasized the need to negotiate when he said, “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.” We are bound to have to negotiate at some stage. The art of negotiating is an essential skill of the modern business. One therefore needs to develop the skill. There is always some conflict in all corners of the workplace. And these conflicts need to be resolved. If issues aren’t settled, the consequences could be disastrous.

The organisation can lose good people, profitable relationships with customers will be adversely affected, workforce morale can plummet and, in certain instances, violence might erupt. Managers need to sort out the issue before it gets out of hand. Knowledge of negotiation skills would be of utmost importance.

Negotiation can be defined as a method by which people settle differences. It is a process by which compromise or agreement is reached while avoiding argument and dispute.

One important thing to bear in mind is: don’t assume something is non-negotiable. You should not be afraid to ask for what you want. If you have to succeed in negotiations be assertive and challenge everything.  Enter the negotiating room with the mindset that everything on the table is negotiable. Refuse to take NO for an answer. You need to express your feelings without anxiety, anger or threatening your opponent.

Ensure that in every negotiation you are assertive but not aggressive. Assertiveness in negotiation means that as you take care of your own interests you still maintain respect for the interests of others. This way your opponent will adopt a good receptive attitude.

Negotiators are good listeners. As a negotiator ask a lot of open ended questions and then listen as the other party talks. You can pick a lot by just listening as the other party is talking. You can quickly pick out those issues that can resolve a stalemate.

Preparation and thoroughly doing your homework is key in negotiations. You need to do your homework before you meet the other party. Know your opponent before you get into the ring. Athletes usually study their opponents before they meet them. This is the same with negotiations. You need to have as much information as possible about the other party.

From this information you are able to ascertain exactly what the other party wants, the other party’s weaknesses and strengths, or who exactly are the key negotiators. Before the negotiation make sure you are prepared and you have rehearsed your arguments carefully. Thorough preparation gives you more confidence, which is very important in any negotiation.

You also need to demonstrate your grasp of the knowledge of the subject in question if the other party has to take you seriously. When you are well prepared you are also likely not to forget something important because it’s extremely difficult to get new demands accepted after the negotiation has taken place.

In negotiations that involve a big team you need to sit down with your team before the meeting and assign responsibilities of what to say to your team members. You need also to pre-empt the other party’s arguments or questions. In every negotiation be prepared to walk away. Never enter into negotiations without options. Saying NO to a deal and walking away is an option. Don’t be desperate otherwise the other party will notice this weakness and therefore exploit this to your demise.

Being in a hurry to strike a deal could be a sign of desperation. Never rush into a deal. Being patient can unsettle the other party who might be looking for a quick deal and they might end up agreeing to concessions because they will be feeling worn out and drained.

In every negotiation there is a give and take so when you enter into negotiations you should aim high and expect the best outcome. To achieve better results in any negotiations you should start with an extreme position or higher request. “Don’t bargain yourself down before you get to the negotiation table,” said Carol Frohlinger.

If you start low, you will probably end up with a less satisfying outcome. When you negotiate never give anything away without getting something in return. You should give something away in exchange of something.

But however “You must never try to make all the money that’s in a deal. Let the other fellow make some money too, because if you have a reputation for always making all the money, you won’t have many deals,” says J Paul Getty.

Stewart Jakarasi is a business and financial strategist and a lecturer in business strategy (ACCA P3), advanced performance management (P5) and entrepreneurship.

He provides advisory and guidance on leadership, strategy and execution, corporate governance, preparation of business plans and on how to build and sustain high-performing organisations.

For assistance in implementing some of the concepts discussed in these articles please contact him on the following contacts:, call on +266 58881062 or WhatsApp +266 62110062.

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