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Hone your negotiating skills for start-up success

One of the top skills every entrepreneur needs is negotiation skills. These skills are important because you will be consistently bargaining with suppliers, employees and customers. Here are eight ways to hone your negotiating skills.

1. Do research

Before you enter into a negotiation, it is critical to do your research. You need to know what the product is you are looking to buy, what the average cost is for the product is, who are you negotiating with and what are the pain points they are trying to relieve.

Another aspect to look at is the hardest questions people may ask you in the negotiation and how you can answer them. It would be advised to ask other people what questions they think are hard to answer in a negotiation because different questions will be hard for different people.

2. Know what you are willing to compromise on

You need to know three things which you would be willing to compromise on within a negotiation. This will help you to not compromise too much just to get the deal you want. Remember we want to negotiate a deal which is a win-win situation for everyone.

3. Negotiate with the right person

It is all too often that business owners will engage in a negotiation only to find that the person they are speaking to doesn’t have the authority to negotiate the deal with them. Ensure you are talking to the person who can make the decisions you need to be taken.

4. Listen actively

When you are in a negotiation, it is critical to listen actively to what is being said. You should not dominate the conversation as this means that you may be giving too much information away and you could give your partner in the negotiation the upper hand. By listening, you will also get a better understanding of what your customer or employee’s pain point is and how you can satisfy it for a win-win situation. Ask many open-ended questions to encourage dialogue with your negotiation partner.

5. Know when to walk away

It is also important to know when you will be willing to walk away from deal. Sometimes people are not willing to compromise and you need to accept it and walk away.

6. Get it down in writing

After the negotiation, it is important to get the decision down in writing. Do not rely on your memory to know and remember what you negotiated a couple of months down the line. It is important to have the deal written down and signed by all the parties involved in the negotiation.

7. Practice saying “no”

People are often taught to say “yes” so that they don’t look bad in front of other people if they say “no” but sometimes you will have to reject an offer and be okay with it. Therefore, it is important to practice saying “no” sometimes so you can get used to the feeling of rejecting an offer.

8. Study people’s body language

There are varying studies which state how much is said through non-verbal communication and it is therefore important to study other people’s body language and see what people do when they are uncomfortable or lying. By knowing someone’s body language you will be able to steer the negotiation in the direction you wish it to go.

By following these eight steps you will be well on your way to honing your negotiation skills and working your way to win-win negotiations.

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