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‘Don’t look desperate’ and other win-win negotiation strategies for entrepreneurs

Article by Melissa Javan (SME South Africa)

A successful deal is where both parties walk away feeling that they have won. Your negotiation skills have a lot to do with this.

Mike Anderson, respected author, and Founder of the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC), says ‘strong negotiation skills can mean the difference between success and failure as an entrepreneur or salesperson’.

“The ability to negotiate well in the business world is what creates success,” he says.

He goes on further to state that great negotiating skills is not a natural talent, it can be mastered and that you should always project that you don’t need the deal, no matter what.

In a recent interview, Anderson shared how entrepreneurs can negotiate to get the results they want. Here are some key points from the interview.

According to Anderson, the top 10 negotiations skills every entrepreneur should have are:

1. To think like a doctor – focus on taking their pain away.
2. Only talk to the decision-maker.
3. Be the last one to speak.
4. Be a great listener.
5. Know when to walk away.
6. Be on top of your knowledge.
7. Have the ability to solve a problem there and then.
8. Be able to make decisions quickly.
9. Have patience and composure during the process.
10. Be able to build a good rapport with your client or prospective client

Anderson’s top three mistakes that salespeople make during the negotiation process are:

1. Not being in control of your emotions
Negotiating can be tough and you may feel frustrated with the way things go, but don’t lose your temper or your patience.

2. Looking desperate
Another mistake is when the going gets tough and there are financial pressures, desperation creeps in. Always project that you don’t need the deal, no matter what.

3. Not looking the part
Remember people want what they can’t have – without being arrogant, always project that ‘billionaire’ image.

Anderson’s six negotiation must-dos

1. Ask for what you want.
2. Be silent and listen.
3. Do your homework.
4. Aim high and expect the best outcome.
5. Don’t be in a hurry.
6. Always be willing to walk away.

SME South Africa is proudly associated with the NSBC.