Research shows that British companies could improve their profits by 7% a year by using better negotiation techniques. Therefore, regardless of the size of your SME and the person/organisation you are negotiating with, you need to be confident in asking for what you want and communicating the value of your proposal to the other side.
Below are three tips to help you resolve your dispute or broker a deal via negotiation whilst keeping your reputation for fair play intact.
1. Choose the right people to handle negotiations
You could have the best negotiation strategy and a great proposition but if the team member you send along to seal the deal is not skilled in the art of gaining the cooperation of others, your chances of getting what you want could be hard to achieve.
Everyone on your team will have unique strengths, that's why you recruited them in the first place. If negotiations require the input of an employee who has specialist knowledge of the project or product, but is less confident dealing with people, also send a more assured member of your team to ensure that the WIFM (What's In It For Me) is well-communicated.
Bonus tip - Remember the universal truth - people buy/deal with people they like.
2. Master the art of preparation and brevity
The type of people you want to do business with are (hopefully) successful and that means they are busy. Therefore, when you manage to secure a meeting with them to resolve a dispute or negotiate a joint venture, supply relationship or investment, make sure you are well prepared. Then when you have something to say, be concise, keep it simple, and say exactly what you mean.
When it comes to preparation, Abraham Lincoln once said that if he had eight hours to cut down a tree, he would spend six sharpening his axe. Use this as a guide for how much time you should allocate to preparing for a negotiation meeting and you won't go far wrong.
Bonus tip – When negotiating for investment, appreciate that the VC you are talking to did not get the money to invest in projects without being pretty sharp so don't try and flatter them or inflate your figures.
3. Make sure you give as well as receive value
Our Solicitors are a talented team. We can provide excellent legal advice and draft contracts that cover every eventuality. The real art of negotiation lies in ensuring each party feels they are getting value. It may feel that you should just think about your business, but a one-way flow may end up with a dispute on your hands.
You can robustly negotiate contractual terms without losing your and your organisation's integrity. Whether your negotiations involve dispute resolution or securing favourable contractual terms, making sure everyone gets a good deal is the key to building a positive business reputation, especially in the age of social media and online reviews.
Bonus tip – an unfortunate truth about negotiations is that the level of miscommunications increases in relation to the amount of money involved. To avoid hearing that stomach-sinking phrase of “I don't remember discussing that” during dispute resolution talks, take detailed notes during every phone call and meeting, keep all emails and other communications. Also, send a follow-up email after every meeting setting out the points discussed.
Negotiation is not only a way to secure a commercial deal, but also an inexpensive and quick dispute resolution method. Our Solicitors are expert commercial contract and dispute resolution negotiators and can advise and represent you during all stages of the process.
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Research shows that small companies often feel disadvantaged by a perceived lack of bargaining power and are frequently in too much of a rush to prepare properly or strategise for their negotiations. At LawBite we get this, and we are here to help you.
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