While your business environment might not be the markets of Morocco, where haggling over a head of lettuce or a cab ride is expected, negotiation is simply a part of doing business anywhere in the world. Not only is it critical in establishing the best terms for your services, but you want a good deal in your contracts with vendors, too.
“In this challenging business environment, nothing affects the bottom line of your company more than the ability of your people to negotiate well, both on the buying side and the selling side,” says Roger Dawson, author of The Secrets of Power Negotiating. “Remember that a negotiated dollar is a bottom-line profit
dollar. You will never make money faster than you will when you’re negotiating.”
Do Your Homework
Before you start haggling over the details of a deal, know what you’re talking about and who you’re dealing with. When selling products,understand the customer’s needs. Get a grasp on the marketplace and what others are offering. Is your target client driven by price, quality, service or a combination of all three? How much does this client need you? How much do you need him?
On the flip side, when negotiating with vendors, understand all of their product lines and identify more than one way you can work together. Maybe you can snag a better deal if you agree to buy additional products. Or come to them with the competitors’ deals and say, “This is what X Company can do for us. What can you do?”
Then, when you fi nally take a step into actually negotiating the deal, you have the advantage of knowing what you want and what is available, says Frances Cole Jones, author of The Wow Factor: The 33 Things You Must (and Must Not) Do to Guarantee Your Edge in Today’s Business World. “Doing your research really does pay off,” Jones says. “Plus, if you make a genuine inquiry, they will calm down a little because it is clear you are prepared to spend money. It is just a matter of whether you plan to spend it with them.”