There are several strategies and tips for negotiating and every negotiation is different. However, there is one rule that is helpful in any negotiation and it’s simple: Be prepared. According to negotiation expert, Marc Lockley, 70% of negotiation is preparation. If you are underprepared for a negotiation, the process can drag on with tempers flaring and a long series of back and forth arguments. On the other hand, research and preparation can help you identify opportunities, recognize attractive offers, and help you avoid hidden disasters. To improve your chances of success as well as your relationship with the other party, it pays to do your homework first.
What Information Should You Know About Who You Are Negotiating With?
Doing your homework means researching as much as you can about the other party beforehand. For instance, if you are negotiating with another business, start with some basic fact-finding such as their website and social media feeds. Look up the company to see who the top executives are and what their company vision is like. Determine their pain points and what is motivating them to negotiate with you. This will help you come up with viable solutions. Finally, find out what they are like to do business with so you can better prepare your strategy.
Understand the Other Side
Before any negotiations begin, you always need to understand the interests and positions of the other side relative to your own interests and positions. This will help you to spend some time in advance seeing things from their perspective. The more you know about what’s going on in the other person’s mind, the better you will be able to reach an agreement that works for both of you.
Know What They Want
Much of your preparation will revolve around making them feel like they have “won.” That’s because a truly successful negotiation involves a mutually beneficial relationship. Therefore, you need to find out what is most important to your counterpart beforehand. Are they looking for the best price? Are they interested in service levels? Are they most interested in quality? You should be prepared to cover these points during the negotiation and show them that you can provide their must-haves.
Learn About Your Competition
Do your homework to find out who your competitors are and what they can offer. Then, determine what sets you apart from them. You should be prepared in case your counterpart brings up a competitor during the negotiation. You need to be ready to show how your offer is different from your competitors.
Prepare a BATNA
Finally, you need to prepare a BATNA or Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. Even when you do your research, negotiations don’t always go as planned so you need to be ready for the unexpected. Prepare a BATNA ahead of time so you have a Plan B in place if needed. Doing this beforehand ensures that you have a deal you can live with and it also prevents you from making important decisions on the spot.