How to Win Every Negotiation: The Ultimate Guide

Negotiation is a fundamental part of any business relationship. It involves two or more parties working toward a mutually agreed upon solution. Having the right skills to succeed in negotiating can help you close deals, solve problems, manage conflicts, and build relationships. It’s possible for most negotiations to end with a desirable outcome as long as you know how to conduct the meeting. Here is what you need to know in order to become a successful negotiator and close every deal. 

1. Do Your Research

One of the most important steps in negotiation begins before you ever sit down at the table. It involves research and planning in order to prepare. Make sure to do your homework and learn as much as you can about the situation before beginning any sort of negotiation. If you are negotiating a higher salary, research the market pay for similar positions. If you are negotiating a raise or promotion, come in with a clear number of what you would like to make as well as a list of skills or achievements that prove your worth. If you are negotiating with a potential client, research their needs and wants as well as who they have done business with in the past so you can prepare the best approach. 

2. Set the Tone

Use those first few minutes wisely and work to establish rapport with the other party. Strive to find common ground and show a genuine interest in the other person. The more likable you are, the more likely the other party will be to concede during the course of the negotiation. In addition to showing a personal interest in the other person, focus on vocal and speech mirroring. If they cross their arms, you should too. If they lean into the conversation, you should too. When you respond in a similar way, it demonstrates that you share the same playing field and it conveys the message that you are likable and trustworthy. 

3. Make the First Offer

Most experts agree that it’s advisable to make the first offer. Those who make the first offer can generally control the rest of the negotiation. Making the first offer creates a standard for the negotiation and gives you the upper hand. Typically no one will accept the first offer, but it offers a good starting point and can influence the other party’s counteroffer. Aiming a bit high allows for a bit of wiggle room and when the other party presents a counter offer, it turns the negotiated agreement into a win-win for both parties. 

4. Ask Open-Ended Questions

Many negotiators make the mistake of doing all the talking. It is far better to ask questions and listen attentively to the other party. Asking questions will make the negotiation feel more like a conversation and it can reveal information that is beneficial. It is often recommended to lead with open-ended questions so you can gather as much information as possible about what is motivating the other party as well as their overall goals. 

5. Seek Win-Win Solutions

Any negotiation that ends with one side reaping all the benefits will lead to a faulty business relationship. One-sided negotiations decrease trust and rapport. In any negotiation, both parties should feel assured that they are getting a fair deal. 

6. Create a Sense of Urgency

One of the best strategies for closing a deal is to create a sense of urgency for the other party. The more you make it seem as though your offer will only stand for a short time, the more appealing it eventually becomes to the other party. You can improve your position by gently pushing the other party to move quickly. 

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away

Sometimes negotiations simply do not go as planned. You need to know when it’s time to walk away from the negotiation and call it a day. This doesn’t mean the deal is over forever. It just means that it won’t happen at that very moment and it’s even possible that the “walk away” is just the tactic that is needed to reopen the discussion and close the deal.