Practices Every Business Person Should Use When Countering Proposals

Perhaps your company is seeking a product or service that will help your organization. You will likely receive a business proposal from a salesperson in order to persuade you to purchase their product or service. This document is designed to sell you on the product by outlining your needs and how this product will meet those needs. This proposal will also include a price as well as any additional details about contracts or terms of service. Upon receiving this proposal, you will have the option to look it over and either accept it, reject it, or counter it. Oftentimes a company will want to negotiate a few changes and will choose to counter a business proposal. Here are some common practices that should be considered when countering a proposal. 

Back Up Claims with Research

Before simply asking for a lower price or changing the terms of the contract, you need to do some research on similar products or services. For example, what is the going rate for this service? Are other competitors offering better pricing or deals? Having a solid understanding of the market will give you leverage when it comes time to negotiate. This will also prevent you from asking for something that is unreasonable. You will create more opportunity for negotiation if you have facts and research to back up your requests. 

Be Clear About Your Goals

If you plan to counter a business proposal, you need to be clear about exactly what you want to change. Know your goals and be very specific about what it is you want to accomplish. You want to let the other party know specific details so there is no ambiguity or confusion when you are negotiating. 

Be Willing to Compromise

Whenever you are negotiating it’s important to be flexible. Very seldom does a negotiation end successfully without compromise. Consider offering some concessions in your counteroffer in exchange for something else. This will show your flexibility and willingness to compromise. 

Don’t Push Too Hard

Think about what you are negotiating and whether or not it is reasonable. If you push too hard, the other party might perceive you as someone who is too difficult to deal with and they may rescind their offer. Some companies don’t want to start relationships with others who are going to be troublesome. Remember that the best negotiations end with parties feeling like they have gained something. 


Prepare a Letter of Intent

It can often be helpful to prepare a letter of intent along with your counteroffer that reflects the details of the proposal. This shows the other party that you are serious about doing business with them and that you aren’t wasting their time. It acts as an informal agreement that can help move along the negotiation process.