Business negotiations can be a tough balancing act. One one hand, you don’t want to come on so strong that you drive business away. On the other hand, you don’t want to appear so timid that you lack confidence and credibility. In order to strike the right balance, it is important to be firm, yet polite so you exude confidence and respect at the same time. In any business negotiation, there are social guidelines and manners that need to be followed when dealing with others. Proper business negotiation etiquette will keep you from stepping on toes while also keeping your goals in perspective. Here are a few business etiquette tips that are crucial to a successful negotiation.
Be Patient and Listen
One of the most important components of polite business etiquette is the ability to listen. Even though you are entering into the negotiation with a goal in mind, you must remember to take time to listen to other viewpoints and hear the needs of the other party. Ask questions like, “What are you hoping to get out of these negotiations?” and “How can we help meet your goals?” By not rushing the process and listening to the other party, you are more likely to successfully negotiate a win-win solution.
Be Genuine and Respectful
It is important to remain polite and respectful toward your counterpart, regardless of whether or not you are able to solidify a deal. Even though negotiations might require you to be firm at times, it is not appropriate to ridicule, attack, or belittle your counterpart. Negotiations can get heated at times, but the number one rule of etiquette is to remain calm and collected and never let your emotions get the best of you. When you are negotiating, you are selling more than a product or a service. You are also selling yourself. You want investors, customers, and clients to see you as a genuine and likeable person so they will be inclined to do business with you in the future. Express gratitude, show sincere concern for their needs, and remember to stay humble at all times.
Know When to Back Down
Be prepared to take the high road and back down when negotiations become heated. Anger and frustration will damage the negotiation process and cause the other person to respond defensively. Business negotiation etiquette is always more important than ugly deal making. Your main goal should be to work toward a solution that is beneficial for both parties, so try to re-establish common ground and look for similar goals. No matter how the other person acts, you can walk away knowing that you acted in a professional manner.
In any negotiation, you have to be prepared to be flexible. If you enter into a negotiation refusing to compromise, you will quickly irritate your counterpart and sabotage your chances of closing the deal. Negotiations are about give and take so you need to be ready to make concessions. Know your bottom line but be open to alternative solutions.