In the course of running your business, you will find yourself at the negotiating table at lot. Whether it's a case of striking that huge deal with a marquee client or trying to extract the last cent from a tough talking vendor, your skills of negotiation will be tested to the limit. It will help to have taken a good negotiation workshop. Tough negotiators are viewed with respect. So, how do you measure up?
If you want to know how good (or bad) you are at negotiating, start with the following questions. Warning: can be damaging to fragile egos!
1. Do you look desperate? Body language is everything in a business negotiation. The deal might make the difference between life and death for your business, but don't let it show. If they know that you want it so bad, they'll waste no time pinning you in a corner. Act like you've got other options to choose from - that will teach them to treat you with care. It will help to have taken a good negotiation workshop.
2. Do you short-sell yourself? There's no room for modesty at a negotiating table, false or otherwise. If you have knowledge, power, connections or an ace up your sleeve, flaunt it.
3. Do you blabber? That is a sure sign of nervousness. There are no points awarded for spilling your guts. The less you say, the more opportunity you have to hear, and find out what the other party is after. It will help to have taken a good negotiation workshop.
4. Do you give in easily? If you're seen as a pushover, you have no career as a negotiator. Stick to your guns - this is a battle of attrition, remember? If something is worth fighting for, you have to give it all you have. On the other hand, don't sweat the small stuff. You can use an issue of low consequence to your tactical advantage - give in on this, but extract a concession from their side in return. It will help to have taken a good negotiation workshop.
5. Do you backtrack? This is a negotiator's undoing. Going back on something that has been agreed upon makes you look amateurish or unprepared or indecisive or unethical or all of these! Therefore, think twice before you accept a point, but having done so, stand by it. It will help to have taken a good negotiation workshop.
6. Do you have the facts? The negotiating table is not the place to catch up on your learning. Do your homework well before the discussions. Keep back up data, facts, documents and other resources at hand, so that you don't have to "check back and revert". Remember, any delays in the negotiating process from your side might lead the other party to look elsewhere.
7. Do you have what it takes? Well, you need a load of energy and staying power to go the distance. A negotiation is nothing short of battle, and those who stand their ground, usually win. It will help to have taken a good negotiation workshop.
If your answer to most of these questions is "yes", you need to work hard on your negotiating skills. However, take heart. Most people are not born negotiators, and many never succeed at it. But those who have learned the art have done so the hard way. With some luck and a lot of grit, you will too!