If you’re in business, you’re a negotiator. You have no choice. Business doesn’t happen unless two or more people enter into a transaction. Most entrepreneurial skills can’t be taught in school and one of the best ones to be armed with is knowing how to negotiate, and even more importantly, how to negotiate your way to a ‘yes’.
A big part of mastering the art of persuasion comes from understanding what kind of a negotiator you are. Some might say that in a negotiation it’s best to let your inner Rottweiler out, but if that is not your natural style, it probably won’t work for you. So try and be true to yourself and you’ll probably find that it works best.
Whether you are a tough negotiator or have a more subtle approach, one of the hardest parts of the ‘sell’ is getting people to understand and buy into your vision. Often, as a result, before they have even had the full sales pitch, they are already saying ‘no’. In the entrepreneurial world ‘no’ is not an option, so, in order to survive, one needs to learn the power of persuasion fairly quickly. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Add a human touch. Sometimes, when we are in business mode, we forget to appeal to the human side. A big part of this comes from learning to listen before speaking. By listening to a persons needs, you will then be able to properly explain the value of a product that caters to their specific needs, creating a situation where both parties walk away from the deal happy.
2. Be willing to walk away. Walking away from the table shows that you mean business. The important thing is knowing when to call it quits in order to keep the integrity of your business intact. Successful business owners know when something isn’t worth their time. Remember, if someone really wants to work with you, they will figure out a way to make it happen.
3. Have your limits. Before you enter a negotiation, you have to know your deal-breakers and what is absolutely non-negotiable about your business model. Before breaking the negotiation down, try to figure out what is most important to the other person and what is most important to you. Determine if there is a way that both parties can mutually benefit, and then be willing to concede on details that matter the least.
4. Work with people who don’t try to change you. It’s important to negotiate with someone who sees the value in what you are doing, and sees you as a partner — not someone they can take advantage of.
It is easy when you are first starting out to undersell yourself, but it is incredibly important to always remember your worth and not to let people take you for a ride.
5. Recognise that every moment with a potential client is a negotiation. Every moment you spend with someone you might do business with – which means just about anyone you meet anywhere, at any time – is a chance to create a vision for them. No boardroom tables or conference rooms are required.
The bottom line is, without transactions, business doesn’t happen, and every transaction involves a certain amount of negotiation. What this ultimately means is that when you’re in business, the power of persuasion is one of your most valuable tools – one that you should nurture and grow as you nurture and grow your business – in doing this you’ll probably find that you hear the word ‘yes’ much more often.