"The beginning is always today. "
- Mary Wollstonecraft
Running a business could be a challenging task. As a small business has less number of employees compared to the bigger ones, the small business owner has to deal with multiple things at the same time. The owner has to be multitask and be good at variety of things like devising marketing strategies, handle finances, and also approach new potential clients.
As it is a small business, the level of exposure could be limited in the early days. Dealing with big brands or agencies could be a bit tricky. Mastering some negotiation techniques can help you while dealing in difference situations.
Objective of Negotiation
A business usually has a few ongoing objectives, immediate objectives, and long-term objectives which are the core of running the business.
You can be an effective negotiator if you know and understand your current objective and gear the negotiation toward helping you accomplish that objective.
An effective negotiator will know when both sides of the bargaining table are at a win- win situation, when to be more aggressive, and when to back off. One must remember to keep in mind the long-term objectives rather than the short term ones. Always keep in mind the big picture i.e. the final goal and negotiate accordingly.
Areas of Negotiation
Negotiation is a two-way communication where in the dealing parties always have some issues on which the settlement is sought. All such issues provide the subject matter for the negotiation. Negotiation can be at any front in your business. It can be price related or the expected delivery time. For any area of negotiation keep in mind the 5 stages you should follow- Preparation and planning, Definition of ground rules, Clarification and justification, Bargaining and problem solving and Closure and Implementation.
A business owner has the deal with price negotiation the most. The client usually wants to get the product/ service at the lowest price possible. Here negotiating and getting a fair price is extremely important. We recommend you to do some market research by understanding the fee/ price structure of your competitors. This will help you to negotiate better as you are quoting live examples.
As a business owner you need to decide your target audience way before hand and quote the prices accordingly. If you are catering to the premium audience, then negotiating with a smaller agency would be a waste of your time. After keeping mind your target audience, while pitching you can show the value of money they are paying for. Be it the marketing plan, the reach or the return on investment, a good negotiator has to know what their business stands for and what kind of value they are providing their customers.
In extreme situations you should be ready to let go of some clients who are not settling for your desired price quotations.
Techniques of Negotiation
Another great technique to win a negotiation is to quote your past accomplishments. Show off your success stories and live examples of brands you have worked for before. Show off the work produced by you and emphasise on your USP. You will have to convince your clients how you are different and better than other in the market.
Subtlety quoting a positive experience during negotiation also would be a great psychological trick on your clients. This can only be achieved though great communication skills. You should have a positive conversation, using the correct approach. As a owner good communication skills will take you a very long way. Assertive communication, asking the right questions, keeping a watch on the non-verbal actions and adapting accordingly will help you negotiate effectively. Even things like what you wear can help you stand out and be taken more seriously.
While negotiating keep in mind to never lead with the price. Show what your brand stands for, show off your brand personality, your ethics, values and other techniques mentioned above and then lead to the price you are asking for. These steps will help you justify your value and help in better negotiating.
Solutions Of Negotiating
Is it not necessary that there should be a right and wrong in never negotiation. The outcome depends of the many factors like budget, time invested, time to deliver etc. There are thus multiple possible solutions. A successful negotiation does not happen when you win the client and he is not happy with the result. A successful negotiation is when both parties come to a common ground either by compromising a bit or being more flexible to new ideas. But it is important that both sides are satisfied with the outcome. There would be a lot of disagreements and also a lot of agreements while discussing, but emphasise on the positives and you can easily crack the deal successfully.
Negotiation is indeed a skill and when mastered a business can take off to another level quite easily. Patience, being a good listener and gathering ideas from your past experiences and utilize these ideas effectively could take time, but you can master it easily.