Friday, September 17, 2010

Honing your negotiating skills

As an entrepreneur, you will need to negotiate with suppliers and clients. Many people hate negotiating because they feel it leads to tense situations and unhappiness (for possibly both parties). In an article on The Customer Collective (a forum for sales and marketing executives), author and CEO of Top Sales Associates, Johnathan Farrington, gives tips on making negotiating as painless as possible.

1. Manage your emotional state- Build rapport by matching the other person’s style, pace, and approach until you have achieved a ‘connection’. Personalize the negotiation by using “I” rather than your organization’s name. This demonstrates your belief in your proposal and highlights your credibility.

2. Look for quick mutual wins to build the belief “we can agree”- Seek to address the easy/quickest areas of agreement first to reinforce the process of agreement is simple and straightforward. If you discover an area where agreement may not be reached quickly, then agree to leave it until later.

3. Use active listening skills and ask questions to give you a greater understanding of the other person’s viewpoint- The goal of active listening is for you to hear and understand other people – their words, thoughts, and feelings, and to let them know you’ve heard and understood them. Acknowledge their motivations, feelings, and point of view, even when you don’t agree with what they are saying. Your goal is to understand the message, not judge the validity of what they say.

4. Build trust by negotiating fairly- Act with integrity and hold a healthy respect for the intentions of the individual you are negotiating with. There is always a reason why a point of negotiation is important to the buyer and if we can appreciate more about their underlying reasons, this knowledge can be used and acted upon.


As an ag entrepreneur, how often do you negotiate? How do you feel about negotiating? Do you find these tips to be helpful? Do you have any other tips to make negotiating less stressful?

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