Are you a Savvy Negotiator?


Sales and negotiation are such a big part of our lives, regardless of your profession. On a day to day basis, in or out of work, we attempt to influence people and better outcomes for ourselves. While sales and negotiation sometimes go hand in hand, its not always a given that sales people can negotiate. Sales people are wired and driven to achieve their goal, often at the expense of producing the ‘best’ or ‘optimal’ deal possible. So, in an attempt to add some structure to this part of the process, I have compiled a checklist and shared some tips and tricks to help better prepare for  a negotiation scenario.


Eight steps for Effective Negotiating


  1. Plan
  • Gather info – what do we know? Need to know?
  • Are we meeting with the decision maker?
  • Determine and prioritise your objectives, gather facts and figures
  • Be specific about your goals
  • What do we know about the customer and their culture and values?
  • Be clear on your non-negotiable positions – what is the bottom line?
  • What leverage do you have?
  • Be mindful of your leverage or power – Be conscious of how this ultimately guides your negotiation. Set reasonable expectations based on this.
  • Find common ground and align parties values
  • Establish a BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement) – this is your course of action if your negotiation results in a stalemate
  • Determine your concession and negotiation ranges
    • What you might give
    • What you’ll expect in return
    • Determine the order in which you’ll trade concession
  • Consider past negotiations trends
  • Determine your final position and potential impact on parties
  • If negotiations are to take place with teams on both sides, be clear of the roles of each member of your team (leader, note taker, observer, etc)
  • What does the other party want and need? What are their options and potential risks?
  • Anticipate likely arguments and prepare answers and supporting data


  1. Build Rapport
  • Smile and shake hands
  • Emphasise commonalities/similarities
  • Communicate honestly and authentically
  • Be mindful to use positive, open body language


  1. State Objectives and Purpose
  • Carry your goal with you
  • Explain your objectives and purpose
  • Be optimistic
  • Summarise your understanding of their objectives


  1. Establish Needs and Impacts
  • Ask other party to elaborate on their objectives/goals
  • Hear their proposals without interruption
  • Probe into their proposal and ideas – allow and encourage the other party to do most of the talking
  • Be conscious of body language
  • Identify any items that are non-negotiable for them


  1. Packaging your Proposal
  • Summarise the other parties needs and link to your proposal
  • Highlight what’s in it for them
  • Express the bespoke nature and fairness of your proposal


  1. Reviewing and Re-packaging
  • Listen to their views and comments on your proposal
  • Consider all of their suggestions and ideas before rejecting or suggesting alternatives
  • Ask to take a break if necessary. Use the time to have a private discussion with your team and review options.
  • At this point, who has leverage/power? Has this shifted?
  • Seek clarification of any rejections or alternative suggestions from them
  • What are you left with? What options are still available?
  • Highlight what the other party is prepared to do and what you are prepared to do
  • Issue re-packaged proposal if needed


  1. Close
  • Summarise what has been discussed point by point
  • Express appreciation for the other party’s time, attention, collaboration etc.
  • Remind the other party of the benefits the agreement will bring
  • Be authoritative but reasonable
  • Seek verbal agreement of process and outcome – clarify any actions required from both parties
  • Do you want to employ the ‘scarcity effect’ and issue deadlines?
  • Don’t over commit – as the process draws on and if you’re heavily invested, this could be used against you for further concessions


  1. Final Review
  • Diarise action points
  • Seek commitment of any agreement ASAP
  • Execute any paperwork


Tips and Tactics


  • Have high expectations
  • Be assertive and persistent but non-confrontational
  • Disclose very little
  • Gain access and credibility through relationship networks
  • Avoid trusting to quickly or easily
  • Link one concession to depend upon another
  • Don’t be afraid to explain that something doesn’t work or is unacceptable
  • Ask lots and lots of questions – keep probing and listening to see what the other party shares
  • Use pauses to see how the other party reacts
  • Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed
  • Consider all available ‘low cost’ options you could bring to the table
  • Try not to use ranges – be specific and set anchors
  • Try to ‘expand the pie’ – increase the benefit for all involved
  • Attempt not to meet in the middle often – this creates patterns and predictability
  • Never be in a position where you are obligated.
  • Don’t be afraid to walk away and explain that maybe discussions can start again in the future – But always leave the door open and don’t burn bridges!
  • Have an open mind and be prepared to listen
  • Maintain honesty and integrity
  • Make notes
  • Listen critically
  • Play on loss aversion – what the other party will lose if an agreement cannot be made
  • If leverage is weak you can choose to bluff your position or appeal to the other party’s better nature


I hope this was useful. Good luck!

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