A Quick Guide To Healthy Negotiations

Ever heard the expression “there are two sides to every story and the truth lies somewhere in the middle?” That’s the framework for healthy negotiations. You both have your objectives, and in a healthy negotiation, one where each party benefits from doing business together, the deal is struck somewhere in “the middle” so that you come out of it getting what you really need.

So how do you create a healthy negotiation that is a win-win along with the ability for you to do repeat business?

  1. Need versus want. There are critical elements you need in a deal to ensure that it makes sense for you to do the deal in the first place. Then, there are things that would be really nice to have. Know the difference between “must haves” and “nice-to-haves” so that if you need to negotiate on certain points, you know what you can give up and what you can’t.
  2. Can you walk away? In some circumstances, a deal really doesn’t make sense and you need to know if you can live without it and walk away. You would have to give up more than you want in order to strike the deal.  Walking away might be the best option.
  3. Always be ethical. You don’t have to disclose all of your information. Some factors are confidential, or proprietary. Keep things close to the vest but always be honest in your negotiations. You’re building a relationship and being ethical will earn trust and reap return on investment. If you’re not ethical, that news will get shared fast.
  4. Give and take. If you are willing to give up a little in the deal, it’s expected that the other party will also make a concession. This is where knowing what you really need is essential.
  5. Stay calm. It’s easy to get emotional when you have a vested interest in the outcome. However, that doesn’t always serve you well. Remaining calm and clearheaded can often get you exactly what you want.
  6. Get it in writing. After the negotiations, once you strike the deal, make sure you get it in writing. It’s amazing how quickly the details of an agreement can be forgotten (conveniently or otherwise). Write it down and make sure you both agree to the final decision.
  7. Maybe tomorrow. If a deal doesn’t work out the way you want, walk away gracefully since you never know what can happen tomorrow, or in the future. The other party might realize that you play an indispensable role in the relationship. If you walk away without grace, chances are the opportunity will be lost.

A business relationship is much like a personal relationship.  In the same way that a personal relationship is likely to fail where one person always acquiesces, a business relationship can fail for the same reason.  Yes, a very caustic negotiator could always win, but are they doing repeat business with the same entity? I would bet not.  And, repeat business is almost always more cost effective than new business, especially in start-up costs.  Here’s to a healthy negotiation.

Annette Giordano is the Associate Principal | SVP – Head of Sales of Consultants 2 Go.