Proven strategies to improve your business negotiation skills and cement your position for the best possible outcomes

Any business owner will tell you that the core of their prosperity relies on successful negotiations. That’s the bread and butter of professional salesmanship—brokering deals and negotiating terms. Some people are born naturals at these types of interactions. Others need to learn as they grow in their careers. But many businesspeople don’t understand how to build business negotiation skills, or how to influence outcomes with greater benefits.

With a little practice, it’s possible to create a win-win situation with clients. Both people walk away happy, your relationships strengthen, business opportunities open for the future.

business negotiation skills

3 powerful tips to improve your business negotiation skills

1. Open with an negotiable offer

There are two basic negotiation positions: the seller and the buyer. Smart dealmakers will start with a reasonable, but favorable offer. They aim high so that, after negotiations, they still retain a profitable result.

Sellers ask for more than they’re expecting to receive; buyers offer less than they are willing to pay.

This strategy is difficult for amateur businesspeople because they’re afraid of upsetting the client or customer. But you’re not expecting to close that initial position. It’s only a strategy to control and set the pace of the negotiations ahead of you.


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2. Listen to your client—they will tell you how to sell them a deal

People are under the impression that master negotiators are persuasive speakers. They’re charismatic, articulate, and possess a magical ability to influence behavior with their words.

Well, that’s only partly right. Business negotiations skills are not exclusive to conversing like a pro. A more important skill is much simpler: listening. Develop your skills to patiently allow your client spill the beans and reveal their positions.

Why is listening so important to building business negotiation skills?

3. Show how you will meet their needs, don’t tell them

Preparation and presentation are key to brokering successful deals. Too many professionals make the mistake of entering a negotiation without fully understanding the stakes and pressures for the client. You should know exactly why they entered this deal, what they expect to get out of it, and how you can satisfy those needs without undermining your position.

Finally, present those three main points at the table. Don’t simply tell your client you will do things and they will see results. Show them exactly how your offer meets – better yet, exceeds – their expectations.

business negotiation skills

How to secure a win-win for you and the client

A win-win is a fantastic business outcome. Both parties walk out of the conference room smiling and happy. Nothing wrong with that. But it’s important to understand exactly how to influence those situations and make them happen. And it isn’t really what you’d expect.

In an article by Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiations, the PON staff highlights how perceptions and expectations influence satisfaction. For instance, they demonstrate that social comparisons play a significant role in attaining a win-win negotiation: “Not only do negotiators compare their profit from a deal with the profit they imagine their counterpart earned, but they also compare their profit with the profits of other negotiators who were in a similar situation.”

So how do you prepare for your client’s reactions based on perceptions largely out of your control? Here are a few tips to help them maintain a positive outlook:

  • Manage expectations from the get-go. Set an opening offer at the top of your negotiating margins and stick to it. Don’t change your mind too quickly when an opportune moment presents itself. Changing your position makes your client suspicious.
  • Do not flaunt your earnings. Modesty gives the perception of fairness. Make the extra step and give your client a pat on the back for his business negotiation skills. Take the low road even when you’re riding high.
  • Share the power through inclusion. Actively seek the opinions of your client throughout the negotiation. If you both come to a decision together (even if that decision better suits your interests) it will give him or her a position of influence.

lead-managerlead-managerDo you properly follow up with clients after negotiations? Our CRM organizes and automates this process for you. Schedule a free demo of our sales follow-up software today!


Do you negotiating skills your want to share with our community? Comments are always welcome!