Negotiating a Business Deal - SYST Business

Negotiating a Business Deal

Over the years I spent in the corporate world, I was fortunate enough to attend several different negotiation seminars and courses.

Each had its own nomenclature and structure. Some negotiating courses were better for negotiating huge multimillion dollar acquisitions and divestitures. Others were focused on supplier-customer negotiations.

I put that knowledge to work, and in my career have negotiated many hundreds if not thousands of contracts and deals. Some deals were quite large — involving many millions of dollars.

But I’ve been involved in the small business world for the past decade now. And I’ve noticed that negotiations encountered by small business owners and managers are a bit different from the ones in large corporations.

Small business negotiations:

  • Often go fast. They may be seamless extensions of the typical sales scenario. They may morph quickly from sales pitch to negotiating the deal terms in a single discussion.
  • Are informal. Negotiations today may be conducted over phone and email. Big sit-down meetings involving thousands of miles of travel occur, too, but are less common than in larger corporations.

I’ve come up with what I consider a realistic checklist for negotiating a business deal. Here is a 9-point negotiating checklist I’ve honed specifically for small business situations.

1. Weed Out Tire Kickers

We’ve all encountered them at one time or another — the tire kickers. These are people comparing prices or “seeing what’s out there.” They will pump you for information but have no intention of buying from you.

Don’t waste your time trying to negotiate with anyone not serious….

2. Know Your “Must Haves”

What are the one or two things that would cause you to walk away if you don’t get them in a business deal? You’d be surprised (or perhaps not) at how many people don’t think through what is essential to them in a deal. They go into a negotiation with only a vague idea of what they want.

Be firm. But be realistic — you can’t have everything….

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