If you aren’t negotiating in your business, you are probably paying too much. That’s why negotiation skills are so important. But it goes beyond that. Small business leaders need to have strong negotiation skills not only to land the best deal, but to be able to negotiate long-term sustainable partnerships that will reap benefits for your business for years to come, says Yanyn San Luis, a business consultant at Florida SBDC at FIU who specializes in marketing, sales, branding and negotiation.
What makes a negotiation successful? She shared tips and advice in a recent webinar for SBDC at FIU, the small business development center within FIU’s College of Business. “I do believe everybody has the ability to win and that is why we need to learn how to create win-win situations,” San Luis said.
Here are some tips and strategies she shared:
- The word “no” (or the body language) actually begins the negotiation. We want the no to come out first, she said, because no really means “wait, I’m not comfortable yet, or I don’t have all the information” and you want to find out the reasons for it. That way you can arm your proposal with what they do want, San Luis said.
- To get to an authentic yes, ask “how” and “what” questions. Examples: What do you mean by that? How can we make this work? These are strategic questions — and read the body language. Sometimes you need to decipher whether it is time to move on down your pipeline and interpreting body language will help.
- Get into the mindset. Go in with a strategy to overcome the objections you expect. Also set the expectations on the purpose of the meeting.
- Refrain from using “what I’m hearing is…” Better: It sounds like or it feels like or is seems like … mirror the words they are using in your pitch and pause so that the other side can process.
- The last impression is the lasting impression – how you close is key. A good question: How do we create a win-win partnership that is fair for both of us?
- The goal in the negotiation is for the opposite party to really feel that they are being understood.
“Hope is not a strategy,” she said. “Everybody has the ability to win but in order to do so you must have a plan, prepare and then expect to win.”
Find more tips in the webinar here.