When you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve got to learn how to hustle. As you’re growing your business, challenging conversations are inevitable, and a good negotiation should be a dance that gets both parties some version of what they want. Take a look at five negotiation tactics every entrepreneur should know.
Listen more than you talk. It can be tempting to become a chatty Cathy when you are talking about your business and what you can do for a prospective client, but when it comes to negotiation, learn to embrace the silence. If you’ve engaged in conversation with a prospect, you’ve been given an opportunity to learn what this person wants so you can better design your strategy. Don’t throw this opportunity away by talking too much!
Use language that’s about them, not you. As you embrace the opportunity to learn what your potential client needs, don’t use language that brings it back to you, keep the focus and solution on them. Instead of saying “what I’m hearing is…”, say “it seems like you…”, this will keep them reflecting on their needs and show that your focus is on them and a solution, not on your own gain.
Never be the first one to throw out a number. When engaging in conversation with anyone, whether it be a prospective client, employee, or contractor. Don’t be the first to give a number. When it comes time to talk money, don’t be afraid to ask for someone’s budget rather than giving a price right out of the gate. Negotiation 101 says whoever says a number first has the weaker hand.
Don’t be discouraged by a no. I’ll even take it one step further, when you can, seek out a no! When people respond with no, it’s human nature to keep talking and explain why it’s a no. You learn far more about the person you’re negotiating with when you get a "no" response then when you get a "yes". We’re trained to see “yes” as a positive answer in negotiation, but you may be leaving an even better deal on the table by diving for that "yes" versus delving into that "no"!
End strong and positive. People won’t remember every detail of a negotiation, but they’ll remember how it ended. End on a good impression.