January 26, 2022

There are many established schools or philosophies from which to choose in negotiation. Depending on your goals and the other party's approach, one may be more appropriate to a particular situation than another. Here are the top three concepts available and how to implement them.

The I'm Only Asking for What's Fair Approach

This strategy works best when you know the other party is open to the conversation. Start by specifying that you aim to reach an agreement everyone can be happy with, not just yourself. Make sure you present the case of why you deserve more than what they are offering. You need to make them realize that their original offer is not good enough.

If, at any point during your negotiation, the other party becomes inflexible or gets hostile, take a break and work out your issues. Otherwise, the disagreement will only become more intense as time goes on.

The Getting to Yes Approach

This strategy is best used when you know that the other party is not open to negotiating with you. One of its fundamental premises is coming up with something that both you and the other party can agree to. Even if that means conceding to their demands, you end up feeling better about it because they're also gaining something from the deal.

This is difficult to achieve since some people are more concerned about their gain than anyone else's loss, especially when involved in negotiations. To avoid this outcome, do not be afraid to admit that their offer has merit. You can also say that you can work together, but they need to give you more for the two to agree.

When nothing works after several attempts at using this approach, it's time to flex your muscles to get their attention. You do this by informing the other party you will walk away because your demands are reasonable and deserve consideration. This move can motivate them to re-evaluate their position to get you to change yours.

The Offer-Concession Strategy

This one is best used when the other party is not open to negotiations. Instead of convincing them they should agree with what you are proposing, make an offer that is symbolic but not worth much in your eyes.

It's important to note that you should never give up anything too valuable in this strategy. When negotiating, always compromise on minor issues when the concession helps you. If you're in discussions with multiple vendors, it's often easier to push for what you want without taking away from your business relationship. If one vendor is not willing to negotiate, another may be more appreciative of your business and jump at the deal.

Take Your Time With the Presentation

Don't walk into contract talks with a subpar document. Appearance is an important step. Go through the contract line by line, and be sure to use high-quality paper, which is easier to read. Make sure the digital copy is in a simple format. It’s also useful to merge PDF files to only have one file to send.

Choose Wisely

The method you choose for your strategy depends on what you're comfortable with and the way the counterparty approaches the negotiation. 

For help with these approaches, consider joining your local chamber of commerce.