Amjad Khanche on Negotiations

Negotiations are an important and often necessary part of running a business. Many believe that to be a successful negotiator, you must be adversarial and create wins for yourself without any need for compromise. In reality, negotiating involves the creation of a win-win situation for those involved, and anything else is either bullying or an unrealistic expectation.

Listen to understand

To create a win-win situation, you must think about what the other party wants. Make the negotiation successful by making sure that you aren’t doing all of the talking. Instead of leading the conversation and explaining the benefits of the negotiation to no end, you should listen to understand, not to respond. Try to understand what the other side finds important, identify where they may be flexible, and what limitations they may have. Always try and score but not at the costs of long-term relationships.

Go through their wins

The homework of getting into negotiations should be trying to understand the wins of the opposition and match it with what you are willing to sacrifice for the greater good. When negotiating, tell the other side what they will get out of your offer; attempt to meet their priorities without limiting your own wins. The aim is to create a situation where the other side can win just as much as you can.

Negotiations are not about attempting to dominate the opponent, but rather, they are about creating a win-win situation for everyone involved, where everyone will benefit from the results. This will enrich the negotiation, resulting in an outcome where relationships are strengthened and where you can both walk away with satisfaction.

Avoid the bad strategy of negotiating by continually conceding

Imagine that you have a potential client who will greatly benefit from your business. This client has unreasonable demands that will create more losses than wins for you, however, you accept these demands in hopes of getting close to a beneficial deal. If you continue to give in, the client will learn that they can continue with unreasonable demands, and that you will always accept. Instead of giving in to these requests, make sure that the situation will lead to future benefits for you. If you have to concede try and walk away by creating a future opportunity.

Be willing to walk away

One mistake that many people make is becoming too emotionally attached to ‘winning’ the negotiation. If you cannot reach a negotiation, it is better to walk away before you become too aggressive or vulnerable in the transaction. It is better to walk away than it is to damage your relationship, reputation, financial position or just general self-esteem. Accepting “No” for an answer and communicating “No” as an answer if used sparingly only makes you and your position stronger. Negotiation is a skill to learn and an art to execute. Keep it simple and keep it happy for all.

Read Developing a Business for great business development tips from 9East Managing Director, Amjad Khanche.