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Business Negotiations 101

By Cindy Wolf

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Have you ever wondered why you agreed to something – whether that revelation was instantaneous or took a few months? Or wondered how you lost a deal that seemed so promising? If you’ve ever had one of those “What happened there?” moments, read on for the top five mistakes negotiators make.

1.  Not asking for what you need. The time to learn that the other side can’t meet your needs is not after you’ve signed all the papers. Sure, predicting the future is hard, but an uneducated negotiator won’t even know what to ask for. Too many buyers think that the seller knows exactly what they want when the reality is that the seller is more familiar with their company and their products than your company and your needs. All customers, vendors and products are not the same. Good negotiators do research internally and about the other side and their competition. This means getting the proper stakeholders involved and not making assumptions. Then you can adequately communicate your needs and listen to the other side. Mind reading is a parlor trick, not a negotiation skill.

2.  Not having another option. Persistence may be a virtue, but you need to have a Plan B. The worst negotiating position to have is with someone who knows you can’t walk away. Account managers experience this situation all the time and can end up negotiating against themselves to keep a customer happy. But those working on new relationships should be able to avoid lock-in situations. Unfortunately I’ve seen senior managers do this to the negotiating team all too often. If they tell their counterpart on the other side that they’ve “won the business” and that X doesn’t matter, they’ve cut off their negotiating team at the knees. They’ve also closed the door on working through any significant issues that may arise.

Business Negotiations 101 By Cindy Wolf


Copyright © 2013 Cindy Wolf. All rights reserved
Copyright ©   2013  The Negotiator Magazine
The Negotiator Magazine  September 2013