6 Quick Negotiating Tips (Without Burning Bridges)

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Learn the art of negotiating for a win-win with these 6 quick tips!

We often find ourselves negotiating with vendors, clients, employees or our boss. We have certain outcomes that we desire, but since we hope to maintain a healthy trusting long-term relationship, we want the other party to also feel that they received many of their desired outcomes too.

  1. Know what you value
    Before negotiating, list and rank your desired outcomes.  Know which are your non-negotiable items and which are just nice to have items.
  2. Know what the other party values
    Before making any final agreement, be sure to fully understand what the other party values and their relative priorities.  This may mean splitting the negotiation into two separate meetings: one for discovery and then next for actual negotiating.  Always conduct these meetings face to face when possible.  You are listening carefully and in the process you are trying to build as much mutual trust as possible. This trust may help close a final agreement especially if feelings get hurt along the way. Try to listen for items that the other party values more than you value.
  3. Stand your ground when appropriate
    Let the other party know when they are asking too much from you. They need to know what you truly value so that they can participate effectively in a final win/win agreement.
  4. Horse trading
    Usually there are many inconsequential items that you both can mutually agree to early in the process so do so.  Once those are agreed to many items still in disagreement can often be Horse Traded away. You give in to items important to the other party if they will give into your important items. This is where truly understanding what is important to the other party is crucial.
  5. Overcoming seemingly insurmountable differences
    Often there are one or two tough non-negotiable items that are preventing a final agreement. This is where more discussion is required.  State your case in a respectful way why you require or cannot agree to certain terms. Sometimes the other party will concede the point once they understand your reasoning and its importance to you. If they do not agree, then ask your counterpart why the item is so important to them and then listen carefully. Often the other party has valid concerns of their own. Try to be creative and propose a solution to their main concern that is also acceptable to you.
  6. Or walk away
    Sometimes walking away is the best outcome available. Try to do so in a way that preserves the relationship. Let the other party know that you wanted to come to an agreement, but there was no agreement to be made at this time.
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The featured photo on this post is a derivative of “Orwell Bridge” by Martin Cooper and is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Founder and Executive Chairman

As a life-long consultant himself, Bert founded Solving IT in 1992 with the vision of transforming IT departments within Fortune 1000 companies. Under his leadership, and with support from many valued team members along the way, the one-man shop he started is approaching 25 years of excellence in the IT solutions and recruitment industry and has employed over 800 consultants and full-time employees in its tenure. He continues to be a hands-on leader and is a key supporter of a fun and productive work environment, as well as the IT recruitment industry overall.

One Response

  1. […] one side is trying to win. Negotiating is not about one side winning. Good negotiating is about making both sides a winner where everyone is pleased with the […]