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Five Tips On How to Negotiate Effectively...

This week, I had no fewer than three discussions with Clients about how we wanted to negotiate a deal. It occurred to me that negotiating is definitely an art and that not everyone knows all the important elements that make it successful. I have been negotiating licensing and promotional deals for almost two decades. I like to think that I am relatively skilled at it and that I have typically gotten a pretty good deal for myself or my Clients. Often, I turn to a few tried and true tactics to get what I want and I thought it might be helpful to share some of these “tricks” with you. 

So, here goes:

1.       Always let them show their cards first – One of the biggest mistakes in negotiating is telling your potential partner what you want before they make their first offer. This almost always results in money left on the table. If at all possible, push your potential partner to name their price first so that you have something to which to react.

2.       Don’t ask, don’t get – In other words, always make a counter offer. Sometimes you will get a firm “no” but often you will be surprised to see that the person making the offer has bid low in anticipation of you countering. If you don’t push for more, you won’t ever get more…

3.       Start high – When forced to name a price on your end first, always ask for more than you are willing to settle for.  Chances are you will be pushed lower, but you never know. You could end up with exactly the amount you wanted or more!

4.       Meet in the middle – You have a number in your head and your negotiating partner has one in their head. Where you will end up is likely to be somewhere between the two numbers. How close to the middle will depend on how tough you are in standing your ground.

5.       Be willing to walk away – The surest way to get what you want in a negotiation is to be willing to let the entire deal die. If you aren’t willing to walk away, you will most likely cave under the pressure being put on you by the other negotiating party. If you are willing to walk away, you can stand firm for what you want and possibly even get it.

Maria Bertrand