Negotiation is a necessary skill for your professional success. Negotiating with colleagues, clients or vendors will help you get the deal you want. Negotiation can also be intimidating, especially if you’ve never had to negotiate before. And even if you think you’re ready, asking for a fair price and coming up with ideas that are acceptable to both parties can be difficult at times. There are many ways to improve your negotiation skills and make everything less scary! Negotiation is an essential part of any professional’s arsenal; whether you work as part of a team or as an individual, negotiating will help you get the job done. There are several ways to improve your negotiating skills. Let's take a look at some of them:
Do your research beforehand
Before you go into a negotiation, you want to be as informed as possible, so you know what to ask for, how much to ask for it, and why you’re asking for it in the first place. This will help you make better decisions in your negotiations and avoid mistakes that can cost you a lot of money and negative feelings with your peers and your clients. Researching your market and competitor pricing, what your competitors are charging for similar services, and your ideal price point will help you avoid overcharging yourself as well as give you a better idea of what you should be charging your clients.
Be flexible and empathetic
While you may be tempted to negotiate down from your initial price, or up to the sky-high price point of your competitors, you don’t want to do this. Both of these approaches will likely leave you feeling frustrated and completely unsatisfied with your work. Instead, try to be flexible throughout the negotiation process. Be willing to negotiate an additional 10% off the price you’d prefer, or be open to lowering your price to a point where you’re comfortable moving forward with the process.
Frame the discussion in terms of personal value
While you’re researching your competition and competitors, you may notice that one is charging $20 per hour and another is charging $18 per hour. You may be tempted to lowball the $18 per hour vendor and charge $16 per hour. This approach, however, is not likely to end well for you. Instead, try to frame your negotiations in terms of what you consider to be worth. This is not only more effective and professional but also more likely to result in a win for both parties involved.
Be clear about your goals and expectations
To make negotiations as successful as possible, you need to be clear with your expectations, both with your clients and your vendors. Why do you want to charge $2,000 per hour? What value are you hoping to add to this situation? What happens if you get this job? Are you able to meet the client’s needs? Once you’ve gauged the client’s expectations and goals, you can better determine how much you should charge.
Don’t be afraid to ask for more and/or change a part of the deal
If you’ve done your research and determined that your price is in the middle of the range for the market, but you feel like you’re under or overcharging yourself, it’s okay to say so. You have nothing to lose by doing this, and you may end up with a better deal for yourself or someone else in the negotiation process. If you feel like you could be getting more money from your client, and you’ve gauged their expectations and the value of the services you’ll be providing, it’s okay to tell your client so they know what they’re getting.
Negotiation is not an easy skill, it takes practice and patience to get right. However, with a little bit of effort and perseverance, you can significantly improve your negotiating abilities and make more money in your career. What’s more, you can also avoid some of the most common negotiation mistakes that can cost you both money and valuable client relationships. These tips will help you avoid making common negotiation mistakes, such as not researching your market, being too flexible, and not being clear about your goals and expectations. In addition, you will be better prepared to negotiate a fair price, avoid overcharging yourself, and change a part of the deal if you feel like you’re under or overcharging yourself.