Setting the Stage: Making Sure You're in the Right Setting for a Negotiation
There are many aspects of a negotiation to consider. You want to have a good idea of your goals, potential concessions you can offer, and how you'd like to come across at the bargaining table.
One element that's often overlooked, however, is where that bargain takes place and whether the people around the table are the best ones to make the negotiation. No matter what you bring to a meeting, you will struggle to make an ideal agreement if you don't consider setting as a primary factor in your negotiation.
Benefits of Losing Home-Field Advantage
The most basic question in a negotiation setting is whether the negotiation should take place at the vendor's site or your own offices. You may feel there's a strong advantage in having them come to you or letting them choose, but proposing to meet with them first can show your willingness to consider their needs and set up a win-win negotiation before the initial offer.
There are additional benefits to going to your counterparty. You can gather valuable information about their site, what resources they have available, and what perspective they're arguing from. If you see that their plant is small and tightly packed, for example, that can help you understand why they aren't comfortable offering large shipments, and then you can suggest solutions.
Whether you end up meeting at your location or theirs, it's important to give a strong positive impression. You likely already know that dressing appropriately and behaving politely is important, but you may not have considered the importance of dressing up your contract. Make sure you merge PDF files to keep your contracts looking polished. Consider every detail of your presentation. All your official documents should look great to convince them that you are the best person for their business.
Know Your Audience
Making concessions, attempting to strong-arm your counterparty, and forming logical appeals are all useless if the person across the table lacks the power to make significant decisions. Before you agree to any meeting, make sure the person you're talking to has the authority to meet your demands and make concessions. If they can't change the initial offer, meeting is a waste of time.
If you're not satisfied with a deal and the company refuses to let you meet with someone who has the power to resolve your concerns, you may need to walk away from the agreement. It may be better not to do business with a company that blocks you from making reasonable negotiations.
Setting the Tone
Carefully choosing where you negotiate and who you negotiate with can help you set up the type of negotiation you want to pursue. Offering to meet with them, presenting a beautiful contract, and meeting with someone who has the authority to progress the agreement sets the tone for a productive negotiation. Taking these steps will also demonstrate that you know what you're doing.
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