An advantage to improving your negotiation skills is that they can be used in all areas of your life. Whenever you encounter a situation that calls for you to discuss your desired outcomes with individuals or groups who do not share your exact outlook, you can call on these abilities to reach a compromise. Negotiation skills are more often linked with workplace environments, but if you do decide to expand on them you may find they benefit you in other arenas. If you are employed in a sector where you are often called on to reach compromises with clients then it could prove useful to improve on these abilities.
You are likely to be aware that when two parties enter into discussion they both have different objectives. For instance, a customer may be approaching you to order stock from your firm, with the suggestion that they would like a reduced price for a large order. This cost reduction may be lower than you are prepared to give and the discussion opens from here.
The important factor in compromises of this nature is that the majority of objectives and outcomes differ, depending on your clients’ needs. In this sense, negotiation is an organic process that changes each time a compromise is sought. Despite the varying nature of each discussion, there are certain rules and methods that you can apply so you get the best outcome for your company, while also keeping your clients happy.
There are several important stages to opening discussions that result in compromises between you and your customers. The first is preparation for the talks, so you are armed with all the information you need regarding your objectives. These can relate to the upper and lower financial boundaries that your company is willing to accept, meaning if you were attempting to reach a compromise on stock sale reduction with a buyer, you would establish how much you may drop prices beforehand.
Once this has been established, it is a good time to open discussions and put forward your views on the matter. In addition to communicating your thoughts on the issue at hand, it is wise to give your time and concentration to your client’s viewpoints and impressions. Your customers are likely to be as prepared to argue their case as much as you are and this can lead to assertive arguments as you both try to reach a point of compromise.
Here, you can draw on your skills to strengthen your argument, meaning in the previous example you explain why prices cannot be dropped as low as the buyer would like. As you both get an idea of your boundaries and limits, you can then explore outcomes that would suit you both. For instance, you may agree to take your stock prices down further in return for repeated orders from the client for a specific length of time. This may be partially accepted by your customer, but they could then ask you to reduce the contract by several months, meaning negotiations carry on.
Learning about body language can help you pick up subtle clues that indicate if your clients are responding negatively or positively to your suggestions and tips on interpreting non-verbal cues can be picked up at training courses. It is recommended that you do not rush the negotiation process but instead allow it to develop at a pace that suits you both. Once agreement has been reached you can then get contracts signed and concentrate on delivering the required service to your clients.