Negotiating contracts is difficult. As Brits, we seem to have this perception that the cost offered is set in stone. In reality, a well-negotiated contract, or a series of well-negotiated contracts, can make a serious dent in your overheads.
With that in mind, here are our tips on how to improve your negotiation skills for the next time you are at the table.
1. Take your time
If a contract gets rushed through quickly, the chances are someone lost. It’s worth taking the time to make sure everything is correct. Very few people enjoy negotiating, it’s something a lot of business leaders just like to get out the way however it’s imperative that you don’t rush. The results will be worth the time.
2. Pace the discussion
Take everything one step at a time. Get the easiest points sorted first, use that to gain some momentum. If you get some discussion points out of the way early on, you’ll both be pleased. Eventually, you’ll have to get to the sticking points; if you’re both invested at this point, chances are the discussion will be far easier. You’ve both spent time on the discussion so you both have something to lose now.
3. Appreciate the two most important commodities you have
Time and money. These are likely to be your two biggest considerations. Make sure you have an idea of how much this contract is worth to you in monetary value. Once you know that, you can decide how much time it is worth.
4. Pick up the phone
Emails are great, they serve a fantastic purpose, but you can lose context quickly. We’ve all received emails that have come across terribly and left us wondering about the sender’s true intentions. If communications between you and the other party have started to slide, pick up the phone and get back on top of things.
5. Understand that the first contract is a start, nothing more
The first and last contracts are always very different; appreciate that. Getting worked up because the first version you’ve received is unacceptable is pointless and wastes everyone’s time. Read through it properly, work out what you would like to be changed, and then get to work getting it.
6. Good Cop/Bad Cop
This may seem corny, but it’s a cliché for a reason – it works. This doesn’t mean bringing along a henchman to start flipping tables. However, having someone back at the office who you can run any sticking points past and then use their opinion to leverage some power. The phrase “This doesn’t work for X” shows disapproval, but doesn’t force you to be confrontational – which can be a difficulty for a lot of people.
7. Be reasonable
Research what you can actually expect from your negotiations and appreciate that you’re not going to rob them blind. Have an idea of what you need the contract to be, and what you want it to be. Once you’re in that wheelhouse, accept that you’re onto a winner and push things forward.
8. Seek professional help
If your negotiating skills are what’s holding your business back, don’t be too proud to ask for help. Negotiating/re-negotiating contracts is a major part of what we do at NJG. If it’s more efficient to bring in an expert in negotiation than for you to do it alone then make the smart decision.
If you’d like any further help or advice, or if you’d like to know more about the services we offer, contact me now on 01257 232602, 07813 806344 and firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by NikolayFrolochkin–2231981
At NJG Purchasing Services Ltd we believe that there are many basic tips and tricks which can help to reduce your company overheads with almost immediate effect.
We have produced an ebook to guide you through some of the more basic methods which you can implement alongside using NJG Purchasing Services.
As a procurement specialist for more than 30 years, I get the frustrations you face. Growing a business is complex and challenging, but don’t let high costs be your downfall.
No matter what size your business, any inefficiencies you have now will only get bigger as you grow. Getting lean and resourceful as early as possible, will enable you to build an efficient and streamlined business for the future…
We understand how frustrating it is when you know your overheads are high, but you don’t have the resources or expertise to get them down.
That’s why we do it all for you.