You cannot be successful in small business without having good negotiation skills. You are required to negotiate at each and every step while operating the business – with vendors, customers, employees, franchisors and so on.
Some people are natural born negotiators and they even enjoy the experience. Many others, however, think of negotiation as necessary evil they have to deal with and dread dealing with it. No matter which camp you belong to learning good negotiation skills and understanding the rules of negotiation will help you becoming successful small business owner.
I discussed 5 fundamental rules of negotiation for small business in the earlier post. In this article, I would like to elaborate more on what virtues are necessary to help you become successful negotiator. Not everyone is born with these virtues, however, with little practice and understanding you can learn and improve your winning odds at the game of negotiation.
- Patience – If there is one virtue you must possess for successful negotiation it is this. Negotiation is a long, arduous process not unlike the game of “who blinks first”. Those who can hold out the longest are likely to succeed at the end. When the other party senses that you are in rush to wrap up negotiations, they will take advantage of the situation and extract more concessions from you during the process.
- Poker Face – This is probably the second most important virtue to have during negotiation after patience. While it is important to be fair and honest during negotiation, it does not mean you should open up all your cards. The more cards you keep to your chest the more leverage you will have during negotiation. Even simple expressions and body movements can make a big difference in the outcome when you are sitting face-to-face during negotiation.
- Open Mind – Negotiation is all about give and take. While everyone would like to have the whole cake by himself, in reality it never works that way. People who are willing keep open mind and compromise are able to get ahead. Keeping an open mind also involves looking at the big picture rather than staking a claim to one position and sticking to it throughout negotiation. As mentioned in earlier post, you have to look at all options besides price to get the best out of negotiation.
- Ability to Listen – People with big mouth put themselves at great danger when negotiating. You need to learn to use less of mouth and more of ears. The more you can listen to the other party the better position you will be in. This results from increasing your understanding of other party’s wants and needs and also stops you from revealing your positions. As we already mentioned, having a poker face is very important during negotiation.
- Planning and Preparation – Having more information at your disposal before you go into negotiation has a huge impact on the outcome. It enables you come up with the plan of action before negotiation as well as present your arguments in a convincing manner during it.
Have we missed any other important virtues? Do let us know in the comments.