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Trying to get an upcoming contract negotiation right?
Negotiating contracts that work for two parties with different needs and goals can be challenging. However, it is crucial to put down the foundations for a long and fruitful relationship with a customer by reaching a mutually beneficial agreement and capturing the terms of the deal in a legal contract.
Without a contract, neither party is protected, the terms of the engagement will not be clearly understood, laying the ground for misaligned expectations and potential conflict down the line. Thus, it is well worth putting in the hard work negotiating the black and white details of the business relationship and formalizing these to the satisfaction of both parties.
Fortunately, there are some useful pointers on how to negotiate successfully so that you either achieve what you want, while also accommodating the needs of the client, or walk away from the deal knowing that the other party will not be able to meet your minimum requirements.
Prepare For The Negotiation
The first step in approaching an upcoming negotiation is to prepare carefully ahead of time. You need to understand as much as you can about the other party to the negotiations. Check out the size and scope of their business, and that will give you some idea of what they want to achieve from the talks.
It would help if you also shopped around to see what is reasonable to expect in terms of price, quality, time frames, and likely future work. That way, you will have all the essential facts at hand and will not rely on information provided by the other party that is understandably likely to put a positive spin on their requirements and what they expect.
You also need to set out your aims clearly, and what you want to achieve, understanding what you will and won’t accept from the negotiations.
It is then time to clarify the details of the contract you want to put forward during the negotiation. It is always preferable to negotiate with a contract already drafted so that the two parties can work from something that is already on the table rather than drawing up an agreement from scratch.
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When you begin negotiating, remember to be courteous, professional, and constructive. Remember, you are engaging with a potential client or partner, and this interaction will set the tone for the rest of your business relationship. Also, diplomacy will hold you in good stead when you need to win the other party over to your point of view on an area of disagreement or potential conflict.
If you want to be a successful negotiator, you also need to hone your listening skills because if you listen carefully to the needs and desires of the other party, you are far more likely to understand the likelihood of agreeing on the contractual terms and negotiate accordingly.
You will inevitably have to offer concessions, and hopefully, these will be concessions that are not material to you but are highly valued by the other party. It is common practice in negotiations to seek a concession for every concession you offer in the talks.
Plan to walk away from the negotiations if it becomes clear you are not going to get what you require. A contract that fails to meet your minimum requirements is bound to cause frustration and discontent down the line, which would be damaging to business relations with the customer or partner.
During the course of the negotiations, the parties involved will need first to determine the needs of each person involved and what would be considered success.
Create A Sense Of Urgency
Finally, to get over the finishing line, it is vital to keep the momentum going by creating a sense of urgency. It is not easy to get all parties to sign on the dotted line, and that, of course, is your ultimate objective. But if there is no pressure to get that done within a reasonable time frame, negotiations could drag on for far longer than necessary – and prevent you from moving onto fulfilling the conditions of the contract and getting paid for your services sooner rather than later.
Negotiating isn’t easy and can feel intimidating. It is not easy reconciling different, sometimes conflicting, needs, and expectations. But sitting down at a table together and thrashing these out is a crucial step closer to building a fruitful, long-lasting business relationship that is stress-free and based on interests and commitments that are fully aligned.