Many female entrepreneurs and professionals have shared their experiences and strategies when negotiating in a traditionally masculine environment, where expectations can be vague and challenging. Opportunities for men and women need to be equalised and yet there are ways we can trigger this change in a wide range of business contexts.
Negotiating is an unconscious part of everyday life, but in business it's absolutely critical to your personal success and that of your business. My top 10 tips for negotiating in a business to business environment:
- It’s important to be prepared. Write down your priorities and breakpoints before going into any negotiation and it’s always a good idea to understand the other side’s motivations and real concerns.
- Think win win – everyone has to leave the conversation feeling they have got the result they wanted.
- You don’t always have to make up your mind on the spot. Take the time needed to listen, reflect and to consider the various options. The best negotiators are very considered in patience.
- Don’t show up hungry or too desperate for an immediate deal. Desperation will lead you to compromise on your values.
- Be confident and come into discussions at the same level as your peers. Lack of confidence only attracts bullying or negativity.
- Focus on the relationship and not the transactions. Think long term and make sure that everyone leaves the negotiating table feeling like they won and that the relationship hasn’t been compromised.
- Be ready to walk away.
- Don’t be afraid to push back. Sometimes we need to look at ways of re-phrasing our pitch or building on their suggestions, there’s an art to negotiation.
- Always read the small print.
- Don’t get emotional or take it too personally.