Industry Expertise: the Unknown Asset That Could Change How You Negotiate
Many believe that being dominant will help them get the best deal in a negotiation. There are some short term benefits to this approach. A person who can overpower their vendor may close deals more quickly and gain more of the initial value in a contract. Over time, however, this approach can prevent dominant negotiators from forming lasting business relationships. They can lose out on valuable insight and influence that can be found with a collaborative approach.
Collaborative negotiation doesn't mean giving in to the other party. The goal in the negotiation is still to provide the best possible outcome for yourself and your business. However, a collaborative negotiation approach looks at best outcomes in terms that are broader than who ends up with the most money or fewest obligations.
Building Business Relationships
Your vendors can offer more to your business than just the products and services they supply. Building a strong relationship with your vendors gives your business access to their knowledge and connections. Whether it's providing you with needed insight on your business' supply chain, introducing you to helpful contacts, or giving you advice on how to weather rough patches in your industry, many vendors are industry experts who can provide valuable support and guidance.
Collaborative negotiation approaches are focused on building and maintaining that positive relationship. Working with your vendors to determine the timelines, prices and agreements that will benefit both parties shows them that you value them. People who feel valued are more likely to share knowledge that will help you thrive in your industry.
Take Negotiations One Item at a Time
When working out a contract, collaborative negotiators consider each individual need and obligation separately. Breaking the contract down into smaller parts helps you and your vendors approach each issue individually, rather than pushing for an overall win or loss. Collaborative negotiators are honest and creative in finding solutions. This can take longer than a dominant approach, but by listening to your vendor, you may discover unique ways that you can meet the company's needs and increase your own value in the negotiation.
Another collaborative way to improve your status during negotiation is to draft a great looking contract. Convert from PDF to Word to help you maintain proper formatting and keep the contract looking presentable. Paying attention to readability, clear language, and the details that keep contracts looking sharp is an easy way to signal to your vendors that you are professional and value their business.
Especially when it comes to vendors, negotiations are an investment in the longevity of your business. A domineering attitude gets immediate results, but the relationship that's built through collaboration can benefit your business for decades to come. When approaching your next negotiation, don't be afraid to work on solutions together, address each issue individually, and consider the expertise your counterparty may be able to offer your business.
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