• Negotiations: Understanding Your Counterpart

    Being successful in negotiations requires tact and knowledge. You must have a strategic approach to figuring out your counterparty's angle. Knowledge about your counterpart is one of the key factors contributing to a successful deal-closing negotiation. Gaining information and knowledge about your counterpart can be classified into two categories: research and interpretation. 

    Researching your counterpart involves gathering intel about them before the negotiation begins. This includes studying their business model, understanding how they usually approach negotiations, and trying to anticipate their motives, strategy, and bottom line. 

    Interpretation involves using this pre-existing knowledge to decipher their objections and offers during the negotiation process. Without the basic knowledge framework, it may prove difficult to interpret their motives during the discussion. This makes research and interpretation equally significant. When utilized together, they pave the way for success in negotiations.

    Research Before the Negotiation

    Having a substantial level of knowledge regarding your counterparty and their possible motives allows you to make the most of negotiations with them and helps you understand the value your services may bring them. In contrast, failing to gather important information can render you blind to important factors, ultimately stifling your success. During the research stage, try to answer questions such as:

    • What motivates them?

    • What are they hoping to achieve from this discussion?

    • What is their bottom line?

    Indeed, any answer you may come up with during this process is speculation. However, the more information you gather, the more likely you are to be able to accurately answer these questions.

    Understanding the Different Negotiation Styles

    As part of your research, familiarize yourself with the common styles of negotiation. This is critical as it directly impacts how they respond to your suggestions and offers. For example:

    • Are they competitive or collaborative?

    • How ambitious are they with regard to claiming value?

    • Are they likely to try to exploit you? 

    Knowing where they stand with regard to these fundamental questions provides you with a logical framework for handling their objections.

    Interpreting Motives During the Discussion

    Being able to estimate what motivates your counterparty requires a certain degree of intuition. Using your pre-existing knowledge of them, try to understand what direction they're trying to move in. You can do this by interpreting their objections and how they respond to your offers. 

    So, you've made an offer and they responded with a partial or wholistic objection.

    • Why is that? 

    • What does that tell you about their aspirations?

    • Did that cross their bottom line?

    Keep trying to answer these questions for yourself as you discuss options with them — it might lead to valuable insight!

    Present Your Contract With Style

    When delivering a contract proposal, don't skip over the fine details. The contract must be neat, professional, and typo-free. Ensure you have a reliable JPG to PDF converter handy as having both file types streamlines the reading and editing process. 

    Understanding Your Counterpart

    To be successful in your next negotiation, you need a relatively comprehensive knowledge of your counterparty. This helps you interpret their moves during the actual discussion, giving you a valuable advantage.

    Consider joining your local chamber of commerce for more information and resources.