Understand How to Make. Successful Deals in Business

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1 Understand How to Make Successful Deals in Business

2 Introduction The art of making deals is essential to running any business, whether you are a street vendor or the managing director of a multinational corporation and involves the negotiation skills. You may negotiate with people on a daily basis without even realising it probably when you re trying to swap washing up duties from the hovering at home but the way you barter in these situations won t be too dissimilar to how you might approach a business negotiation. In this unit we ll look more closely at who you might need to make deals with, how you might do it and what to be aware of when negotiating the deal.

3 What does negotiation mean in the context of your business? Negotiation can mean haggling over the price of a product or service you are selling, or it could just mean arranging a slight discount on a bulk order of paper for your office printer. At some point during the course of running a business you will have to negotiate with one or more of the following: - Customers - Suppliers - Staff - Financiers As you take on staff the responsibility for negotiations will begin to fall on those around you. If you ve done a good job of hiring staff you should be confident in their ability to do what s in the best interests of the company but you ll also want to make sure that they are clear on what is expected of them. To do that you ll need to think about setting the parameters through sales targets and spending budgets.

4 How might this work in practice? Let s take an example of a small business that uses negotiation to good effect: John is the director of a small independent carpet retailer. Negotiation is important to his business because he wants to get carpets from the manufacturers for the lowest price possible and sell it at the highest price he can to maximise the profit for his company. Usually he buys carpet for 5 per square metre and sells it on for 30 per square metre to customers. A good idea for John would also be to negotiate a discount on large orders. By only charging 25 per metre for customers buying over 50 square metres of carpet he creates an incentive for people to buy more and increase his revenue. Word might then spread about this good deal and he could get 100 clients a year placing an order of this size. As he will be buying more carpet from his manufacturers he can then negotiate to buy the carpet at 4 per square metre because he knows the manufacturer is also increasing revenue through this deal.

5 John may also have: - Rented his premises for 80% of the normal price because he s agreed to a long lease - Employed sales staff on lower basic pay but bigger commissions and bonuses - Secured an overdraft facility of 1000 to cover any cash flow problems So, as we can see, effective negotiation has the ability to turn a steady business into a very successful one.

6 What are the risks of negotiation? Two of the main things to be aware of when negotiating are the possibilities of losing a sale because you are asking the other party to give up too much. And the other common problem is business owners giving away too much to secure a deal. Let s factor this back into our example of John s carpet shop: If John tries to charge 35 per square metre of carpet and offers no room for discounting he might not sell anything to customers at all. Equally, if he sells the carpet for 15 per square metre, he only makes 10 on every square metre he sells. This might not be enough to cover the cost of his sales team, his rent and his energy bills which makes it a poor negotiation.

7 How should you go about negotiating deals for a new business? The key to successful negotiation is planning. You need to know what you want to achieve from a discussion with another party and how to achieve it. This means understanding where the other party is coming from, what their priorities are and what they might want from you. Here s a list of some of the things you might consider doing before entering into a negotiation: - Know your bottom line what you are prepared to stretch to in order to get the deal sewn up. - Work out concessions you can afford to make in advance and prioritise to use our carpet example, this could be pushing for a better price from the manufacturer on Persian rugs that sell particularly well and accept a higher price on less popular carpets. - Anticipate questions a particularly useful way of negotiating a sale is to preempt what the other party might say and turn it to your advantage by preparing convincing and persuasive answers.

8 It is important to know the best method for carrying out your negotiation, whether it s face-to- face, over the phone, by letter or over . This could depend on what is the most efficient use of time and money, what is most likely to achieve results, or whatever method you are most comfortable with. It is in your best interest to always put forward your best case for a sale or agreement because you don t know what might happen to your customer in the future. They might love your product or service and find sufficient funds to renew negotiations in the future, or they may need to enter into their own internal discussions before coming back with an answer.

9 What skills do you need to negotiate? Here s a list to start off with: - Listening nobody likes to be in a one-sided conversation. Listening not only makes the other party more amiable during a negotiation, but you can also learn a lot about the demands and pressures they are facing. This makes it easier for you to come to a happy compromise. - Perspective part of setting out your goals before entering into a negotiation is to outline the bigger picture and your overall aims. Keep this in mind at all times and you can avoid getting carried away. - Stay calm Get flustered and you might end up agreeing to something you later regret. Keep focused and you ll be able to negotiate more effectively. - Problem solving There will be hurdles to overcome in any negotiation. Being able to think on your feet and find solutions is an important skill to have.

10 Aiming for a win-win scenario At the end of a negotiation the best result is always one that is mutually beneficial. It s worth thinking about keeping your customer, supplier or member of staff happy as part of your discussions because you may need to deal with them again. A win-win result helps to build lasting, effective and positive business relationships. Leaving the other party feeling short-changed could prevent you from working with them again and it may harm your reputation if they tell other people about a negative experience. When thinking about your bottom line, the concessions to be made on both sides and the level of customer or client service it is worth factoring in. It won t do you any favours if your supplier goes out of business. Remember, agreeing an outcome in principal is not the end of a negotiation. To secure the result you have agreed and are happy with, you ll want to draft a contract that binds both parties to that agreement. This can be completing a cash sale in a store and providing a receipt stating terms of the purchase. Or it might be drawing up a new employment contract for a member of staff. Once you ve negotiated a deal you are happy with, a legally binding document should stop it from slipping through your fingers again.

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