Negotiate Online – How to Make Betters Deals via Email and Video

How to negotiate online

Do I need to change the way I negotiate since Covid-19 is influencing the way we close deals? The answer is, YES! 

The standard but an outdated rule that procurement managers are more likely to maximize their opportunities in face-to-face negotiations? Forget it. 

For most people – the face to face negotiations are the preferred mode of negotiating but since this is not possible, we came up with some guidelines when negotiation via phone, Zoom, MS teams, or any other digital way.

In this article you’ll find:

How to negotiate online in a video call

If you’re negotiating in a video call you have to focus on many details:

1. Prepare a script and use it

A good online-negotiation starts with the preparation of a script. Make sure you include the following tips:
Tip #1: Keep it quick & short. Account managers talk, procurement managers are the ones that ask the questions!
Tip #2: Start the script with your wanted outcome,  write your text afterwards!
Tip #3: Always start your sentence with important Information:  begin with the end in mind.
Tip #4: Be Conversational. & Know Your Speaker.
Tip #5: Finish Strong.

Tip #6: Practice, Polish, and Perfect.

2. Set an agenda

Identify your meeting goals,  list the questions you want to address, identify the purpose of each subject, estimate the amount of time to spend on each topic and make sure to not forget to end each meeting with a short recap!

3. Make sure you plan the right timing & duration of the session and use this to your advantage

Time is a valuable variable in every negotiation: try to determine if the person/company you are negotiating with, is more, or less eager for a deal than you. If more eager? Slower your speed of response. If the other way around: faster your speed of response.

4. Prepare flinches and make sure you use them during the session(s)

The flinch is one of the oldest negotiation tactics, but still one of the least used. A flinch is a bit dramatic visible reaction during negotiations. The objective of a flinch is to make people feel uncomfortable about the offer they just presented. Here is an example of how it works. Examples are: “Is this really what you offer”? Please, act as shocked and surprised as possible. Feel uncomfortable with the concept of flinching? Try and find out the great possible results yourself!

5. If you have a second screen: have your Data-Driven Procurement information on there as back up during the session 

This is one of the most obvious of our tips,  but make sure you have your Data-Driven procurement analyses & your prepared script visible on your second screen. For those who need help to install the second screen on Windows:  Select Start > Settings > System > Display. In the Multiple displays section, select extend from the list to determine how your desktop will display across your screens. Once you’ve selected what you see on your displays, select Keep changes

Editor’s note:

The Data-Driven Procurement Certificate program teaches you the skills needed to drive better, fact-based decisions that ultimately benefit both organizations and its employees. As a data-driven procurement manager, you will have a comprehensive analytics skill set that will enable you to replace gut feeling with crystal clear analysis and help to achieve deals with results you have been dreaming of.

6. Use silence- this has an even  bigger impact online 

Silence is a great tactic to diffuse the emotion and/or people with a temper.  Generally, people are uncomfortable with silence. People feel they have to fill it, and usually what they fill it with weakens their position. Use this knowledge in your advance in negotiations:  most people can’t stand silence and are the first to fill it, very often with a concession.  Silence also allows you thinking time, enables you to gain or regain position, and puts pressure on the other party.

8. Take notes during the session

It always helps to convert your notes into a to-do list. Writing notes helps you remember what you heard, taking notes helps you to concentrate and listen effectively, and selecting what to note down increases your understanding. Share your notes directly áfter the online session via e-mail. Actually, taking notes improves the quality of everything you do! 

9. Make screenshots when slides are presented by the other party: these help your notes become visual

People tend to send slightly different slides after a session, driven by feedback that they received during presenting them. If you see something interesting while someone else is presenting, don’t hesitate, make a screenshot and add this to your notes! 

10. If you would like to record the session, always ask first!

Recording a Microsoft Teams meeting is possible and legal with the appropriate consent. So: ask first!  Businesses that use Microsoft Teams or other video-programs should create a policy to assist their employees in making and using recordings in a way that does not harm professionals unwanted.

11. When negotiating together, make sure you have a contact line open: web WhatsApp or chat

Having a contact-line open during the online-negotiation helps you to achieve your goal easier. Via WhatsApp or chat, you can easily discuss short topics, make in-negotiation decisions and for example, determine who plays bad and who good cop. 

12. In case of sharing your screen 1? Use the present mode to see your notes 

Using Presenter view is a great way to view your presentation with speaker notes on one computer (your laptop, for example), while only the slides themselves appear on the screen that your audience sees (like a larger screen you’re projecting to). Learn more about this here.

13. Pay extra attention when sharing screen 2

In case of sharing your screen 2 you must avoid uncomfortable situations: close your contact line and block incoming pop-ups!

Start using the right preparation to drive better, fact-based, procurement-decisions that ultimately benefit both the organization and your career. As a Data-Driven Procurement Specialist, you have a full analytics skillset that will enable you to drive data-driven decision-making throughout procurement. The waitlist is closing soon.

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How to negotiate online via email

If you’re negotiating via email you have to pay attention to the following:

1. E-mail is perfect for one-way communication

One-way communication flows from a sender to a receiver, but nothing comes directly back in return. Since Covid-19 influences negotiations around the globe, it became common to share proposals via e-mail to set up a video-call to discuss afterward.

2. More time to choose words carefully is an advantage: this can make your proposal look stronger

The same applies to the preparation phase of negotiation, account for e-mailing: the more time you put in your proposal, the better. But be cautious: never lose yourself in persuading the other, keep it businesslike.

3. It is difficult to build a relationship via e-mail: words can easily be misinterpreted by the reader

Make sure you keep the climate positive when emailing back and forth. Of course, your message to achieve your (financial) goals should land, but try to keep a friendly tone in emails. Try to be clear as possible from the start. And: remember to use generally accepted best practices in email etiquette. Never forget the personal touch: share something personal. It’s easy to find common ground when everyone looks for it. Examples include references to the weather, sports, animals, children, and travel.

4. Mails can be easily ‘Forwarded’ or ‘Replied to All’ to the wrong person

Business professionals use e-mail to further the overall negotiating and decision-making process: but there’s no turning back! While most negotiators recognize that e-mail is less successful or more frustrating in certain situations, they use it all. Always think before you send the e-mail: is this information sensitive if the receiver forwards it to other persons? If the answer is yes, don’t send it: call!

5. Attachments in the mail? Check Check Check!

We could not be clearer: always check all your attachments by re-opening them before sending: examples of sent emails containing sensitive information are endless. 

Conclusion: Negotiating during Covid-19

Yes. The worldwide pandemic has impact on everything. Also on your negotiations.

Use the tips in this article to your advantage and close better deals. Whereas many procurement managers think the best deals are made offline, this is definitely not true for everyone.

Want to know more about negotiating online in a data-driven world? Check out our certificate program.

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"Very useful course, many actionable strategies"

Start using the right preparation to drive better, fact-based, procurement-decisions that ultimately benefit both the organization and your career. As a Data-Driven Procurement Specialist, you have a full analytics skillset that will enable you to drive data-driven decision-making throughout procurement.

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