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Written by Marijn Overvest | Reviewed by Sjoerd Goedhart | Fact Checked by Ruud Emonds | Our editorial policy

Negotiation Preparation — 11 Steps For A Powerful Negotiation

Key take-aways

  • Efficient research is vital for successful negotiation. Prepare by understanding your goals and the key information needed.
  • Team negotiations often yield better results as leveraging diverse perspectives reduces pressure.
  • Approach negotiations with a win-win attitude, promoting confidence and better performance.

Does the word ‘negotiation preparation’ intimidate you? If your answer is YES, then you should stop reading this article and go back to our previous ones so you can learn more about negotiation preparation and research.

For this article, we are going to introduce 11 steps on how to prepare yourself for negotiation. These steps are already found in one or two of our recent articles here on the site, but they will be explained further. 

After reading this article, you should be preparing negotiations like how a master chef prepares the dishes that he/she is about to cook.

Whatis Negotiation?

Before you prepare for a negotiation, you must know first what negotiation is. Negotiation is a process where parties resolve an issue or arrive at a better outcome through concession.

Negotiation is a way to avoid argument and to align the interests of both parties that will make them satisfied. 

Negotiation is common in our day-to-day lives. When you go to the market to purchase something, you negotiate with the seller to get the best price for the item. 

How to Preparefor a Negotiation

As stated, most of the steps included in this prepare negotiation article are already present in this article. If you haven’t read those articles, then we suggest that you go back and read them again. Otherwise, you can also enroll in our Negotiation Course For Procurement Professionals to learn more about these amazing negotiation techniques.

Indeed, you’ve seen some of these prepare negotiation strategies and techniques in several procurement or negotiation websites. But it’s only here in Procurement Tactics where we embody these negotiation tactics. What we mean by this is that we practice what we preach; this is why we can explain each of the following negotiation tactics in great detail:

1. Do your Research First

Before your negotiation, it’s important to plan. You certainly don’t want to start your negotiations without doing your research first. It’d be like going to war while forgetting your gun. You are going to get shot at and you can’t retaliate at all.

Key things you should have a clear answer to:

  • Are you in a win-win or win-lose situation?
  • What is your goal?
  • What is your position? What is their position?
  • What are your interests? And theirs?
  • What is the best possible outcome?
  • What would be a fair deal?
  • What is your minimum acceptable deal?

Does the article above sound familiar? It should be because the key points were taken from one of our articles on negotiation principles. Research is very important, especially when it comes to negotiations that tackle the procurement process.

2. Negotiate with a Team

When comparing between negotiation on your own or with a team, team negotiations are shown to have better impact and better results. This is because of the old saying where “two heads are always better than one.” Apart from that, you have more opinions regarding topics that may come out during the negotiations themselves.

The following tips came from the original article “ Negotiation Team – 5 Powerful Tips for a Great Deal.” 

So here are some of the reasons why it’s always a good move to negotiate together with a team:

  • In general, two heads know more than one
  • Teams are better at making accurate judgments
  • Teams feel less pressured and more powerful

In many scenarios, a team will outperform a solo negotiator. This can be attributed to several factors:

  • High ambitions that teams set for themselves
  • A heightened sense of competition
  • The tendency to challenge the view of the team members

3. Approach with a Win-Win Attitude

Negotiations should always be approached with a win-win attitude. If you don’t, you are doomed to fail from the start. Always keep in mind how to best approach discussions with your eye on the prize at all times. Not only are you going to perform at your best during negotiations, you will also be seen as a confident negotiator.

4. Prepare and Analyze your BATNA

During negotiations, your BATNA is your secret weapon. It is both your trump card and your escape plan, should negotiations become sour at one point and you are no longer sure if the outcome of the negotiations will still be optimal for you. Of course, you also need to analyze your BATNA. You need to make sure that it’s an optimal alternative. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting a short-handed deal in the end.

5. Learn when to say No

Not all negotiations will always go your way. There will come a time where you need to understand that there is no point in continuing negotiations. If ever that time comes, you need to say no and leave at once.

6. Always Anticipate Concessions

Concessions are always a must during negotiations. Be prepared to have a number of concessions based on the information you got from the other party. Even during the start of the negotiations, if you’ve determined important information, such as the amount the other party is offering, how much time they have for negotiations, and others, you need to come up with your concessions on the spot!

7. Separate People from the Problem

During negotiations, never target the negotiator or any member of the other party’s negotiating team. It’s an unspoken rule among negotiators. Never put your emotions above what is being discussed on the negotiation table. At the same time, leave all emotional problems during negotiations. 

8. Active Listening is a Must

Among professional negotiators, active listening is a must. How are you able to understand information if you don’t have any intention of listening in the first place? That’s why active listening is one of the most important skills of a negotiator!

9. Set Clear Objectives from the Start

This should be achieved before the start of the negotiations itself. Set clear objectives on what you want from the negotiations. There should be no beating around the bush; state exactly what you want and design a plan on how to get it.

10. Learn to Empathize

What separates the professionals from the pretentious negotiators? The answer is quite simple; professional negotiators know when to empathize with the other party while the pretentious ones are always on the go, trying to get what they want and not caring that they are already looked at with scorn by the other party! 

11. Remember to Build Rapport

Rapport is very important too during negotiations. How on earth are you going to make everyone comfortable during the discussions if the negotiators themselves keep acting like drill sergeants in an army camp? Just because you are always setting your goals as a priority is no reason to continue acting all strict and grumpy during negotiations. The other party will also feel more comfortable talking with you and your negotiation team. 

Remember, these tips are included in our Negotiation Course For Procurement Professionals. Feel free to check out our website at www.procurementtactics.com  for more information!

Conclusion

In conclusion, mastering negotiation preparation is a crucial skill for achieving successful outcomes in any business deal. This article provides an insightful guide comprising 11 essential steps to enhance your negotiation preparation process.

From conducting thorough research and negotiating with a team to adopting a win-win attitude and analyzing your BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement), these steps offer a comprehensive approach to effective negotiation planning.

The article emphasizes the importance of anticipating concessions, separating people from the problem, and active listening as key components of successful negotiations. Additionally, it underscores the significance of setting clear objectives, empathizing with the other party, and building rapport to create a conducive negotiation environment.

Whether you’re a seasoned negotiator or just beginning your journey, these steps, detailed in the Negotiation Course For Procurement Professionals, serve as a valuable resource for refining your negotiation skills and achieving favorable outcomes.

Frequentlyasked questions

How to prepare for a negotiation?

For you to prepare for your upcoming negotiation, you must do the most important thing which is to collect and gather information. By gathering information about the other party, you will be able to come up with a good plan or strategy.

Why is BATNA important?

BATNA is very important in negotiation as you can use it as your secret weapon in negotiation. The stronger your BATNA is, the more you can walk away from unsatisfactory negotiation.

What should I do when the negotiations do not go the way I expected?

It is normal for negotiations to not go the way you expected even if you have a strong plan. When this happens, you can ask the other party if they are willing to compromise. If not, then it is the signal for you to walk away from the negotiation.

About the author

My name is Marijn Overvest, I’m the founder of Procurement Tactics. I have a deep passion for procurement, and I’ve upskilled over 200 procurement teams from all over the world. When I’m not working, I love running and cycling.

Marijn Overvest Procurement Tactics