With Labor Day behind us, and our white clothes tucked away for another summer, it might also be time to stop laboring so much over your negotiations and achieve your objectives efficiently.
Keep in mind, what you do at the very beginning of a negotiation may be the most impactful to your outcome. I won’t belabor (pun intended) this point too much, but failing to prepare, as the adage goes, is preparing to fail.
Your plan doesn’t have to be elaborate. You can start with just writing down what you want to accomplish. List the issues and what you must address to get the deal done. You should also think about what the other side wants to accomplish. This will give you a more well-rounded view of your negotiation. If you’re not planning your negotiation, don’t be surprised when you labor through it, and it doesn’t go the way you want, or it’s harder than you expected.
The next part to think about is managing the other side’s expectations. In every negotiation, you typically have a sense of what you can and can’t do before you even sit down. It might be strategically helpful to share with the other side some of those boundaries. This can often help expedite the negotiation and ensure that it goes the direction you want it to.
Boundaries are not the only expectations that you could share. There might also be areas that need to be avoided or issues that, if included, are non-negotiables or even deal killers. These may be limitations on payment terms, drivers of pricing, or volume commitments. Better to get this kind of news out early so that you don’t waste your time crafting a deal that can’t be agreed to.
Structuring expectations in this manner expedites conversations and gets to the root of what needs to be negotiated. It can also help prevent needless discussions around areas that can derail a deal. All of which can help you labor more efficiently at the negotiating table.
One more thing: Take copious notes, regularly summarizing what’s been discussed and highlighting the progress you’ve made. This ensures that all salient points are accounted for and not forgotten. It prevents misunderstandings and having to rehash conversations that already took place. All of which saves time and reduces the effort you spend on the negotiation. Summaries also give a sense of progress and momentum, keeping both sides of the table engaged in the negotiation and moving toward a resolution.
So, with a little preparation, smart structuring of expectations, and diligent summarizing throughout, you can take a lot of labor out of your negotiations and make them go more smoothly. Failure to take these steps may result in your negotiation being as awkward as wearing white after Labor Day. And no one wants that.
We Can Help You Negotiate More Efficiently.
Meeting with Scotwork about your specific deals will save you time and maximize your return. Partner with one of our advisers to make your next negotiation your best negotiation.