Five Ways to Improve Business Negotiations

Negotiation refers to the process in which bargaining takes place between multiple parties to reach a settlement. In the world of business, the parties negotiating all do so with the intention of “winning.” In other words, negotiators all attempt to reach settlements that are favorable to them.


In many cases negotiations reach an impasse as the parties involved cannot reach an agreement. This is an undesirable scenario, and it should always be avoided if possible. Sometimes a simple shift in strategy can lead to better negotiation outcomes. Below is an outline of five of the best ways in which you can improve your business negotiation process.

Use Multiple Offers to Learn

Offers are usually made during a negotiation, which are either accepted or declined. When an offer is accepted, this is usually an indication that progress is being made. However, it is possible to make progress using declined offers as well by using the offers to learn about offeree.

This is where the practice of using multiple offers comes into play. Try making multiple offers that are all equal or close in value to you. Should they all be declined, you can then find out which of them the rejector found most appealing. By doing this, you gain an understanding of how and where value is perceived by the other party. This allows you to target those areas with subsequent offers.

Avoid Over-Conceding

In some cases, particularly when companies desperately want a deal to happen, they go down the dangerous road of over-conceding. This type of desperation is easily identifiable, and it opens the door for repetitive unreasonable demands.

This happens because once a party realizes that such demands are being met, it then seeks to gain as much as possible in this way. You must be prepared to deny ridiculous demands and walk away if necessary, regardless of how much you want a deal.

Consider Contingent Agreements

One of the most common reasons negotiations fail is that various parties have different expectations of future events. For example, a representative from a construction company may be trying to convince you that his team can get a certain amount of work done in three months. Based on your requirements, this many seem impossible to you. Such scenarios are best handled using contingent agreements.

By creating incentives and penalties, these agreements provide some breathing room as conditional terms are used to modify the contract to the liking of each party involved.

Remain Courteous and Professional

There are some persons who are unnecessarily difficult or verbally abusive during negotiations as they believe such behavior communicates an air of seriousness. However, negotiators are human beings and what is instead achieved is bad rapport.

Negotiations flow better when everyone remains professional and respectful. Doing so goes a long way in reaching a settlement and creating good business relationships.

Prepare Thoroughly

Never forego preparing for a negotiation. Always remember you are trying to get one or more parties to agree to a settlement that is beneficial to you on the basis that it is a mutually beneficial course of action.

To achieve this, you must do the due diligence to properly understand with whom you are about to negotiate. Review websites, articles, and corporate pages of any party involved, and try to find out details about any similar negotiations that they have completed in the past.


Business negotiation is a strategic discipline that requires a strategic approach to be successful. If done correctly, you can get representatives from other businesses to agree to your terms once you can get them to see the value to their organizations. Remember the five strategies outlined above and use them in your negotiations to improve your chances for success.


Five Ways to Improve Business Negotiations

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