31 Aug 2017

After reading a number of articles and books about sales negotiations over the years, as well as several recent conversations about this matter recently, I must admit that I was surprised to hear such varied responses to way people approach negotiations.  I thought that it would be useful for me to put together a list of what I think it takes to successfully negotiate with anyone. 

Within sales (for the record I include recruitment in sales), it is a constant battle to hit targets and secure new business. Naturally, negotiating is involved throughout the process of securing a new order or new client.  I think most people have heard, and would or at least should agree, that the art of negotiation is down to all parties feeling that they have got a good deal from it.  Easier said than done, of course, but it should be a target for all involved.

Recent negotiations with potential clients, estate agents, tradesmen and reading a variety of different books over the years have cemented my beliefs on what it takes to successfully negotiate with anyone, so here they are in all their glory.


We all have external pressures going into negotiations from our bosses, to put food on the table for our family, to not feel as though you have been screwed over or maybe to buy your next Lambo (I am maybe a couple of years away from this one at the moment but it must happen to someone).  Acknowledging the pressures and then putting them to one side is hard but essential in being able to work with all involved in your negotiations.  This part of putting your ego aside is great at settling the other parties involved; if they are the kind of people that would see this as weakness then you should probably not be involved with them in the first place.



Self-explanatory but this short-term approach is a sure-fire way to give yourself a bad name across your industry.  Aside from the reputation factors I have never really gained any enjoyment from trying to push things too far on the other person, I remember buying a car privately when I was younger and I tried too hard to get the sale price lower than what I had said I would be happy to pay beforehand, I literally felt guilty for about a month afterwards.



Years ago, I was told by a tradesman “Never cheapen your trade son, you might think that any money is better than none but you won’t last for long thinking like that”.  This was great advice and I stand by it today, if you give a better service or product then you should stand by what you charge and then make sure you give more than is expected to your client so that they think that they have got an even better deal than before. 


Recently, I met with a potential client and when it came to terms they continually tried to negotiate our price down again and again, in hindsight this is a bad place to start a new relationship where one party feels as though they got the win.  They might have won on the short term but long term it won’t work, it’s just not going to be a profitable relationship for both parties.  Not only did I break this rule on this occasion I broke rule number one by letting my ego get in the way because I wanted to sign up a new client.



Make sure that you don’t jump into a deal without giving all parties time to ensure that they are completely happy with what is on offer.  Car salesman are trained to try and get buyers to sign for the car on the first visit as the chances of the buyers going through with the sale drops as soon as they leave the forecourt.  It’s important to sleep on it and gain some perspective on the deal and whether this will be the right course for you or your company.


Written by Gordon Rennie


Great advice Gordon ! Have been struggling with the same "any money is better than none" issues but it's clear now that if you provide a good service you should stand by what you charge, no matter who the client is, or how badly you want it. Thank you !
Posted on Saturday, September 09, 2017 08:50 by Bogdan

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