Sometimes, to get what you want, you need to negotiate. This is especially true in the business world, when dealing with staff, clients, vendors and the like.
"Good negotiation approaches and skills are key to growing a business and increasing its value, yet few companies place much emphasis on it, losing considerable dollars each year," said Daniel Duty, co-founder and CEO of Conlego.
To run a successful company, you must be comfortable with comprising, but you also need to tactfully fight for what you want. The first and foremost step, said Duty, is to be as prepared as you can.
There is 20 to 80 percent greater savings or other value for those who are prepared, said Duty. "Unfortunately, many business people spend little time preparing for their negotiations, believing they already know what is possible and what the other side is willing to do."
Duty recommends asking yourself what you hope to achieve, what your priorities are, what your solutions are (specific to each company you collaborate with), what your backup plan is and how important your relationship is to the other party. This allows you to navigate the waters ahead of time, ensuring you're ready should things get rocky.
Collaborate or compete?
Depending on your relationship with the other party, you can either be more collaborative or more competitive. The former is typically the better route. Research the company's specifics as much as your own so that you can factor them into your deal, said Duty.
"Information is power," he said. "The more information you have about another company and the person negotiating on their behalf, the more leverage you will have in the negotiation."
However, your focus should not be to profit at the expense of the other party. In collaborative negotiation, both parties should benefit equally.
"Business is about creating value – for shareholders, customers, employees and other stakeholders," said Duty. "By engaging in more collaborative forms of negotiation, they can create value for these groups instead of dividing value, which happens in more competitive forms of negotiation."
Duty recommends initiating a healthy agreement by discussing goals, needs and interests up front.
"These are the 'why's' behind the positions we take," he said. "We exchange information to get our respective priority needs on the table, then engage in a collaborative discussion to determine how we might solve for each other's needs."
Don't be afraid to ask for what you really want, he added. It's a give-and-take compromise, and both sides should feel comfortable discussing their requests.