As a contract lawyer, I deal with contract negotiations on a daily basis and have learned a lot in the process over the past 15 years. Here are a few quick tips:
Be prepared Before you start a negotiation, prepare thoroughly for the conversation. Find out about the company and the person you will be negotiating with. Think about your goals and strategies and set realistic expectations.
Listen more than you speak In a successful negotiation, it is important to be a good listener. Listen carefully to understand what the other negotiator is saying. In this way, you can respond to each other’s needs and interests and find a solution that is acceptable to both parties.
Show confidence In a negotiation, it is important to exude confidence. If you appear uncertain or have doubts, the other negotiator will try to take advantage of you. Show confidence by appearing confident and making it clear what you want.
Take time to reflect on your position Before you begin a negotiation session, take time to reflect on your position. If you know what is important to you and in what way you can achieve it, you will be much better equipped for the negotiation meeting and can achieve better results.
Be prepared to compromise In a successful negotiation, it is important to be willing to compromise. Nobody gets everything they want, so both sides have to be willing to make trade-offs. Find out which points are most important to the other person and which points are most important to you. Then you can find compromises that are acceptable to both sides.
Don’t put pressure on yourself In a negotiation, don’t put pressure on yourself or the other person. When someone is put under pressure, they will usually try to withstand the pressure or even put more pressure on them. Don’t put pressure on yourself or the other person and let things be negotiated in peace.
Stay calm and composed In a negotiation, it is important to stay calm and composed. Don’t get caught up in emotional reactions and keep a cool head. If you stay calm, you can think logically and decide what is best for you.
Remain polite and respectful In a successful negotiation, it is important to remain polite and respectful. Do not insult or threaten the other person and follow the rules of decorum. When things get emotional or the negotiation becomes difficult, it is even more important to remain polite and maintain the other person’s respect.
Find the right time to talk When is the right time to talk? In a successful negotiation, it is important to find the right time to talk.
Open questions Address open questions and make inquiries. Open-ended questions help you find out more about your opponent’s position and also clarify where your own areas of interest lie. However, always make sure that these questions are asked in a fair manner and do not put any negotiating partner on the defensive or make them anxious.
Offtopic topics Avoid negotiating or arguing about things that have nothing to do with the contract and make sure that every point of the contract is discussed directly. Avoid discussing topics outside of the contract at all costs as this discussion wastes time and distracts from the topic at hand.
Preparation Even though contract negotiations are often stressful and exhausting, you should definitely take the time to prepare thoroughly.
Interest of the other party Check exactly which goals the contracting party has and whether they match yours. Even if it is sometimes difficult to talk openly about our goals, we should be aware of what we want to achieve – otherwise negotiations often end in failure!
Realistic goals If you want to enter into a contract that specifies certain terms, make sure they are actually achievable. It’s better to be realistic than disappointed!
Details A good contractor pays attention to all the details and always tries to arrange everything down to the smallest detail. Don’t make it so easy for him! When it comes to something important, you should look carefully and check if everything is correct – otherwise it could have unpleasant consequences!
Don’t regulate too much Don’t try to regulate too much at once! It is usually better to address only one or two aspects per negotiation (day). Instead, think about what matters most (or set priorities) – and try to achieve that goal first!
By the way:
It is important that you know the contractor and their typical customers before you begin contract negotiations. Get an idea of the company and the industry in which it operates. If possible, also try to find out how successful negotiations have been in the past. This information will help you gain better insight into the contractor’s mindset. Keep the context in mind.