Closing A Deal? Eight Negotiation Tactics To Ensure A Positive Outcome

When you’ve spent tens or hundreds of hours preparing for a deal, there’s a distinct sense of relief when it gets to the point of closing. Yet, even in these situations, the deal still can go sideways if not handled carefully.

Using the wrong negotiation tactic here could mean all your hard work goes down the drain or the deal remains open. So how can a professional ensure that the deal gets closed? To help, eight members of Young Entrepreneur Council discuss negotiation tactics that have been instrumental for closing deals in their own experiences and why they worked so well.

1. Understand Your Counterpart

A winning negotiation tactic many entrepreneurs use is simply understanding their counterpart. If you know what your investor or other party is looking for, it’s easier to cater to that need and present it through the lens of your company. You can exemplify all the ways your company can meet their standards as well as how much you’re aware of what they need. The more informed you are, the better the results will be. Take the time to perform your research and figure out what they want and how your company can give it to them. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

2. Let Your Client Talk

Oftentimes, we abide by the practice of “always be closing.” However, you have to also allow your client to open up about the problems they encounter and the particular things that they are looking for. The ability to listen is often overlooked because of the numerous tactics that involve a lot of show and tell. It could be hard to stop yourself from speaking sometimes when you want to counter an objection, but just let it ride out and prepare a solution, or even better, be prepared for the objections in advance. Research your client’s portfolio. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

3. Focus On Their Motivations

If you’re at the closing stage, you’ve already fought half the battle. You only got this far because the other side sees the value in what you have to offer. So what’s keeping them from signing on the dotted line? It could be a lot of things, from lingering concerns about price point to internal pushback from your prospect’s own team. But no matter the obstacle, you can usually get to the finish line by continuously steering the conversation back to your buyer’s motivations for considering your offering in the first place. People get cold feet; they start to second-guess themselves. But if you consistently—and gently—remind the buyer why they saw your value in the first place, you’ll keep them focused on the benefits they’ll reap once they close. And that’s a powerful motivator. – Miles Jennings,

4. Double Down On Your Case Studies

People love stories. It’s how they wrap their head around a concept and how they process how the future relationship will go with you. In negotiations, I like to be descriptive in the steps and process to working together, and how it could work for the prospect. This goes both ways—the more you can describe a situation that you want, and a situation you want to avoid, the more vivid that picture gets. Know your value. By using top case studies from your previous work, this helps the other side recognize your value, as well. A negotiation is a collaborative effort, and you want expectations to be clear and confident. – Kaitlyn Witman, Rainfactory

5. Try To Add Urgency Triggers

You can offer a steeper discount if they sign today, or you can run limited-time offers. The human brain is a natural procrastinator, so you need to instill urgency into the deal to get immediate action. Creating urgency is also a simple persuasion tactic and not manipulative, which is important to note in sales. We use different parts of our brain to process a limited-time offer, and they make decisions for us that are the most obvious and the least risky. While using an urgency trigger may not work all the time, it is much better tactically than trying anything in the realm of manipulation, which can ruin relationships after the fact. – Matthew Capala, Alphametic

6. De-Risk The Deal

Find a simple solution to make the deal a no-brainer for the counterparty. This could be easy termination notice or it could be performance-based compensation, which minimizes cash upfront. While some folks think cost alone is the biggest determinant of a deal, it’s really just figuring out a way in which everyone can eliminate the downside risks so that we don’t trigger any loss aversion inclinations that could sabotage the deal. – Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep Mattress

7. Bring In A Mediator

Bring in a mediator whom you trust and whom the other party should have some trust in as well. Neutrality is key. That way, both parties can discuss their “bottom lines,” so to speak, with the mediator in a private fashion and you’re therefore more likely to be able to come to an agreement. You might not always get exactly what you want, but you could get more of it through this strategy. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

8. Offer To Walk Away

People get caught up in the game of negotiating and convince themselves that only one side is going to win. Both parties win in a good deal though, so structure them that way. Find out what the other side wants and why they do. Deal making should be a collaborative exercise. If the group you are negotiating with starts making it into a competition where it is going to hurt your interests, kindly offer—if they’d like for you to—to pack up with no hard feelings. This might seem counterintuitive if you really want it, but I find it helps shift the focus, away from whatever small term you might have been getting competitive over and onto closing. On the other hand, if the deal dissolves because of that, it was probably going to close anyway. – Tony Scherba, Yeti

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