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7 Tips for Negotiating in Business

Filling a leadership role in business sometimes involves the need to negotiate. Whether you are hiring a new employee, purchasing from a vendor, or deciding your own salary, there are many situations that require negotiation skills. For many people, negotiation can be uncomfortable.

Negotiation is often the only way to properly state your wants and needs and come to a satisfactory conclusion. However, leaders sometimes struggle to find their voice and properly negotiate due to fears of speaking up or seeming pushy. Keep reading to learn valuable negotiation tips to help your business.

1. State what you want

Nobody can read your mind. There is no way for someone to know what you want or need unless you let them know. The first step to successfully negotiating is to be clear on what you want.

2. Don’t accept “no”

Negotiating is often compared to being pushy or aggressive, but these comparisons are not accurate. While we may all know someone who pushes a little too hard to get their way, most negotiations are professional compromises to make both parties happy. You can be assertive by refusing to accept a “no” answer. It is possible to respect others while advocating for what you want.

3. Practice active listening

Listening is one of the most powerful tools a negotiator can use. Ask open-ended questions to keep the other negotiator talking for most of the time. Chances are, they will provide you with the information you need as they continue to talk. You will also get a better understanding of their perspective and what they need to get out of a potential deal to consider it successful.

4. Research before hand

You cannot go into a salary negotiation without knowing the average salary for your position. Also, you cannot negotiate a contract without understanding the relevant components. There is no shortcut on this one. Successful negotiation requires research, and it is important to do your homework before negotiating.

5. There is no rush

When negotiations get heated or involve large sums of money, it can be easy to feel pressured. You may be antsy for a positive outcome but rushing things will not work in your favor. Patience can encourage the other negotiator to be more flexible. They may offer incentives or additional information to keep you from walking away.

6. Be prepared to walk away

Not everything can be solved in one sitting. Negotiations do not have to be wrapped up neatly in order to be considered successful. Walking away from a bad deal is sometimes the best thing you can do for your business. If you are clear about your wants and needs, but cannot come to a satisfactory compromise, it is best to walk away. You may be surprised when something better comes along later.

7. Set positive expectations

Going into a negotiation with a sense of dread or impending doom is just setting yourself up to fail. While the practice may be uncomfortable for some, it is important to expect good results. These expectations will bleed over into your confidence and improve your ability to remain assertive. Optimism can serve as a self-fulfilling prophecy to help you get what you want.


Negotiating is not easy. It requires a positive approach and the ability to be assertive. For business leaders, there may be no way to avoid negotiations in your career. Instead of shying away from these opportunities, meet them head on. The more you practice and develop your own negotiation style, the more success you will have along the way.

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