Negotiating and closing business deals

Negotiators often worry that they will concede too much as the clock runs. But remember that the other side is equally affected by the deadline. Consequently, deadlines can spur concessions and creative thinking from both sides, University of California at Berkeley professor Don A. Moore has found in his research. If you anticipate that a more attractive offer from a competitor may be an obstacle to closing the deal, you might attempt a shut-down move, suggests Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School professor Guhan Subramanian.

For example, you might ask the other side for a limited, exclusive negotiating period such as one week during which time they would agree not to entertain offers from your competitors.

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To persuade the other party to this type of shut-down move described as such because it cuts off competition on your side of the table , elaborate on the unique, non-monetary advantages you can bring them, such as access to valued networks or a stellar PR team. It may sound counterintuitive, but adjourning negotiations until the following day, week, or even longer may assist you in closing a negotiation faster. Taking a break gives you time and space to unwind from the often tense and stressful atmosphere of business negotiations.

Sometimes negotiations get stalled because one or both parties are reluctant to put their best offer on the table. If so, you might suggest enlisting a trusted, neutral third party. In private meetings with the third party, each side could disclose its bottom line; the third part could then tell you if a zone of possible agreement, or ZOPA, exists. If not, it is probably time to move on.

Checklist for Negotiating a Business Deal

If you or your team is having difficult closing a business deal, consider bringing in replacements. A new team on one or both sides may be able to look at the negotiation with fresh eyes, free of any emotional baggage or personality clashes that could be holding you back. Being prepared entails a whole host of things you may need to do, such as:.

After all, even after the negotiations are concluded, you may want to do business with this person again, or the transaction may require ongoing involvement with the representative of the other side. Establishing a good long-term relationship should be one of the goals in the negotiation. Understanding the deal dynamics is crucial in any negotiation. An absolutely fundamental principle of almost any negotiation is that you or your lawyers should prepare the first draft of the proposed contract.


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Balance is key here. But the buyer kept coming up with new unreasonable demands, and the CEO kept giving into those demands in the hopes of getting to a closing. I then took over the negotiations and told the buyer that we were no longer interested in the terms they had been proposing, and we were walking away unless the price and deal terms got much better for us. By that time, the buyer itself had expended a great deal of legal fees and management time to get to a deal, and they panicked at the prospect of losing the deal. So they conceded to virtually every point I wanted, including an increased purchase price, and we closed the deal in 45 days.

So the lesson was that continually conceding points while not getting anything in return can lead to the exact opposite of what you are hoping for. You have to understand that the longer a deal takes to get completed, the more likely that something will occur to derail it. So be prompt at responding, get your lawyer to turn documents around quickly, and keep the deal momentum moving.


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  5. Understand when time is on your side and when time could be your real enemy. In many situations you want to have competitive alternatives.

    Negotiation Training: 5 steps to close the best deals - Procurement Academy

    Similarly, if you are looking to buy a product, lease office space, or acquire a loan for your business, you will often be better off if you have alternatives—and the other party knows it has viable competitors. By negotiating simultaneously with two or more parties, you can often obtain better pricing or better contractual terms.

    You want to avoid getting stuck on a seemingly intractable issue. You want to understand what kind of authority the other person that you are negotiating with has. Is he or she the ultimate decision-maker?

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    Ask the right questions. If so, you might suggest enlisting a trusted, neutral third party. In private meetings with the third party, each side could disclose its bottom line; the third part could then tell you if a zone of possible agreement, or ZOPA, exists.

    If not, it is probably time to move on.

    Three negotiating tips for real estate deals

    If you or your team is having difficult closing a business deal, consider bringing in replacements. A new team on one or both sides may be able to look at the negotiation with fresh eyes, free of any emotional baggage or personality clashes that could be holding you back. For example, if you believe a remodeler will do a great job on your house but that his timeline is too ambitious, suggest putting in place a penalty for late completion or, alternatively, a bonus for early or on-time completion. If he really thinks he can meet his deadline, he should be happy to accept the contingency.

    Closing a business deal is a complex process—and, notably, not always the best option. By following our guidelines, you will be better equipped to identify when a deal is within reach as well as when you should explore other opportunities. Have any of these tips helped you close a deal? Share your story in the comments. Click here to cancel reply. Name required. Email will not be published required. ET any business day or email hni law.