Ten Tips for Achieving Success at the Negotiation Table
1. Before you go to the negotiations table, know the background of the person with whom you will be negotiating. Rule of thumb is not to negotiate with anyone who is not qualified to negotiate. Know how your negotiator behaves at the negotiating table based on past deals. Don't believe everything you see and hear. Get the habit of taking everything with a pinch of salt.

2. Learn to play the game. Never give your bottom line offer right at the beginning of negotiations. Everybody wants his piece of the cake. Unless he gets it, he will go with competition. Keep your margins in mind and start with the lowest offer and slowly go up; but don't shoot beyond the margins you have set for yourself. Be stubborn; it pays dividends.

3. Leave room for meeting the genuine demands of the customer. That is why you should first sell and then negotiate. While selling you can ask questions and validate benefits the customer is looking for. During negotiations, the customer tries to hide what he exactly desires, making it difficult to gauge his expectations. The stance you have to take during negotiations depends mostly on the customer and the situation in which you are negotiating.

4. Before entering into negotiations, you must be clear about what you want from the deal. How much do you want to make? What is the minimum you can accept without making any loss? Take into consideration all aspects of the deal, such as intellectual property rights, copyrights, trademarks or patents and decide which of these you are willing to give up.

5. Be careful when you consider a formal offer. Whether the initial offer is made in person or it is faxed to you, don't be in a hurry. Don't hesitate to tell the client that you need time to study the offer before taking any decision. Tell him candidly that you will get back to him after studying the offer carefully.

6. Don't negotiate on price. Negotiate on technical aspects of the deal, performance, and operational efficiencies that give you the needed leverage to avoid any discussion based on price.

7. Keeping in mind the client's background, the size of the potential deal or contract, the possibility of low balling tactics of the client, delay tactics the client adopts to respond to your enquiries, counter offers on price, demand for controlling rights and such other aspects, make your ground preparation foolproof to avoid regrets later.

8. Treat your client with respect and dignity. Negotiate only on things and services you offer, not personal matters. At no stage you should allow negotiations to become personal in nature. This rule should be kept in mind even when you are negotiating with someone with whom you may be having a personal relationship. Learn the art of keeping business away from personal relationship. Don't hesitate to walk away from the negotiation table when the discussions become personal.

9. Don't promise anything in writing unless you are ready to fulfill them. When once anything is put on paper it becomes the plank of discussion either for you or the client. This becomes critical when you are dealing with a professional negotiator who will use anything that is in writing to his advantage.

Learn when to walk away from the negotiations table and be confident doing so. This tactic should be used to put accountability in place.
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