Understanding Your Counterparty: What to Do Before and During Negotiations

Offer Valid: 03/16/2022 - 04/30/2024

Knowledge is one of the most important assets you can bring to a negotiation. If you understand your own position and the value you bring to the table, you have a much easier time arguing your case. Similarly, knowing what your counterparty expects and needs can help you understand why they aren't accepting your initial offer, allowing you to come up with workable solutions. 

Sales contract negotiations provide two essential opportunities for gathering useful information. The first is researching the counterparty before negotiations begin, and the second is listening carefully while they are underway. 

Before the Negotiation

Before starting a contract negotiation, it helps to know as much as possible about the other party. You can review their social media presence, talk to someone who's negotiated with them before, ask your own marketing team for any information they've gathered, or communicate with the person directly. 

Use the information you gather to infer their goals. They've chosen to negotiate with you for a reason. What can you offer them? What are some of their possible interests, and do any of those interests meet or conflict with your own? What alternative options do they have if your negotiations break down? What arguments might they employ during the negotiation? It's much easier to convince your counterparty that you're able to meet their needs if you've taken the time to understand those needs beforehand.

During the Negotiation

Many negotiations start with informal talks or introductions. This is a valuable chance to build rapport with your counterparty and get a sense of who they are as a person. Someone who has a family, for example, may appreciate offers that allow them more time at home. 

Ask them about their needs and concerns, and carefully listen to their answers. If they refuse an offer, ask why with a genuine interest in understanding their position. Information may come up during the negotiation that you weren't able to access in your previous research. Use that information to offer solutions and counterarguments that appeal to their specific interests.

Also, understand that you're giving them information about you throughout the negotiation. Be honest about your goals and be professional in your presentation. Make contract presentation a particular priority. A great-looking contract tells your counterparty you're someone who knows what you're doing and is willing to put in extra effort for a better result. You can easily achieve this by researching proper contract formatting, asking other people to look over the contract before you send it, and being sure to convert JPG to PDF online to have an easily accessible file to share.

Consider the Details

The more insight you gain into your counterparties' interests, the better your chances of convincing them you're the person to meet those needs. Taking the time to research your counterparty before negotiations and listening to them at the table are the best ways to create effective arguments and tempting offers. 

A social network of other local business professionals can provide you with crucial information about future counterparties.

To benefit from this knowledge, consider joining your local chamber of commerce today. 


This Hot Deal is promoted by Greater Franklin County Chamber of Commerce.