The beauty industry is a vicious, cutthroat space. New companies and products seem to pop up faster than one can blink. In a competitive industry, you need a variety of skills to hold your own and get ahead. One powerful skill you can master is the ability to negotiate.
Negotiating is not for the faint of heart. It can at times take a thick skin and a heavy dose of grit to sit across from another person and try to persuade them.
Whether you’re looking to expand your company or simply negotiate the best possible deals on supplies, here are the golden rules The Negotiation Experts follow to get the ball where they want it to go.
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Be clear on what you want
As a general rule, it is best to have rock-solid clarity about what you want before you set foot in a negotiation. If you dive in blindly, you could get stuck with less than you deserve. When you know what you are chasing after, it can help you stay focused and avoid making concessions that degrade the value of the deal.
For example, let’s say you’re trying to source sequins for high-end tops by Mardi Gras. Knowing the different types of sequins available in the market and the average prices can help make sure you are not buying junk at an attractive rate. There are a few different ways to go about pinpointing what you want. You could:
- Brainstorm potential outcomes that would be acceptable to you. For instance, if you can’t get the sequins you want at the price you’ve determined, how much more can you pay?Is there an alternative option you could go for, for instance, different designs?
- Ask yourself what your ideal outcome would be, and then work backward from there. For example, if you determine you can only pay X for the sequins, what could you offer the supplier to get them to agree. Could you pick them up yourself or can you throw in another purchase to sweeten the deal?
A good rule of thumb is to match your ambition to the current market. Spending some time researching the market can go a long way. If your goals are too lofty compared to what’s already out there, you’re likely to walk away disappointed. But if you’re aiming too low, you are unlikely to get enough value.
Know your BATNA
BATNA stands for Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement. In other words, what’s the best thing that could happen if you don’t reach an agreement? Your BATNA can help you assess whether a particular agreement is worth chasing. It can also help you gauge your negotiating power. If your BATNA is strong, then you have more room to maneuver.
The Negotiation Experts say there are a few different ways to determine your BATNA. One is to ask yourself what is the worst thing that could happen if you don’t reach an agreement. Another is to identify all the possible outcomes and then rank them from best to worst.
Once you know your BATNA, you can use it as a guiding light during the meeting. If the other side is offering something close to your BATNA, then it might not be worth agreeing to their terms. On the other hand, if the offer is miles removed below your BATNA, then you might get a better deal by holding out.
We all know that communication is key in any negotiation. But what is the best way to communicate? Is it better to talk or to listen? While many may think that great negotiators are those who talk the most, the opposite is true. Those who’ve truly mastered the art of negotiating, listen more than they talk. When you are talking, you are not learning anything new about the other person or the situation.
However, when you are listening, you can gather important information that can help you reach a successful outcome. For instance, let’s say you are trying to join a beauty company as a supplier after hearing they chucked their last supplier to the curb. By listening attentively, you could learn why the other supplier got let go and what you could do to make your offer more attractive.
Listening also shows that you respect the other person and are interested in what they have to say. This can help create a more positive atmosphere at the negotiation table and make it more likely that the other person will be open to your suggestions.
Some of the tips experts in negotiation techniques share include the following:
- Cut out all distractions and give the speaker your full attention.
- Pay attention to body language. It is a great way to extract valuable insights into someone’s true feelings and intentions.
- Repeat back what you’ve heard to ensure that you have understood the other party correctly.
- Avoid jumping to conclusions. Instead, ask questions to clarify understanding.
Negotiations can be frustrating. Everyone wants to get the best deal possible, and it can be tempting to rush through the process to get it over with. However, without patience, it is easy to rush into a negotiation without taking the time to fully understand the details. This can lead to you being shackled with an outcome that is less than favorable.
Impatience can also send the wrong signal. You could come across as disinterested, uncaring, or evasive. When this happens, the other person could become more entrenched in their position and less likely to make concessions. So, take a deep breath and try to relax. Patience allows you to build relationships with those you’re meeting with. In business, it is common to deal with the same people more than once. Building strong and positive relationships can prove invaluable down the road.