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Sealing the Deal: 5 Small Business Negotiation Strategies

Sealing the Deal: 5 Small Business Negotiation Strategies

Here at Keye Strategies, we understand that running a small business can be even more difficult than running a major corporation. Oftentimes, your customers hold you to a higher standard than any other business model. Thus, your small business negotiation strategy must be well-prepared and help you maintain the image that you’ve curated for your customers. Presented below are 5 small business negotiation strategies that can help you seal the deal and take your business beyond the expected:

Remain solution-oriented

Negotiation can seem like a battle that you have to win, but that attitude puts everyone on the defensive. While it’s all well and good to appear self-assured about what you want, the key to great negotiation comes from open-mindedness. Be solution-oriented in creating ways in which what the other sides wants is obtainable, while also making sure that you’re getting what you need. While that may sound like we’re just defining negotiation, it’s all too common for people to sit down to meet and forget that the other side has much the same motivations that you do, which brings us to our next tip…

Remember that the other side are people, too.

Entering a negotiation deal with a combative attitude is the best way to get the other side defensive and unwilling to bend. Entering a deal with an attitude that says, “Hey, we’re both here for the same things” is a much better strategy. A tough negotiation can feel like you’re an unstoppable force working against an immovable object. Stop, offer to spring for coffee for everyone, and share a few minutes where business talk is not the center of conversation. It can go far in helping you see the humanity of the other side of the table.

Give them a very exclusive offer.

This can work either way. If you know that your buyer is shopping bids from several different companies, offer them exclusive access to a price that will no longer be available once the meeting is over. While it may be counterintuitive, it’s often enough to get them to buy.

Present options.

Package options are one of the best ways to assure that everyone is getting what they want. Create three tiers of product or service- The first one is an  undercut price that includes less product, shorter warranties, or small services. The next tier is your standard package, perhaps offered with a small discount. Finally, offer a premium package at a higher price. It gives your buyer something to consider, while also creating a natural comparison scenario, where they are forced to decide what they really NEED and what they’d just like to have.

Be cordial, but don’t show all your cards.

One of the worst things that you can do is ever imply that you really need the sale. It puts you in a position of vulnerability that allows the other party to assume you’ll take a lower price just to get the cash in hand. Small businesses struggle, especially in the first few years. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, it’s something to learn and grow from. But, that information, under no circumstances needs to be shared with the other party. When there’s a lull in negotiation, don’t talk shop. Tell personal anecdotes or stories that create a feeling of cordiality and togetherness.

We hope that these negotiation strategies help you find success in your small business!


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Julie Keyes
Julie Keyes

Founder & Owner at KeyeStrategies, LLC

Julie is a Certified Exit Planning Adviser and Value Growth Advisor with 30+ years of experience. She works with business owners who seek to understand and maximize their exit and critical transition options.