Getting what you want takes more than desire; it requires skill.
As with any craft, the art of negotiation emerges through practice—learning not just from wins, but losses.
In this post, we’ll highlight time-tested strategies for negotiation that serve all who grasp them, whether it’s about solving disputes or reaching agreements.
Table of Contents
- 6 Strategies for Negotiation
- Negotiation Strategies Examples
- Key Takeaways
- Frequently Asked Questions
6 Strategies for Negotiation
Whether selling wares or services, trading deals large and small, negotiation defines the commerce of a company. The strategies for negotiation prove an art as much as instinct, honed by practising subtle steps. To speed up your mastery, we offer these techniques to use to score your next deal.
#1. Do your research
A successful negotiation depends on your preparation.
Before getting into the deal, gather intelligence on the other party’s business, leadership, priorities, and past deals if possible.
Study the industry landscape – trends, competitors, drivers of supply and demand. Know the overall context of your deal.
Learn all historical details of any ongoing discussions or pre-negotiation exchanges that set the stage.
Research comparable deals or transactions to gauge fair/standard terms and get a market sense.
Consider different scenarios or stances the other side may take. Model potential responses and counteroffers.
For complex deals, hire domain experts if needed to advise. outside perspectives aid strategies.
Document all findings systematically in an internal guide for quick reference during live talks.
Revisit research periodically as negotiations evolve to address new angles or information.
#2. Build rapport and trust
Find genuine common interests or shared connections to build an initial rapport, even if small. People like doing business with those they feel understand them.
Engage in casual small talk before diving into formal discussions. Knowing someone on a personal level fosters goodwill.
Listen attentively and reflect back on what’s being said to show empathy and understanding of perspectives. Ask follow-up questions.
Share appropriate information about your side’s situation and constraints to establish transparency and credibility.
Maintain eye contact, be attentive to body language and have a warm friendly tone rather than coming across as rigid or defensive.
Thank genuinely for their time, feedback or previous collaboration. Recognition of efforts promotes positivity.
Address any emerging conflicts or irritants promptly through respectful dialogue to keep relationships strong.
#3. Look for value creation, not just value claiming
Have an open mindset of finding joint gains, not just advocating your own position. Approach it as a collaborative problem to solve.
Quantify interests numerically where possible to identify common ground and logical concessions by both sides.
Suggest logistical, technological or process improvements that lower costs for all involved down the road. Long-term value trumps one-time wins.
Highlight “non-monetary” values like better future relationships, risk reduction, and improved quality that benefit everyone.
Compromise on less critical issues to accommodate the other side’s priorities and pave the way for mutual benefits elsewhere.
Frame agreements as cooperative achievements rather than adversarial outcomes where one party yields. Focus on joint accomplishments.
Find confirmation of shared gains—not just your concessions—throughout the deal to cement the collaborative mindset.
#4. Use objective criteria and standards
Protect your ground with actual facts and figures, don’t make up any number to put yourself at the end of the stick.
Refer to independent market research, cost studies, and audited financial data to support valuation claims factually.
Suggest using neutral third-party experts, industry consultants or mediators to advise on standards if interpretations differ.
Challenge opposing claims respectfully by requesting supporting evidence, not just assertions. Ask questions aimed at rational justification.
Consider past practice or course of dealings between parties as an objective guide to expectations if no new contract terms exist.
Note objective circumstances that impact negotiations fairly, like macroeconomic shifts, disasters or changes in law/policy since the last contract.
Offer compromise proposals incorporating objective criteria to show impartiality and a reasonable basis for both sides to accept.
#5. Concede on small issues to gain on large ones
Map out which items are most/least important to each party based on the interests expressed. You should prioritise accordingly.
Offer modest concessions early on less critical points to build goodwill and show flexibility for when bigger asks are presented.
Be discerning – only trade away items that don’t compromise core needs/bottom lines. Keep major items to negotiate later.
Periodically recap progress to get acknowledgement and further buys on concessions made. Recognition reinforces cooperation.
Maintain a balance – can’t always give in alone. You should know when to stand firm or else risk losing credibility on significant points.
Concede smartly on implementation details or ambiguous terms rather than contractual rights to avoid future exposure.
Document all agreements clearly to avoid confusion later if big-ticket items still remain open or require further discussion/concessions.
#6. Read the other party’s intention
Pay attention to their body language, tone of voice, and choice of words for clues about how comfortable or pushed they feel.
Take mental notes of their responses when you propose options – do they seem open, defensive, or playing for time?
Monitor their willingness to share information. Reluctance could mean they want to maintain an advantage.
Note if they reciprocate by making concessions of their own or just receive yours without giving back.
Gauge their appetite for further negotiation by how much counter-bargaining or questions they pose in response to your offers.
Be aware of changes in formality, pleasantries, or patience levels that could indicate growing impatience or satisfaction.
Trust your instincts – does their body language match their words? Are they consistent or shifting positions frequently?
Check for tells like fidgeting, quick dismissals or distractions that betray an insincere listener or hidden agendas.
Negotiation Strategies Examples
Once you’ve learned all the essential strategies for negotiation, here are some real-life examples from negotiating salary to getting a house deal to show how it’s done across industries.
Negotiation strategies for salary
• Research Phase:
I gathered data on average salaries for roles from Glassdoor and Indeed – it showed $80-95k/year as the range.
• Initial Offer:
The recruiter said the proposed salary is $75k. I thanked them for the offer but told them that based on my experience and market research, I believe $85k would be a fair compensation.
• Justifying Value:
I have 5 years of direct experience managing projects of this scale. My past work has brought in $2 million in new business annually on average. At $85k, I believe I can exceed your revenue goals.
• Alternative Options:
If $85k is not possible, would you consider $78k starting with a guaranteed $5k raise after 6 months if goals are met? That would get me to the level I need within a year.
• Addressing Objections:
I understand budget constraints but paying below market could increase turnover risks. My current offer is $82k – I’m hoping we can reach a number that works for both sides.
• Closing Positively:
Thank you for considering my position. I’m really excited about this opportunity and know I can add great value. Please let me know if $85k is workable so we can move forward.
💡 The key is to negotiate confidently while focusing on the merits, justifying your worth, offering flexibility, and maintaining a positive working relationship.
Procurement negotiation strategies
• Initial Price Quote:
The supplier quoted $50,000 for customised equipment.
• Do Your Research:
I found similar equipment from other vendors costs $40-45k on average.
• Request Detailed Breakdown:
I asked for an itemised cost sheet to understand price drivers. They provided it.
• Probe for Reductions:
Materials only cost $25k. Can labour/overhead be reduced from $15k to $10k to align with market standards?
• Explore Alternatives:
What if we used slightly different materials that are 20% cheaper but fulfil requirements? Could the price drop to $42k then?
• Appeal to Mutual Benefit:
We want a long-term partnership. A competitive price ensures repeat business and referrals for you.
• Address Non-Negotiables:
I cannot go above $45k even after exploration due to our tight budget. Is there wiggle room on your end?
• Close Positively:
Thank you for considering. Please let me know by the end of the week if $45k works so we can formalise the order. Otherwise, we’ll have to look at other alternatives.
💡 By challenging assumptions, exploring options creatively and focusing on the relationship, the price could be reduced to the figure you want.
Real estate negotiation strategies
• Research phase:
The house is listed for $450k. Found structural issues costing $15k to repair.
• Initial Offer:
Offered $425k citing the necessity of repairs.
• Justifying value:
Provided copy of inspection report estimating repair costs. Noted any future buyer would likely ask for concessions.
• Counter Offer:
Sellers came back with $440k refusing to budge on repairs.
• Alternative Solution:
Proposed settling at $435k if sellers credit $5k at closing to put toward repairs. Still saves them negotiation costs.
• Address Objections:
Empathised but noted lingering issues could hurt resale. Other homes in the area recently sold for $25-30k less without requiring work.
Pulled permit records showing house last sold 5 years ago for $390k further establishing current market does not support list price.
• Be Flexible:
Added willingness to meet in the middle at $437,500 as the final offer and submit as a package with repair credit built in.
• Close Positively:
Thanked for consideration and for being enthusiastic sellers thus far. Hoped compromise works and excited to move forward if accepted.
💡 By bringing facts, creative options and focus on mutual interests, you and the realtor can mutually reach an agreement.
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In the end, strategies for negotiation are really all about understanding people. Getting into the other side’s shoes, seeing the negotiation not as a battle but as a chance to find shared benefits. That allows for compromise – and we all must bend a little if deals are to get done.
If you keep your goals aligned that way, the rest tends to follow. Details get hashed out, deals get struck. But more importantly, a long-term mutual partnership that benefits both parties.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the 5 negotiation strategies?
There are five main negotiation strategies – Competing, Accommodating, Avoiding, Compromising and Collaborating.
What are the 4 basic negotiation strategies?
The four basic negotiation strategies are Competitive or Distributive Strategy, Accommodative Strategy, Avoidance Strategy and Collaborative or Integrative Strategy.
What are negotiating strategies?
Negotiating strategies are the approaches that people use to reach an agreement with another party.