You can negotiate practically anything

An old associate called me last week asking for advice on how to raise cash to buy stocks for his new computer retail shop.

Apparently, a supplier who had promised to supply him on credit had a change of heart and ditched him at the last minute. Now this guy doesn’t have the type of assets required as collateral by banks or micro-finance companies, a situation that most young entrepreneurs find themselves in today.

So my advice to him was to negotiate with the original or other supplier. As he expressed shock at my suggestion, seeing that he had already been ditched by the first supplier, I remembered a book by a very successful American negotiating attorney, Bob Woolf, with the title “It doesn’t hurt to ask.”

Bob points out early on in the book that most people don’t like to negotiate. Because it’s confrontational, unfriendly and sometimes even down right mean. Everyone’s worst fear, the fear of losing or of rejection, usually comes out whenever there is a need to negotiate. It could an employee asking for a salary increase, or small business owner asking for a deal, as what my friend mentioned earlier needed to do. But Bob Woolf removes the terror from negotiating.

He points out that 95% of the people you will ever negotiate with are feeling just as you do: scared! Well, Woolf, who has been negotiating deals on behalf of clients for over four decades, reveals a simple secret to his success: kindness. Contrary to popular belief, what every entrepreneur should know is that in negotiating, the race will be won by the person who is friendly, honest and fair. The nice guy wins most of the time. Why?

Well, for the reason why big companies spend millions of dollars each year on public relations and goodwill advertising- because they want to build a nice relationship with the public, to create a pleasant atmosphere for doing business. The tough, macho approach rarely works. You are more likely to succeed in business negotiations by treating the other person the way you want to be treated.

Although you want to succeed, pounding on the desk, making threats and being cunning and dishonest will not win you a deal. The following are the secrets that will enable you to negotiate anything:

1. Set a nice atmosphere, reassure the other guy that you want him to be happy.

2. Be nice during the negotiation process

3. Find out the other guy’s real needs

4. Clearly detail how the deal will benefit the other guy

5. Information is power, gather as much information about the other person as you can

6. Never waste time with a guy with no authority, go straight to the decision maker

The issue of negotiating is explored in much more detail in the February issue of SME BusinessLink Magazine, which is now available on CD- PDF version. The CD is available from Innov8 Bookshops countrywide, if your nearest branch does not have, please ask the branch manager to order it for you. Or you can order direct from us and we will deliver for only $5.00 and comes with the 101 TIPS FOR YOUR BUSINESS IN 2011, plus Low Cost High Impact Marketing Strategies on the same CD. To order, reply to this email or call us on 0777 774 007, or 0772 854 301.

You can download The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Starting a Business in Zimbabwe here

The Entrepreneur’s Guide full document

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