You should always negotiate with suppliers and expect buyers to negotiate with you. To be able to negotiate successfully you'll need to develop your negotiating skills. This guide talks you through the basic steps of getting the best deal for your business.

  • What you need to know
  • Negotiating with suppliers
  • Negotiating with customers
  • Closing the deal

What you need to know

To negotiate successfully, you'll need to first be an excellent communicator. Clarity is essential so make sure you're clear from the outset when agreeing a deal and don't leave any gaps in the negotiating process where terms you haven't agreed to could be misconstrued. Negotiating isn't about getting something for nothing, it's about working with other businesses so both parties benefit.

  • Make sure your communication skills are up to scratch
  • Be clear and concise when starting a deal
  • Don't expect something for nothing

Negotiating with suppliers

Negotiating with suppliers is not only a great way to get the best possible deal for your business but can also be the perfect way to forge long standing relationships. You'll need to start by working out how important your business is to a supplier - if they are established and have lots of business, then it's likely they will be less inclined to negotiate deals compared to a newer business or one that operates in a highly competitive field. Apart from what they can offer you it's important to let them know what you can offer them so you strike a happy balance.

  • Research your suppliers carefully
  • Work out what you want from them and what you can offer in return.
  • Be honest with them

Negotiating with customers

Just as you expect to get a better deal with your suppliers, your customers will expect to get a good one from you. It's easy when you're first starting out to want to promise the earth to your customer, just in order to get their business but tread carefully. While offering discounts is a major pull be realistic about what you can offer, there's little point in bankrupting yourself just to close one deal. Delivery times can also be a sweetener when it comes to securing business, but again be realistic, if you can't meet a deadline tell them, they'll appreciate your honesty more than their delivery not turning up.

  • Work out what you can afford to offer as a discount
  • Be honest about delivery times
  • Don't overstretch yourself by making promises you can't keep

Closing the deal

So now you've negotiated and got a verbal agreement on your deal, it's imperative you get it written confirmation in the form of a contract between both parties. As well as making sure it outlines the deal in full, the contract should also have terms and conditions applicable to both parties, such as payment and delivery terms and if the deal is a long standing one, you may want to include a get out clause in case things should go wrong. The contract should be signed by both parties but make sure you read it thoroughly before putting pen to paper to prevent any problems arising at a later date.

  • Don't rely on a verbal agreement - get a written contract as proof
  • Make sure you agree to all the terms and conditions set out before signing
  • If there's anything you don't understand, seek legal advice before signing

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