One of the major hurdles for female entrepreneurs is how to negotiate. For many, negotiating can often be just as stressful as public speaking. This is universal truth whether you are new in business or a seasoned pro.
Negotiation is about everyone winning. Success arrives when each party comes out on the other side of the deal happy and secure. The focus of negotiation should not be on price but on solving a problem.
Before you enter a discussion about cost or meet with a prospective client, make sure to do your homework. You need to develop a good understanding of their needs and what they are looking for coming into the conversation. By researching their contact, the company and the culture, you will gain insight into how decisions are made.
A big must is to go in with a win-win attitude. Going in with the mindset that we are trying to “sell” something, is the wrong attitude. When negotiating, you are there to offer solutions to the prospect’s particular challenges or problems, and it’s okay that there is a price associated with that. Just believing each person will benefit from the negotiation is the first step towards success.
Make sure to set the price range early on in the conversation. Listen carefully to the needs of the other person, so you can collect information from the prospect. Stating right away that you can help solve one of the problems provides a confidence and helps take the focus off pricing. Specify the range that such an issue usually costs, and ask if this is what they were expecting to pay for such a solution.
When in doubt, take a breath and count to ten. After you inform your prospect of the price, sit back and take a moment to let them think. Ten seconds may feel like forever, however, you need to give them time to decide what they think about your pricing and the solution. Let the prospect start up the conversation again so you are not rushing back into anything.
Remember: There will be times when it is just not worth it for either party to do the deal. In that case, it’s perfectly acceptable to walk away and feel good that you made a sound business decision.
Extracted from The Survivor’s Guide for Female Entrepreneurs by Kathy McShane