Startup advice – 9 Tips in Business Negotiation

We have emphasized the need for startup founders to and entrepreneurs to focus on the basics of business, and think like a small-business. Here is yet another insightful article on this topic.

Since the first day I started running my business, I knew that it was very important to learn negotiation skills. In fact, in our daily life, if you have great negotiation skills, you tend to get a lot of good deals and benefits from people. At least you can get what you think is reasonable and fair when dealing with others.

Business agreement handshake at coffee shop

So what is Negotiation Skills?

To keep it simple, negotiation is a way of communication between you and others in order to find a line that both of you agree. Negotiation always happens in business. For this reason, it is very important for you to learn negotiation skills. In business, you have to negotiate with 2 main parties: your customers and your suppliers.

Sales Negotiation: Sometimes customers will negotiate with you and you have to learn how to reply and negotiate with them so that you can get the profit you want. The most important thing is to make your customers happy to pay for your products and services and come back in future. Yes, if you have great negotiation skills, you will make your customers happy with your business and become a repeated customer in future.

Purchase Negotiation: On the other hand, you have to negotiate with your suppliers or manufacturers. In this condition, you are a customer to them. You have to negotiate with them so you can get a better deal and lower costs. With this, you will be looking to increase the profit margin of your business.

Tips on Business Negotiation

Don’t worry, business negotiation is not so hard, and can be learned by gaining some experience.

When I started my business, I really felt overwhelmed and I always made mistakes in business such as making a bad deal, making my customers angry and so on. This is because I was weak in communication with my clients. However, I keep doing it and I have learned so many things that today my business runs smoothly.

The conclusion that I get is actually that business negotiation skills can be learned from our life. All you have to do is be patient and learn from the mistakes you made along the way.

So today, I want to share with you the best 9 negotiation tips that I have learned in the last few years:

  1. Be confident about your business: In earlier years, I always failed in negotiation because I was lack of confidence and I had lots of doubts about my business and my products or services. Customers could feel this and used this point to attack me. So, I started learning about the strength and weakness of my products and services. The more I learned the more confidence I had. Now I can shout loudly that my services are the best and my customers trust me because of my confidence level.
  2. Learn about the market and do something that is different: Customer tends to do their research when they want to pay some money for something. Every one of us wants to get something that worth the price and is treated specially. So I usually do some research and understand my market. Then I just slightly modify my services and do something different from my competitors. Now my customers come to me because I am different compared to others.
  3. Prepare the reasons “why”: Business negotiation is just like a war and you must be well prepared in order to win it. So you must prepare the reasons that will help you to defend your price, business or services. From my experience, price negotiation happens very often in business. So you must get ready the reasons customer should pay more for your services and products.
  4. Prepare your Up-Selling plans: It is great to have plan B to support you. If you really fail in defending your offers, especially in price negotiation, you can always use your plan B: up-selling other products or services to your customers. This not only can push up your profit margin, but it also helps you to increase your sales volume.
  5. Understand your customer: Spend some time and learn the negotiation pattern of your customers. This will be a great weapon for you at the moment of dealing with customers with different kind of characters.
  6. Build rapport with customers: People tend to trust their friends and do business with them. So if you can build rapport with your customers and become friends, a lot of meaningless negotiations will be avoided and in most cases, you will win easily. This is the method that I am using in my business and it really helps me a lot. Of course, you must really become friends with your customers and really care about them, and not just become friends because of your business. They can feel this.
  7. Learn how to say “NO”: In the earlier years, I always failed in negotiation because I didn’t dare to say “NO” to my customers. However, I found that in certain conditions, I had to say no and reject my clients. Sometimes they are demanding a lot and over the limit. If this really happens, I have no choice but have to say no to defend my business. Something I found is that, if you can say “no” in a proper way, you actually comprise your customers.
  8. Learn how to let go: Try not to view negotiation as a contest that must be won every time. This will indirectly give a lot of stress on you and create more difficulties down the road. So if you really can’t win in one negotiation, just let it go and focus on the next one. Learn from the failures and win more in future.
  9. Choose your customers! 80/20 rule: There are a lot of people with different kind of characters. Because of this, I understand that my business will not 100% help and make everyone in this world happy. So choose your customers. In most cases, 20% of your customers support your 80% of business sales. So spend the time to spot these 20% customers and focus on them rather than dealing with those customers that spend most of their time in complains and negotiation.

Above it is what I use in my business. I hope the tips can help you in your business too.

Author: Rich Clominson from

Leave a Reply