The top skills to becoming a successful negotiator

We often negotiate throughout the day without realising it. From the workplace to being at home, we make deals and possess innate skills that we do not recognise we have.

Negotiating big business deals however are a bit different. They need a lot more thought and research, and a much better strategy if you’re going to be successful in the long term.

Here is an interesting fact that may make you think a little. According to leading global training specialists The Gap Partnership, up to 42% of the total potential value of a transaction is lost during negotiations. That’s huge.

With our top skills outlined below you can make a start on becoming a better and more successful negotiator, starting today.


Negotiating is ultimately about compromise and the key is to not just talk, but to listen. It is important to listen carefully and ensure that you understand and take on board points being out across by the opposing party, and not just listen to what you want to hear. Through carefully listening will also help you generate challenging questions to put to your opponent whereby you can obtain detailed and crucial information in regards to the negotiation and sealing the deal. Listening isn’t always about the words being said. An important aspect of gaining an advantage and truer picture is through evaluating the body language and facial expressions of the opposing party. This more than anything can give you a further insight into any positive or negative energy being let off. For more information on how to achieve these skills, take a look into specialised negotiation training and courses.

Take your time

Although when negotiating it is effective and high efficient to try and complete the deal as quickly as possible, trying to rush through may come across as nervous and unprepared, therefore giving your counterpart the upper hand in the negotiation. By taking your time preparing and ensuring your information and facts are correct will make you look far more credible and organised. You will also be less likely to make mistakes which will set you back in a deal if that happens. It is known that different personality types may affect how you approach negotiations, however this breakdown of small business personality types can give you further insight.

Know when to walk away

Not every negotiation is going to end in a deal, and that’s not always a bad thing. Some of the terms you will be asked to agree too are not worthwhile and will dilute the success of your positive deals and success. Being desperate to complete a deal can cause you to agree to something that you might later regret. To avoid this happening always have a bigger picture in mind and know when the time is right to stop negotiating. Walking away doesn’t show weakness, but instead demonstrates that you are strong enough to not be forced into a deal you are not entirely comfortable with and have doubts about.


Be assertive

While it is important to show respect throughout the negotiation, you also need to be assertive and clearly spell out what you want from the deal. This takes a strong mind and tact. It is important that when doing this you do not come across as aggressive, but instead should conduct yourself in a way that shows you know what you want. Learn how to spot a gap in a business deal that has room for negotiation and go for it. Being passive will lose you significant value in every deal you make, therefore resulting in a loss of success.

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