by Asif Khan, CEO of Caremerge
Knowing how to negotiate is the very essence of being a successful entrepreneur. A truly successful negotiation fulfills the goals and needs of all parties involved, the always desirable “win-win” situation. If anyone feels unsatisfied with the outcome, you’ve likely lost out on potentially profitable long-term partnerships and relationships that could have been built upon. Being a good negotiator is about preparation, control, flexibility and instincts.
Here is some advice on how to be a better negotiator:
We all want the same thing out of a negotiation- “success.” How is success measured? Negotiation is a give and take process and you need to know what you must take and what you can give. Before any negotiation, list out all of the elements of your ideal agreement, including pricing, manpower, ROI, etc. More importantly, be sure to prioritize your goals and know where you’re willing to be flexible; what you’re willing to live without and what you’re willing to give up. You need to know your bottom line; what you must get from the deal to make it a success for you, and what would be nice to have. Your prep should also include researching the other parties involved. This is as much about them as it is about you. Anticipate their needs and requests so that you will have a response ready.
Control the process whenever possible. Set the meeting, set the time, set the place and set the price (especially when you believe their pricing won’t be advantageous to you). Understand who they are, anticipate what they want out of this negotiation and how you can help them meet their objectives while ensuring the relationship stays advantageous to your needs.
You’ve done all the prep work, you’re controlling the process, and they throw you a curveball you didn’t anticipate. Don’t let them see you sweat. Instead, adapt as best as you can. You know your bottom line, will this unanticipated move affect that? Will the unexpected request cost you significantly elsewhere? If not, be accommodating. Find out the reasons for the request if you can. If you understand their needs, it may make it easier for you to assist them while they help you. If you cannot reasonably make an accommodation without a significant adverse impact on your position, then hold a firm line. If you’re willing to walk away, do so. If you’re not, then make the changes necessary to drive the deal forward.
Trust Your Instincts.
There are so many types of deals that it is impossible to define a good one; but you will know it when you see it. If you think everyone is happy or at least everyone is getting the best they can out of out of a negotiation, you will know it. What happens if you have a nagging doubt? If you don’t feel good about the deal, it’s better to trust your gut and walk away then do something because it “should” or “might” help you down the road. If you feel that little doubt, is there for a reason. If you smell something fishy, there’s probably a reason. Don’t ignore these messages. Explore them before signed on the dotted line, because when you sign, it’s too late.
Asif Khan founded Caremerge in 2012 and recently received multi-million dollars in funding, Asif Khan has over 20 years of experience in technology. Before leaving GE Healthcare in late 2010 to start Caremerge, Asif was responsible for a portfolio of healthcare products generating $140 million annually with over 3000 customers (hospitals and large centers) worldwide.