7 Tips To Remember When Engaging In Face To Face Negotiations

Posted on April 15, 2010


In my overall experience with face to face negotiations (in and out of the design field), I tend to view the first meeting with the client as “taking the initiative to cementing your terms before they do.” If you do not take this initiative, your clients will do that for you and that will result in loss of a sale or profits.

Observing Habits

One common habit that happens in negotiations is leaning in. Leaning in subtly implies neediness. Another habit is forcing conversation, which alludes to not being fully in control of your emotions.

What Typically Happens

If an experienced negotiator meets with you and senses you are needy by observing your habits, he or she will gut out your terms (like gutting out a fish) and dissect your prices in front of your face. You will compromise once, twice, maybe three or more times. In the end, you end up losing because you don’t want to lose the sale and you want to make them happy (but not yourself).

In summary:

  1. Don’t be needy
  2. Don’t be afraid to say no
  3. Don’t force conversation or be wordy
  4. Don’t compromise your sense of self worth
  5. Be in control of your emotions; cool, calm, collected
  6. Observe your body language; there are many ways you maybe signaling nervousness
  7. Observe their body language so you can maintain your composure

And by the way, this does not mean you have to act like the Terminator!

Most of the clients I deal with are cut-throat, surgically precise, negotiators who purposefully are timid/shy or overt/loud. But once in a while, I get the genuinely timid and shy prospects which sometimes throws me off (I let my partner handle those types of clients after the initial meeting).

Being fair is being honest.

– Jae