As a lawyer and a mediator I find much of my time spent with the construct of negotiation. As an introduction, here are a few of my thoughts on this very wide and pervading concept:
All our businesses are interdependent with external forces and entities. Therefore, we as entrepreneurs need to be well equipped to have positive interactions with the outside world. Not many of us would have thriving businesses if all our energies were internalized with little regard for outside perceptions.
The reality is, that unless we have the most unique and sought after product or service imaginable, we must present ourselves to the world in a manner that brings business to our doors.
You might wonder what this has to do with negotiation?
Well, it has everything to do with negotiation, for this process starts way before most think it does.
We can all picture the iconic negotiation when buying a car or a piece of real estate. Images of salesmen running offers back to the manager or real estate contracts with crossed out prices and writing in the margin, come to mind.
However, negotiation really starts when you hang out your shingle.
It is a means of communicating with those who might be interested in using your products or services.
By putting a sign in front of your shop, you are presenting an invitation to the public to make offers to you. In law we have referred to this as an invitation to treat.
The process does not stop there.
All dealings with potential customers are a prelude to the final negotiation where an offer is made and accepted, rejected or counter-offered. From the point of initial interest, negotiation should be a seamless tool on the road to the conclusion of a sale.
One of the most important considerations is that the process is so multi-faceted that even small nuances in your business presentation are an understated part of this process.
Therefore; presentation, customer service, product quality and pricing all have their place in the eventual sale or non-sale. To consider that you don’t negotiate because there is no specific haggling over the stated price would be wrong.
You can view negotiation as the process that motivates and encourages the prospective customer to accept your invitation to treat, by making you an offer that you accept.
Negotiating is a tactical way of coming to a bargain and of entering a contract for sale of whatever goods and services your business deals in.
The tactical part of negotiating can often fill a book, but for right now, let it be said, that, an astute party will always consider process from a tactical or strategic perspective by analyzing their presentation, business relations, ease of accessibility, channels of approach and a myriad of other ideas that have the goal of assisting their sales and business bottom line.
By approaching these practices from a consumer’s mindset, you will make your business enticing and successful.
Aristotle once said,
Let’s also not forget that most businesses need to purchase goods and services in order to feed their own production capabilities so the shoe will often be on the other foot as we business owners bargain for those items or services that we require.
The epilogue to this short introduction to business negotiation is that we must remember that the next deal is just around the corner and how we conclude our business transactions will reflect how much return work we receive from the customer or those whom the customer will or will not recommend us to.
About the Author, Bryce Jeffery
Bryce Jeffery has practiced law in BC for 28 years and been a commercial mediator for the last 14. Situated in Langley, he practices under the title, MB JEFFERY LAW and concentrates on conveyancing, mortgages, and wills and estates. Bryce's mediation practice makes him the most travelled mediator in BC with frequent stops throughout the interior, the north and Vancouver Island. He is also the author of Commercial Mediation, A Passionate Practice.
Visit his website at www.mbjlaw.ca to see how he can assist you and your business.