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12 Negotiation Tips Every Start-up Entrepreneur Should Know


It’s in Your Interest to Have the Upper Hand

First published in The Indian Fusion
Written by Disha Virk

An Entrepreneur spends a lot of time negotiating in his life, be it with vendors, customers, employees, investors or even family back home. Having spent a lot of time with purchase or supply-chain guys in enterprises, whose primary job is to negotiate day in and day out, there are quite a few tricks !

You won’t learn these things in B-schools as they have been learnt from a lot of first-hand experiences and trial and errors by top Entrepreneurs.

1. Play your cards close to your chest : A lot of times, the buyer will try and de-value your product or service by asking you things you don’t possess even if it isn’t critical for him. It makes you think that this is going towards a no-deal and you invariably quote a lower price. What you can rather do is, do not reveal all you have immediately and instead ask questions like :“What are the 3 critical things you are looking for in this software ?”, when you have the answers, you can project your product better.

2. Create an alibi : You can act as if you do not have the final authority on finalizing a deal, and you have a boss or board or someone to report and answer to. This will ensure that you buy enough time to think over their counter offer, it is never a good idea for a decision maker to negotiate directly. Creating an alibi works fabulously well while avoiding awkward situations while declining unwanted counter offers.

3. Time play : The person who has the holding power or time on his side will be the eventual winner. The one that shows desperation first and shows signs of crumbling under selling pressure or buying pressure will lose. Even if this deal is critical for you to meet your targets, try your best not to let it seep in your behaviour.

4. The “surprised” look : When you first quote a price, the buyer will give you a surprised or startled expression something like “WHAT???”.It makes you feel as if you quoted something really exorbitant or way beyond market standards and your body language starts showing insecurity about losing the customer. Try and hold your fort by giving market standard examples instead of rushing with a lower counter offer.


5. Silence is golden : More often than not, the person that speaks a lot ends up on the losing side. While you are speaking bonkers about your product and stuff, the person in front is busy plotting a strategy to pull you down. Silence is a golden tool, it kind of puts pressure on the buyer to talk in that awkward situation.

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