5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Contract Negotiation Skills
One of the most important skills the owner of any small business can acquire is that of being a good contract negotiator. There are some who like to think that they’re master negotiators, but their employee and client relationships prove otherwise. Even if you have a great track record with contract negotiations, though, almost everyone can improve their results in this area. If you want to be a better negotiator, make sure you follow these tips.
- Take Your Time
Contracts are a part of everyday life when you’re running a business. You could be hiring a new employee and need to figure out benefits and pay. Or, maybe you’re bringing on a new client, and the two of you are debating how much you should get paid per hour.
Being good at contract negotiations will not only ensure that the company you’re working for always gets the best deals, it will also help you to be fairly compensated for the work you do.
When there’s a new opportunity on the table, you’re naturally eager to hammer out the details and get started as quickly as possible. However, be warned that your overly eager attitude could make you miss out on some important benefits and money. Don’t feel the need to rush through any decision, but take your time and think about every detail before you sign any contract.
- Don’t Be Set on Getting Every Little Thing You Want
Negotiations are called negotiations for a reason: you’re working with someone else to ensure that everyone walks away happy. Sometimes that means that you have to give up some things, but you don’t have to give up on everything. Decide before you finalize your contract what things are non-negotiable, and what you’d be willing to give a little leeway on.
For instance, maybe you would be willing take a little less pay in exchange for good benefits and ample paid time off. For another example, you might want to be able to promote any work your company does, but you would be willing to be a little more discreet if you were paid more money. If you have an idea in mind of what you’d be willing to budge on, you won’t be blindsided if you have to make a change.
- Do Your Research
Never negotiate any contract without doing ample research beforehand. You could miss out on something important.
For example, you might think that the rate of pay you’re asking for is fair, but have you looked at what others in your region and with your skills are earning? If you’re asking for considerably more than your contemporaries are making, you could be in for a rude awakening.
On the other hand, perhaps you’re shocked when your new client immediately agrees to the contract you sent, but then you learn that you’re greatly undercharging for your skills.
- Know the Facts and Stay Organized
Do you remember what you rate of pay you had at your last job and how much vacation time you were offered? Are you missing a vital part of a client contract that could save your company legal problems if you have to back out of work? Keeping your contracts in order and easily accessible is essential for anybody who negotiates contracts.
Contract management software can ensure that your contracts are easily accessible and will make it easy to find certain important documents when you’re forming your new contracts.
- Brush Up Your Skills
Practice makes perfect, as they say, but it can help to add some formal education to the mix, too. And if you simply cannot make time for even an online course while you’re starting your business, at least read what others are saying about contract negotiation in reputable blogs.