In a business deal, the hardest part is often closing it. Talks can go on for months or even years, sometimes with no end in sight. Other parties may grow reluctant to finalize the negotiation, especially in industries with highly competitive options. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help close any deal.
Practice these five strategies by Katie Shonnk from Harvard Law School to get all parties synchronized, and prevent negotiations from dragging on any longer than is necessary:
Begin by establishing the rules of negotiation.
Many deals fail to close because no one establishes a process for both sides to follow from the start. Before talks even begin, create the necessary guidelines, like which topics will be discussed at which meeting, and who will facilitate the engagements. Setting rules will streamline communication and ensure that no party is left in confusion.
Create milestones and deadlines.
Setting short-term benchmarks, and long-term deadlines, helps each side stay focused on reaching a middle ground. Deadlines can also inspire creative thinking, as teams under pressure discover solutions they may otherwise neglect.
Bring in a third party that you both trust.
When two parties are particularly reluctant to make their best offer, bringing in a trusted third party can help bring the parties closer to an agreement. For example, if both parties privately discuss their terms with the third party, that third party can later circle back to each and let them know if they see a possible solution.
Adjust your team.
Swapping out or bringing new members to your team can benefit the negotiation process. With fresh eyes and unique skill sets, they may open the possibility of unseen resolutions.
Take a break.
Lastly, if talks stagnate, try taking a break: negotiations are stressful. So take some time to unwind and gather your thoughts; this rejuvenation can bring new insight. Breaks also offer broader perspectives, and you can re-evaluate whether the deal is still worth pursuing.
The outcomes of some negotiations make or break your business or career. Use these tips to not only close deals more quickly, but also to ensure that you close the deals that are right for you.
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