Effective business negotiation

February 16, 2018
Effective business negotiation

By: Astrid Vélez*

When great opportunities arise, it is important to negotiate effectively to be able to take advantage of them. A negotiation is an agreement between parties that ideally should ensure, among other things, fulfillment of responsibilities, expectations and guarantees.

I use the adverb “ideally” to mean preventing concerns.

In my work as a strategist, I have encountered many agreements that do not turn out as the parties stipulated. Then, business relations become a battlefield that ends up with no winners. In my practice, I have categorized negotiations into three kinds:

  1. Battlefield negotiation: This is a negotiation that has the goal of individual rather than mutual benefit, which leads to the parties fighting to take control. It arises from a lack of trust generated by bad experiences or by doing business with the goal of thinking of the good of the individual without considering the benefit for others.
  2. Negotiation by chance: This is a negotiation that develops without expectations, without having well defined benefits and without evaluating potential risks.
  3. Strategically designed negotiation: In this negotiation, opportunities are evaluated, abilities and resources are evaluated, risks are recognized and alternative plans are identified.

Effective negotiation should:

  • Define the need so it can be matched with a product, service or talent that enables the main goal to be achieved
  • Determine the main goal
  • Validate the expectations of the negotiation
  • Determine the non-negotiable points within the negotiation
  • Determine if external resources are needed, such as legal counsel or specialized consultants
  • Listen carefully to all parties
  • Identify challenges or threats
  • Include the team in designing the negotiation

Designing a plan for effective negotiation that meets the expectations of everyone is a big challenge. It is possible, however, if we find the correct match with the needs, resources or tools required.

Negotiations should be clear and should be written, designed and formally accepted with a beginning date, metrics for measuring the objective and an exit clause. Successful businesses begin with strategically designed negotiations so that each action, acquisition and alliance – among other objectives – can be evaluated, allowing an effective result.


*Astrid Vélez is an international business strategist, coach and speaker, as well as the owner of Astrid Vélez & Alliances. She is a specialist in transforming central areas of businesses and companies to achieve increased sales rapidly and efficiently. Innovation, self-motivation and strategic alliances are some of her main tools.

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