Negotiating is not a one-time event, but instead a process. As a result, it is necessary to devote a suitable amount of thought and dedication to each component. For example, you will likely spend the bulk of the time involved in the negotiation process preparing for the negotiation. This should consist of analyzing the situation as well as the other parties involved. Learning all you can about the opposing party can help you establish trust and find a common ground upon which you can begin to develop negotiations.
From there, it is essential to introduce your preferred terms while also actively listening to the other party’s requests. Only then can the true back and forth of negotiation begin. The meat of the negotiation process necessitates some give and take on the part of both parties and can be time-consuming until you arrive at a solution that is mutually beneficial or at least satisfactory for all involved. This, then, is the moment of truth—closing or arriving at a proper conclusion often proves the most difficult part of the negotiation process.
10 Tips for Reaching a Negotiation Conclusion
Especially in the business world, knowing how to close negotiations is crucial. You’ll only get what you want—or secure the terms you have compromised upon—when the other party officially agrees to accept the deal. So, what tactics can you employ to influence the final decision and hasten a favorable closing?
When it comes to sealing the deal, here are 10 essential tips to closing a negotiation:
- Ask “Any Questions Left?”
As negotiations begin to draw to a close, you don’t want to give the impression that you are rushing a deal. This ignores the fact that the process is ongoing until everyone is in agreement and all necessary paperwork is signed. Before that point, anyone involved may have valid concerns, and it is crucial to remain engaged. By asking this question, you are giving the impression that you are working towards wrapping everything up while still demonstrating your willingness to explore any necessary questions further.
- Try Making It Final
Throughout the negotiation process, it is important to use your words wisely. However, this is never more critical than as you reach the closing point of your negotiations. You must make it clear that you are moving to a final decision. Be clear in your word choices, ensure everyone is on the same page, and reiterate that you are looking to move to the final stage if there is no opposition.
- Find the Missing Piece They’re Looking For
Mutual benefit is the key to wrapping up a negotiation. You want the opposing side to feel as though you are exactly what they need. It helps to remind them why they chose to look to you in the first place and not another person or company. Restate the value and benefits that will come from the negotiation process and closing you offer.
- Make the Deal Feel Like a Win-Win
If one side was destined to come out a clear winner, there wouldn’t be need for negotiation. Negotiations arise from the need to balance different thoughts, ideas, and expectations, and the most important goal is for both sides to be satisfied with the resulting agreement. While this may involve sacrifice or adjustments on either side, an end result that provides both parties with at least some of their initial requirement can be seen as a win-win.
- Double-check to Make Sure You’re on the Same Side
Throughout the negotiation process, it is helpful to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Negotiation shouldn’t create conflict of its own, but instead a willingness to work together to achieve a common goal. It is helpful to remind everyone of that commitment and ensure that as you near closing, the goal remains the same.
- Reiterate the Benefits of the Deal
Sometimes, people get stuck on the perceived competition that can stem from the negotiation process. They lose sight of the big picture and focus on what they perceive as winning the negotiation. It is helpful to redirect this focus to the mutual benefits that can be achieved for both parties if the negotiation process ends.
- Show Them How Their Needs Will Be Met
The success of the negotiation process relies on your ability to lay out your needs and requirements, as well as listening to understand the needs and requirements of the opposing side. In negotiations, both sides often arrive with the understanding that they may have to make some sacrifices to achieve a mutually beneficial agreement. To obtain a closing, it is helpful to remind the opposing side that their needs have been heard and describe how those needs will be met. It can be easy to get lost in the details, especially when a topic has caused arguments. Steering back to what may be gained can help move the closing process along.
- Ask “Anything Left to Add?”
Just as with inviting further questions, this simple phrase opens the door to further conversation if necessary. As mentioned, during negotiations, you don’t want to rush the closing, nor do you want to drag it out unnecessarily. An expert negotiator can successfully walk this fine line, understanding when to slow down and when to continue ahead. By asking this question, you allow any further clarification or discussion to take place before moving onto a new topic or wrapping up the negotiations.
- Be Transparent
The negotiation process is largely built on trust, and it isn’t difficult to break that trust when you are unwilling to be transparent. At this stage, transparency means being truly open about your side of the closing process—your terms and conditions are established, as well as your stance and what you can offer to close the deal. People are more willing to work with someone they can trust, who they feel shares similar values. Transparency can not only help you close the current negotiation, but it can also help build your reputation and credibility for negotiations in the future.
- Give a Bottom Line
You may reach a point where it feels all options have been exhausted. This often happens when people get so caught up in the negotiations that they forget the reason they were necessary in the first place. It helps to continuously remind everyone that the goal is to find a mutual benefit. If there seems to be no end in sight, you may have to give a bottom line. Either something must give, or you will respectfully walk away from the process. By making this point clear, you may be able to refocus the negotiations on the task at hand.
Concluding Your Negotiation
How your negotiation process ends is just as important as how it begins. For that reason, it is crucial to take your time, listen and watch for both verbal and nonverbal cues, and pay attention to the positions and questions being raised. When closing, it is extremely important that every piece of the final offer is clear and easy to understand—there is no room for miscommunications or confusion at this stage.
Finally, it is critical to realize that mastering the art of negotiation takes time and practice. To help you get there, Shapiro Negotiations Institute offers a top-of-the-line negotiation training program. To learn more about the program—and how to assemble the tools you need to successfully close any type of negotiation—contact SNI today.