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Developing Better Negotiating Skills in Business

February 12, 2015

Business advice for women entrepreneurs and small businesses

negotiate

A few days ago I was with one of my long time Five Star Event female clients who is an expert at negotiating contracts. The key to getting what she wants is her ability to be non-emotional, frank and unwavering in her request. She doesn’t take no for an answer. She works hard to seal the deal. She is motivated exclusively by her bottom line. In the end, she might not be the most pleasant person to do business with (unless you love compromise), but she gets what she asks for and her operation is financially successful.

I’ve learned what makes her so good at getting the best deal for her company is her forthright negotiating skills. She has no problem putting what she wants on the table or walking away from a deal if her expectations are not met. Most women entrepreneurs don’t operate this way but there could be a lesson to learn from her approach.

If it’s been a while since you reviewed your own negotiating skills, take an inventory of how you make deals with clients, vendors and associates. This year every contract is important, so make sure your negotiating skills are up to par. If they aren’t, educate or train yourself on improving them. Remember there is nothing wrong in asking for what you need. It’s vital to keeping your business strong and successful.

If you are a woman entrepreneur and need some support in this area, consider these options:

* Tune up your skills by reading some articles on negotiating, for example http://www.wikihow.com/Negotiate

* Read Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In” to gain some great motivation!

* Ask some of the women you admire most who are great negotiators to lend some advice.

* Practice negotiating with a friend, family member or associate before your next big meeting or contract appointment. Get honest feedback and work on perfecting it before it really occurs.

* Review your financial numbers and be empowered to improve your bottom line by improving your negotiation skills the next time you are trying to land new business or working with increasing your benefits with an existing customer.

It is up to us as women entrepreneurs to make the deals we need to survive and thrive in business. Go seal that big deal today!

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