How to improve your business negotiation skills

How to improve your business negotiation skills

Business, at the top levels, has similarities with diplomacy between countries. Deals need to be beneficial to both parties but both sides will have their terms and their goals. As a business negotiator, you need to make sure that you get what your business wants out of the deal. Negotiation is not an easy skill to learn so here are some tips to help your next deal go your way.

Read up on your counterparts

As well as understanding the needs and requirements of your own business, inside and out, you also have to be well informed about who you will be negotiating with. They will be representing another company that also wants to get the best deal. Conduct research into their finances to see how strong their position is and look at past deals they have been involved with to understand what they have previously managed to achieve across the negotiating table. The better you understand your counterparts, the better you will be able to anticipate their offers and reactions.

Take professional instruction

There are such things as negotiation courses. Of course, some people are naturally better at persuasion than others, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn persuasion skills. There are plenty of negotiation skills that can be taught, such as being able to recognise the various phases in negotiations, how to prepare for each stage and identifying different approaches for different sorts of deals and negotiators. Updates from LSBF will keep you informed about the courses that they are offering to improve your business negotiation skills.

Understand why negotiations fail

In order to succeed as a negotiator, you need to understand why some negotiations fail. One side may have a lack of confidence and could end up not getting the deal they want, or one team could be overconfident and end up pushing away the other side. Another common reason for failure is not recognising the other side’s needs – what are they looking to get out of the negotiations and how can you provide that while still getting what you want?

Know what you can concede

Before you go into the negotiations, you have to identify aspects of the deal that you are willing to sacrifice in order to get the deal through. However, it is essential that you do not reveal this until you have to, in order to get the best advantage. You should also try and identify things that the other side is willing to sacrifice.


Often, the only way you are going to improve as a negotiator is to practice your persuasion skills. You could even gear up for a big deal by carrying out role-play with your colleagues or family members. Think of the scene in The Wolf of Wall Street where Leonardo DiCaprio asks candidates to try and sell him their pen. Those sort of exercises can help you come up with new techniques and identify weaknesses in your approach.