Latest Blogs

This morning (18th July) we held our Sheffield July Masterclass on the subject of the science of negotiation. We held the event at Halifax Hall Hotel, which is part of Sheffield University who are a member of Connect Yorkshire. It was one of our panel events and with the panel consisting of Edward Naylor of Naylor Industries, Lisa Pogson of Airmaster Air Conditioning and Michael Bridge. The discussion was run by Phil Harris of our Partner Brown Shipley.

Key Points

Preparation, preparation, preparation is the key to negotiations. You need to understand what the other side is after. Start the meeting with what they want out of the meeting and what you want. Make sure the people on the other side have the authority to negotiate and agree a deal.

Understand what you’ve got that is valuable to them and add value during the negotiations. 

You need to understand what outcome is Desirable for you. What is Probable and what is Essential. If you can’t get what is Essential you must walk away. Probable is the most likely outcome. Desirable result will be great for you but may not be sustainable. The aim being a win-win scenario.

Try to find out what their position is before you meet. Ask somebody who is a friendly at the company possibly via a more junior person. 

During the meeting you can use ‘time-out’, which might make them think you are about to walk away and might encourage them to give a bit.

Proper preparation is just as important with meetings with your staff and with your suppliers.

If you’re not prepared, you might consider not going.  

Price v Value

Try to sell on quality, selling on price is dangerous. Selling on quality/service means you don’t have to worry so much about competitors. 

If you hve to give a point eg on price, make sure you get something in return eg a 3 year agreement, as none of us want to lose margin ideally. 

You can try the good cop, bad cop routine but it needs careful rehearsal and planning. 

Generally sales people are not good negotiators, as they are inclined to give margin away to achieve a sale.

Negotiating Overseas

It is absolutely vital to understand the culture where you want to do business, try not to be the Brit abroad, learn 10 words of their language, understand some of their customs. Use in- country people such as those from the Department for International Trade who can help.


Nick Butler