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We held our April 2019 Masterclass last Thursday on the subject of Negotiation Skills. The panel consisted of two of our Entrepreneurs in Residence; Michael Bridge and Janette Benaddi, and one of our members David Powell of Auditel, with an audience of approx 40 members and Partners who asked lots of questions.


The single most important message was preparation, preparation, preparation. Know the strategy of the other side and where they sit in their marketplace, who their customers are and why they are customers and who their competitors are. Also understand their financial position and how successful they have been recently.

Understand what you’ve got and what they need.

Understand different cultures, especially in different countries. Personality plays a much bigger part if you are talking about a long term relationship rather than a one-off deal.

Golden Rule

Listen – ask good questions, shut up and listen carefully to the answers. And try to ask follow-up questions.

Bad Negotiations

Lack of knowledge about both your own company-don’t risk them knowing something about your company that you didn’t know-and theirs

Insist at the beginning that the representatives of both parties have the authority to close the deal you are discussing; there is nothing more annoying than to find at the end of a lengthy negotiation session that the other side says they need to go back to their boss/the Board/ head office … to approve what they’ve agreed.


Roughly these fall into 3 categories:

Desirable goals – top end but unlikely to be attained

Probable goals – likely outcome with both parties agreeing a deal that they are both satisfied about.

Essential goals – just enough but we are unhappy and they are happy.


Nick Butler