None of us are in business to struggle. Or not have fun. Or spend our days frustrated with where we are and where we know we could be with our results.
Yet, most of the time, most Ambitious Entrepreneurs are in that exact spot.
And most often it’s because one of these bad negotiation habits is getting in their way and stopping them (stopping you!) from going after what you want, need and deserve.
Here are the Top 6 worst habits when it comes to negotiation. Ditching them will take you far.
Bad Habit #1 – Avoiding
I get it. Working up the courage to ask for what you want, need or deserve in business can be a tough task. Just thinking about it can bring in the queasy stomach and the sweaty palms. So you don’t do it. You don’t ask. You don’t event start the conversation. But if you don’t speak up…how are you ever going to get what you want? Waiting for karma or the universe might bring things your way, but I’m willing to bet that you’ll be waiting an awful long time, and by mighty disappointed by the results.
Bad Habit #2 – Winging It
Courage mustered, your approach to negotiation is to close your eyes, pinch your nose and jump right in. Without research, or a strategy, or even a clear definition of what you’re going after. This habit bites you in the bottom because while you may feel super productive and Boss-like in making your ask, you end up muddled and confused and maybe even agreeing to things you shouldn’t. Without prep work, you’re likely to find yourself with a mean case of negotiator’s regret.
Bad Habit #3 – Settling
‘That’ll do, I guess…’, ‘Sigh…whatever…’, and ‘I’m lucky to even get this’ are three phrases that should never cross your lips when negotiating. Settling means being willing to sign up to terms or prices that don’t meet your needs. You might be willing to accept less that market rate for your work because you’re struggling with knowing that you really do deserve it. You could be willing to sign up to anything and everything because having a discussion or negotiation about it brings on all sorts of anxiety and you just want to get this panic over with. Guaranteed – if you settle, the resentment and dissatisfaction will arrive sooner rather than later.
Bad Habit #4 – Knee Jerk Reactions
Yes. That email asking for you to provide your services free of charge (for exposure!) makes you angry. But sit tight and don’t let those fury-filled fingers onto the keyboard just yet. Same goes for being in a meeting, or on the phone and not being too thrilled with what you’re being offered by a client or a partner. Sure, it may feel good in the moment to give them a piece of your mind – but negotiation and getting what you want in business is all about relationships. Holding your tongue and finding a diplomatic way to convey your thoughts will take you far.
Bad Habit #5 – Assuming
This Bad Habit usually crops up right alongside the first one – Avoiding. ‘They’re never going to accept this…so I won’t bother asking’. You assume you know what the other person is going to say before you even open your mouth to start the conversation. The client will refuse to switch from hourly to project rates. Your partner will insist on you doing 100% of the webinar prep. Really? You’re a mind reader now? Unless you’ve got a special gift of foresight that most of us are lacking, there’s no way to know with total certainty how a conversation is going to go until you’re actually in it. Give it a chance.
Bad Habit #6 – Thinking New = Better
Revenues may be a little sad at the moment. Or the numbers are in and your profit margin is teensy. So launching a new offer, creating a new website or landing a few new clients is the answer, right? Wrong. You can get so caught up in seeking improvements outside of your current business model that you miss out on serious opportunity for improvement inside your business. It takes a lot more work to attract and sell to a new client than it does to negotiate with an existing one. Why are you wearing yourself out on the chase? Optimize instead.
Changing these habits takes time, and hard work. But it’s worth it. Breaking through these habits that are keeping your business small and stuck means more revenue, higher profits, and boldly going after what you want to achieve.