1. Ask for more – Ask for more than you need and be prepared to see this whittled down through the negotiation process. Demand lower rent, fitout and base building improvements, higher incentives and lower fixed escalations. Provide market information to support all your requests.
2. Focus on the crucial points – don’t over-negotiate the smaller items, which wastes resources and leads to frustration and resentment. Deal in person with the decision makers where possible.
3. Have time on your side – start the process early and ensure you have contingency in your project timeline to allow for false starts and stalling negotiations.
4. Be prepared to walk away – keep a decent second option up your sleeve and move onto this if the counter-offers are unreasonable. Walking away from the negotiations carries some risk but is a good a test of the other party’s intentions and resolve.
5. Higher or absent authority – when a crucial response in the negotiation is required, refer the deal upwards to a higher authority. This authority is typically the company board, overseas manager or parent company. This will slow down the negotiations and discourages the other party from constantly requesting concessions.
6. Set deadlines – 80% of decisions are made in the last 20% of the negotiation process. The party that sets and controls the deadline, controls the negotiation. Always test another party’s reasons for a deadline.
7. Nibbling – nibbling is asking for concessions after the major agreement (eg: optional extras on a car purchase decision). The defence against nibbling is to re-open the whole negotiation or invoke an absent authority.
8. Grinding away – grinding away is when a party relentlessly comes back with additional requests through the negotiation process. One defence to grinding is to ask for a concession in return for every request.
9. Reframing the question – some negotiators will reframe a question to change direction away from a critical point eg: “the real question we should be asking here is…”. Listen to the comment but keep your focus, have a list of key items to negotiate and ensure they are all handled adequately.
10. Controlled emotion – practice your poker face. Don’t flinch, show anger or walk away. Have you ever had another party get angry in the discussion? This is a tactic employed to make you deal with their emotions, not the issues. Maintain your focus on the issues, rather than any behaviour.