Negotiation training says that the foundation for winning lucrative contracts for your design business is conducting thorough research about the people you are negotiating with. That way, you can prepare a great counteroffer.
The more knowledge you have about the potential client on the other side of the table, the better, because:
- You are less likely to encounter any surprises.
- You will find it easier to engage in small talk and build rapport creating a conducive environment for negotiating a favorable contract.
- You can foster trust and earn the respect of your client. For instance, once you establish the clients’ needs, you can clearly show how your exceptional designs will solve their pain points.
Beyond the research, it’s important to have the right skills and be clear on the law, so here’s what else you need to know.
Apply appropriate techniques and skills
Honing and perfecting your skills can help improve the quality of your negotiations. So, focus on practicing your negotiation skills before you begin discussions with clients. For example, you can role play with friends or rehearse in front of a mirror.
Some of the skills at the heart of winning more contracts include the following.
Active listening goes beyond merely hearing the words spoken. It involves diving deeper into what is being said to understand the core of what the client needs. For instance, train your eyes to decipher body language, probe with the right questions, and read between the lines to pick up undertones and hidden meanings.
The key to getting the best rates lies in how well you articulate yourself and express how valuable you are to the client. Be assertive without coming across as pushy. In addition, use your body language to cement your points.
Ask leading questions to keep the conversation going so you can determine the best value proposition. For instance, “Can you tell me the biggest design challenges that your business faces?” Asking questions can encourage the client to divulge information that can ultimately help build your argument.
You can impress the client with the benefits of your proposal, for example, by mentioning the kind of design software you use or through the research you’ve gathered based on statistics to back up your points. It’s also essential to add social proof, such as testimonials, from your past clients.
Remember to coax, not push. If you overdo it, you may appear aggressive, which will likely put the client off.
You can also help persuade the client if you’re quick to think on your feet and respond to any questions or doubts.
It can also help to put some pressure on the client by highlighting the alternatives available to you, for instance, their competitors that are lining up to deal with you.
Unbridled emotions can create unnecessary friction, which can cost you lucrative deals. So, it pays to show a high level of emotional intelligence.
Keep the discussions calm and avoid appearing too eager to close the deal. If you seem desperate, the client may use that against you and refuse to budge from a lowball offer.
Trained negotiators say that covering the length and breadth of the provision in one go may prolong the process. Instead, consider breaking down each part of the contract to make it more manageable and avoid misunderstandings.
Get expert help
You can get all your interpersonal skills on lock, but if you fall short on the letter of the law, it may come back to bite you. So, it’s important to get help from people with legal expertise, such as lawyers or business advisors.
When you have the right kind of help, you can negotiate and seal an airtight contract that won’t allow you to be fleeced. For instance, some clients may be dodgy and won’t pay you when they should. A legally binding contract can help you deal with situations like that.
Ensure you’re on the same page
Regardless of how cordial the talks may be, avoid taking the clients at their word when they make promises. It’s critical to ensure that everything is in writing to create a reference point in the event of disputes.
Clarify the terms and conditions of the deal before you proceed. Some points to consider include:
- What responsibilities does the contract assign to each side? For example, what is the client expected to provide you before starting work? What’s the scope of the work involved?
- Are you in agreement with the wording used?
- What do the financial terms stipulate? What’s the amount due, and at which stage is the client expected to pay?
- When does the contract start, and how long does it run for?
- What will happen if one side does not keep its end of the bargain?
- How does either side get out of the contract in the event that it doesn’t work?
A successful contract begins with adequate research. Once you have enough information, it’s important to train and sharpen your negotiation skills to get your point across. Remember to have all the contract terms captured in black and white and get help from experts to ensure the contract is legally enforceable.