Negotiation is a form of consultation about issues in which at least two parties have an interest, but on which agreement has yet to be reached. The intention is to reach agreement through consultation. The subject of a negotiation can be a product, project, service or job. Think for example of selling a work of art or performance, an order, the publication of music or a book, a salary, the fee for a freelance contract, etc.
Dare to negotiate
Many people find negotiation difficult. It is essential to dare to negotiate. The other party will usually appreciate a good, active contract negotiation. During the negotiating process, you also present yourself and your working methods. What you ‘concede’ to each other concerns not only the quality of your work, but also whether you can work together well: whether you and your negotiating partner ‘click’. That can have a major influence on the outcome. Remember fair practice, for yourself and the other party.
Depending on the subject you can for example negotiate about:
- Money: in the form of a sale price, commission, share, fee or salary
- Costs: e.g. materials, working space, insurance, promotion, travel expenses
- Copyright: who will be the owner, who can operate the product, are one-off products involved
- Planning: will you benefit from flexibility or do you prefer certain dates or times?
- Support/co-operation: will you receive help in performing your assignment? Will you be working together with certain people?
- Final result: reach clear agreement on what you will not do or organize
Finally, make sure that all agreements are put on paper and are communicated clearly. You can also include possible future orders in your negotiatons, or the possibility to provide (paid) maintenance services.
Successful negotiation starts with good preparation. Determine what you want to get at least out of the negotiation, where you strive for, and what you would ideally get. Consider where the bottlenecks are. Then you start the negotiation and you try to solve all bottlenecks. Do not agree too rapidly. Often it is convenient to put proposals on paper and have some time to think. Negotiation is about giving and taking. The best negotiations are those where you are both satisfied.