Rely On Your Good Negotiating Skills to Build Relationships With Partners
Stuart R. Crawford / Stuart Crawford
It sometimes seems impossible to find partners who share your goals, which means that building a partnership can be difficult. If you’re trying to ensure that your partnership benefits all parties involved, you should go by the book on negotiating.
The Need For A Shared Vision
A good negotiated partnership involves a shared vision, but some business owners are unclear about what good negotiation is. However, you can be certain that negotiation isn’t an activity whose goal is to make the other person lose. Good negotiating always results in a win-win proposition for everyone.
Good negotiating involves first exploring each partner’s position in order to find a solution that’s mutually agreeable. Before attending a negotiation, you should research your partner’s business goals and objectives and be sure to beef up your “win-win” negotiating skills.
Keep in mind that avoiding negotiations isn’t necessarily beneficial to a relationship, as it can create more distance between you and your partners. Negotiation requires excellent communication skills and communicating is always good for a relationship. A healthy relationship involves two people who solve their problems together, by suggesting different solutions that are designed to please both parties.
Negotiating With Your Partner
First, start by establishing some ground rules, such as no yelling, no blaming, etc. Then, continue by describing the disagreement between the two of you, and focus on the issue. A negotiation between two professionals requires turn taking where both parties get to discuss their concerns or desires raised during the disagreement. You should also be asking as many questions as possible in order to get a better picture about your partner’s beliefs and points of view.
Stay Focused on Business
A good business relationship evolves when both parties pay attention to shared and individual goals. Partnerships aren’t only about sharing the costs of the services you provide to your clients, but also about splitting the revenues.
Create a thorough analysis regarding what benefits your company brings to your partners, and vice versa. Don’t consider a bringing in a lawyer until you’ve openly discussed your business goals.
Specifically, there are certain aspects that should be taken into consideration such as shared revenue, final deliverables, and what happens to your company if the partnership doesn’t last. Once you’ve figured out the answers to these questions, you’ll feel a lot more confident in with your final partnership agreement.
Distribution commitments should always be spelled out in the partnership agreement. Usually this involves delivering products or simply distributing an important message. Make sure that the tasks and responsibilities of each party are well defined, as well as the roles that each partner plays; this will avoid placing the blame on each other, in the event that something goes wrong.
Always Hire Experienced Counsel
It’s important to avoid trying to draft a very complex agreement with a company without being counseled by a lawyer first. Whenever you want to exchange the drafts of your contracts, you’re advised to turn to an experienced lawyer.
Many companies have their own contracting attorney, which means you should consider hiring one as well. Before hiring a lawyer to help you through the process, try to establish how complex the agreement is, and if you have to deal with a highly complex one, you’ll need an attorney with a high level of expertise in that area.
Once you’ve obtained legal counsel, ask him/her as many questions related to the “protective provisions” as you possibly can. The goal of these provisions is to protect the larger company involved in the partnership, in the event that the smaller one is sold. Sometimes, protective provisions need to be considered because big companies can greatly disrupt the process of selling your company.
Negotiations involve many skills that must be gained with lots of practice. However, your efforts will most definitely pay off when you see that you’ve managed to build a strong, effective relationship with your partner. Once you’ve learned to pay attention to your partner, you’ll manage to achieve all of your mutual and individual goals in a “win-win” way.