4 Negotiation Skills That Every Marketer Should Master
Nowadays, marketers must wear many different hats, deliver answers to questions no one else can, and prove expertise in multiple areas. Although often overlooked, the ability to negotiate is one of the most important skills a marketer needs.
Think about it this way: you are the promoter of the brand’s vision. Your ability to negotiate things like copywriting and ghostwriters services, media buying and to make sure that everyone is on the same page can help move the business forward.
In spite of its importance, many marketers lack this vital skill. Some of them are afraid that they’ll be perceived as aggressive. That couldn’t be further from the truth since negotiation is a way of meeting your partner in the middle. In fact, studies have shown that people who don’t negotiate are 60% less successful than those who do.
If you feel like you have yet to master this skill, then you should keep reading. In this article, we’ll talk about four crucial negotiation skills every marketer should know.
1. Always Have a Goal in Mind
Don’t be afraid to set big goals and work your way from there, adapting accordingly to the situation. As long as you have an alternative course of action prepared (a strategy known as the Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement, or BATNA, in negotiation theory), you can enter the discussion knowing you have a backup plan and exuding the necessary confidence to win.
But, what is perhaps even more important is figuring out your client’s BATNA as it can show you where they draw the limit and what could make them walk away from the deal. That means knowing what alternatives your client has and how much they value your expertise. This information will come particularly in handy in case of contract renegotiation since it can steer the negotiation in your favor.
There are a few questions you can ask beforehand to identify your client’s BATNA. What other options do they have, in case they refuse to sign with you? Do their budget and timeframe allow them to find a someone else? Will they be able to find a better deal and also stick to their budget? What compromises are you willing to make to sign the deal?
2. Use Active Listening
Active listening allows you to establish a meaningful relationship with your client. In negotiations, it can make the difference between a successful outcome and a deal breaker.
Contrary to what you may think, active listening does not mean you turn into a passive partner that sits silently, waiting for the other one to finish talking, and occasionally nodding and saying they understand. Quite the opposite! Active listening is a complex process where paraphrasing, inquiring and acknowledging work together towards problem-solving.
Here are three steps you should follow to use this strategy successfully:
- Paraphrase your client’s requests using your own words;
- Inquire and ask more questions to get to the root of the problem;
- Acknowledge your partner’s concerns to empathize with him.
3. Use Open-Ended Questions
This strategy can be particularly useful when negotiating with people who have not only done this before but are quite good at it. It’s a technique that does not allow them to follow their plan but rather forces them to be candid and answer your questions on the spot.
Here’s an example:
Next time you and your client discuss any budget modifications, ask them what they believe the budget limit should be, why they think what you’re suggesting is not going to work, and if their reticence is based on the results of your collaboration. That way, you’ll show you place value on your work and will allow the discussion to shift from price talk to the experience your client has had working with you so far.
4. Leverage the Power of Emotions
Emotions are the driving force behind the relationships you develop with your clients. Before entering any negotiation, acknowledge your emotions and don’t ignore the power they have as an additional resource you can use. Similarly, don’t forget that your clients might be nervous as well, so keep them in mind whenever you’re building a negotiation strategy.
For example, make sure your client feels included in the creative process. By feeding their need to belong and control (at least, partially) the process, you can build more meaningful relationships with your client. That, in turn, can move the negotiation towards the desired outcome.
The ability to negotiate is a skill any person should master, regardless of the position they hold in the company. As a marketer, however, it will help you grow as an individual and find new ways to turn your plans into a roaring success.