Simply muttering the word “negotiation” can strike fear into many bloggers and marketers. Negotiation may even evoke as much fear, anxiety, and stress as public speaking.
“Fear in negotiations arises in a variety of circumstances,” the authors of Emotions in Negotiation explain. “If we face an aggressive opponent, if we bargain without adequate preparation, if we sense that our opponent has superior bargaining power, if we feel insecure about our ability as a negotiator, we may experience moderate to extreme levels of fear.”
However, bloggers and marketers need negotiation skills as much as they do their creative process. So how can something so simple as an agreement between two parties be so daunting?
Whether negotiating million dollar contracts or simply negotiating who will do the dishes, negotiation skills are used in nearly every aspect of life. Bloggers and marketers that embrace negotiation, honing those vital skills, will certainly reach new levels of success.
Reasons Bloggers and Marketers Need Negotiation Skills
Developing the right strategy and employing key skills can certainly make you a savvy negotiator. Negotiation skills can be applied in almost any situation bloggers and marketers face.
Bloggers and marketers negotiate a variety of things, especially when it comes to the allocation of resources like budget, time, and staff. Negotiation skills are also crucial for cultivating client, sponsor, and vendor relationships as well.
Bloggers and marketers need to employ the art of negotiation when . . .
- Discussing salary.
- Pitching new ideas.
- Hashing out co-marketing agreements.
- Allocating budget.
- Directing staff.
- Dealing with vendors.
- Closing deals with clients.
- Hiring new team members.
- Landing sponsors.
- Recruiting influencers.
- Recruiting new clients.
- Leveraging content strategies.
- Building relationships with other creative types.
- Managing projects.
You need to be ready to negotiate at the drop of a hat, because you never know when a client may call to discuss contract terms. Or when an important project will begin to unravel.
And being a savvy negotiator means being a leader, according to Harvard Business Review. “To persuade people to follow your lead, you need to appeal to their interests, communicate with them effectively, and sell your vision—all of which are part of effective negotiation.” Be a leader.
Leaders Know the Value of Negotiation Skills
Bloggers and marketers are leaders. They lead and command a team of creative people, lead business in a profitable direction, and lead clients to success.
Leaders know the value of negotiation skills, because without one, you simply can’t have the other. As a savvy negotiator, you can leverage the best deal for the win-win, and keep your team employed.
The value of negotiation allows you to . . .
- Develop meaningful relationships. One of the most essential negotiation skills is active listening. Honing this invaluable skill puts your negotiating partners at ease.
- Build confidence at the negotiation table. Clients can smell desperation, especially if they know how big they are in a particular industry. However, maintaining your creative value during negotiations is a must to keep the lights on.
- Gain the upper hand. Gaining the upper hand is still about the win-win. Bloggers and marketers need to intertwine client needs with their interests as a business.
- Define your client’s BATNA. This lets you create a strategic plan that incorporates your services, your client’s needs, and your competitors’ abilities.
Identifying Client BATNA is Essential to Your Negotiation Strategy
Identifying client BATNA is essential for bloggers and marketers prior to sitting at the negotiation table. BATNA, or Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement, is the X-factor in negotiations.
BATNA is the key element that determines your negotiation power. It is the point when your client either signs on the dotted line, or walks away from the negotiation.
It is simply all about the alternatives your client has at the moment of negotiation. Identifying client BATNA is also beneficial during contract renegotiation, or if a client is asking for deliverables out of scope.
Here are a few quick BATNA questions to ask prior to client negotiations:
- What is the client’s alternative if they decline to sign?
- Will they miss their project deadlines?
- Does the client have the time and money to find another blogger or marketer?
- Will the client find better value for the budget you proposed?
- Can you compromise to move the agreement forward?
- What is your BATNA?
Bloggers and marketers need to identify their BATNA as well. This allows you to know when to walk away from a negotiation that simply isn’t profitable or manageable. Now, let’s get to specifics.
1. Negotiation Mantra: “I am the Best Option”
You did your research and you know that your negotiation partner will certainly benefit from your services. There is no need to make lesser concessions, because they need you. It may simply be a confidence issue.
Bloggers and marketers who touch on value during this critical negotiation moment are often more successful. Reassure the client that you understand their marketing challenges, and offer competitor comparison to seal the deal.
2. Set Big Goals and You Will Achieve Them
Bloggers and marketers who set big goals will achieving them at the negotiation table. If you know the value of your services, and have identified your client’s BANTA, success will follow.
In fact, when negotiators set challenging goals, they close bigger deals, according to research conducted by Deborah Zetik and Alice Stuhlmacher of DePaul University.
3. Employ Active Listening
Active listening is one of the most powerful negotiation skills bloggers and marketers can possess. It allows you to approach any situation with supreme confidence at the negotiation table.
Active listening allows you to key in on verbal and nonverbal communication. And when your negotiation partner truly feels you understand their marketing and SEO needs, you add value to your services.
When employing active listening during negotiation, use the following key characteristics:
- When your negotiation partner has finished speaking, briefly repeat what they had said or requested in a concise way.
- Dig deeper into objections and find out what is truly behind them. If a client is hesitant to hire you, ask why?
- This is simply stating what your negotiating partner had just stated. However, you want to be concise and really lay it on the negotiation table for discussion.
4. Communicate with Open-Ended Questions
Communicating with open-ended questions in any negotiation is best practice. Bloggers and marketers who use them will put their negotiation partner on the spot.
This is especially useful if you know you are going up against savvy corporate negotiators. Open-ended questions force them to go off script and answer naturally.
Here are a few great open-ended questions for your next budget negotiation:
- What budget works best for you?
- Why is the price out of reach?
- Is the price too high due to the past results?
This puts value on your services when budget becomes a discussion point at the negotiation table. Take the focus away from price and place it on the positive past experiences.
5. Understand Client Emotions
Most people buy based purely on emotions. Bloggers and marketers who understand client emotions will certainly have more success at the negotiation table.
Develop an overwhelming enthusiasm when it comes to the relationships you have with your client, and it will surely spread.
Let them feel like they are part of your team, inspiring the creative process. This gives clients a sense of ownership in what your team creates while building long-term relationships.
6. Powerful Planning for Negotiation Success
Bloggers and marketers that sit at the negotiation table with a well-developed plan will be far more successful in achieving their goals. And the goals of their clients.
You want to get into the mind of your negotiation partner in order to define what it is they want, need, and why.
Use these powerful planning questions prior to negotiation:
- What is the negotiation style of my negotiation partner (corporate, vendor, small business)?
- What are my interests, and what are the interests of the collective whole?
- What are the interests of my negotiation partner?
- What can I trade in a pinch that has little value to me, but high value to my negotiation partner?
- What are my three best options to keep the negotiation moving forward?
- What is my walk away number?
7. Be Gracious
Being gracious is certainly part of the negotiation process, especially if you are bidding on projects. You want your negotiation partner to feel completely satisfied with the results.
Bloggers and marketers may not walk from the negotiation table completely satisfied. However, for creatives, the satisfaction comes after a client relationship blossoms into multiple projects.
It is certainly essential for bloggers and marketers to hone negotiation skills. From closing deals with new clients to managing projects, the art of negotiation is needed for your growth and success. Your ability to negotiate effectively will also allow you to become more confident and authoritative, leading to a powerful edge within your industry.
Nick Rojas is a business consultant who shares his expertise working with startups in publications like Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, and Yahoo. With 20 years of experience growing successful businesses, he has a passion for implementing strategies that foster growth through marketing, sales, and social media.
Sweet tips here.
I feel negotiation is manipulation. So I use….conversation :) Because chatting with another human takes fear out of interactions. Once fear dissolves into love, the ego-based, competitive plane stuff goes out the window. Then you either have a match or a non match. Either way, no big deal.
I used to do zero negotiating because I carried a fear that goaded me to believe all negotiation was conflict. Then I let go that fear because I realized that I’m not negotiating. I am chatting. Casually. It will be a win-win or I do not accept matches. I like getting paid and seeing opportunities pop into my lap but we both benefit, or the convo stops and the deal finds a better matching couple.
Chat with love. Converse with love. Then the fear goes away, as does manipulation, posturing and any silly approach that pulls you away from One-ness and grace and fun and all those luscious energies.
Just have a chat. The more casual, the better, because cas chats detach you largely from the outcomes of negotiations and that’s where the real magic happens, for agreeing on fantastic partnerships.
Thanks for sharing.
Signing off from Doha, Qatar.
Very informative post indeed.
Balance is the main thing while negotiating. Achieving your objectives without irritating your counterpart is an art that true negotiator knows well.
When nations lose their negotiation skills they resort to fight with each other. Solution of every kind of tussle lies in it.
In business world the success of a person largely depends upon how successfully he can achieve his objectives by keeping others equally happy.
Many thanks for sharing.
Negotiation is a must have skill to master by every marketer and blogger who wants to grow their business online.
Without knowing how to convince others to pay you more, it’s impossible to build a long lasting and viable business.
Knowing your customers triggers can play a HUGE part here. Make sure you are focusing on benefits.
There are two kinds of people: one who focus on results and the other focus on problems.
So treat your clients based on their emotions. That’s how you score better clients.
Wonderful post. Negotiation is really plays an important role in our day to day life and in business as well. A proper communication is needed ti get success in your business. Thanks for this informative post.
Hey Nick. Thank you for the excellent post! Negotiation is a very exciting game. Give and take. And it is true, you have to sell and negotiate every single day of your life. I did not know about the BATNA technique. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I will implement that in my future negotiations.
Thanks for the post Nick. I think active listening can be one of the most important factors when it comes to negotiating. I often see people approach negotiations like a sales pitch – where the dialogue is very much directive, with a presentation style. Sure there are times when this will work, but opening up the floor to two-way communication will always be more beneficial.
Negotiation is crucial part of every blogger, I always negotiate a lot with my clients & freelancers I hire. Negotiation in a sweet way always help, also barter negotiation works best in blogging world. In business if you know how to negotiate then you can you save lot of money and invest more wisely.
Understanding client emotions too can help in negotiating.
Nice post Nick with superb ideas :)
In the context of negotiation, there’s a big difference between focusing on interests and focusing on positions. While interests refer to an outcome that will benefit you, positions refer to your stance on a particular issue. When you enter a negotiation, you’ll want to set the stage for a positive, proactive discussion.
But accidentally offending your counterparts might be easier than you’d expect, especially if you’re negotiating with international peers. And that’s becoming more and more likely in business. Even if you’re the one doing all of the talking, prepare any colleagues who will be present for the negotiation. Transparency is crucial here, your team should be briefed on any information that might arise during the negotiation, and privy to the same cultural and behavioral context that you’ve researched. Eventually, thanks for revealing a light on this topic.
With best regards,
Great post. Negotiation is our number one daily task. The skill is to listen.
Negotiation is a method by which people settle differences. It is a process by which compromise or agreement is reached while avoiding argument and dispute. I always negotiate a lot with my clients I hire. Negotiation in a sweet way always help, also barter negotiation works best in the blogging world. your Negotiation blog are excellent Post,
Thanx for share your valuable information I will implement in my future negotiations.
Negotiation is a method by which people settle differences. It is a process by which compromise or agreement is reached while avoiding argument and dispute. I always negotiate a lot with my Employee.. Negotiation in a sweet way always help, also barter negotiation works best in the blogging world. your Negotiation blog are excellent Post,
Thanx for share your valuable information I will implement in my future negotiations.
You are right, fear in negotiation would pull down your confidence and it impacts very wrong at your customer. You must have all the details and logical points to convince your customer.
It is sure that bad and good situations happen to all of us and the confidence level is one of the best choices for any Bloggers blog. My confidence level was low at the first time of starting my blog.
Actually, the negotiation skills help me to overcome the barriers of my blogging marketing. It plays an important role in success as a blogger and marketer to build, maintain, and improve importance workplace relationships, which is a very important part of being a successful blogger and marketer.
Your essential negotiation skills will help bloggers very scientifically.
Thanks for sharing your nice information about negotiation skills.
Interesting article, I hadn’t heard of of the term BATNA before however I have used the concept many times. I agree totally that preparation is key, you should have a thorough understanding of what actually is the bottom line position for the person that you are negotiating with. I will certainly be thinking about the BATNA concept next time I head into a negotiation.
Great article Nick! Negotiating is one of the best things a blogger or business owner can do in order to make those ever so wanted “big changes” they’ve always been looking for. It’s a link to the one big step a lot of people are scared to take. You just have take a deep breathe and go for it. You never know, one of those negotiations might be that big client you’ve been praying for that will say yes at the end.
It was really an interesting blog. I learned a lot from this. Negotiation is a major part of any blogger and one should know all these skills while dealing. And for a marketer negotiation is a daily routine, and he should be well played in all these techniques. Nice post, good share.
While reading this blog, I was able to hear your heart cry out loud. :-)
Great work, we are very much thankful to you for taking this initiative. It has enlightened us with so many new ways of negotiation process.
Tips & tricks required and shall be implemented in the total accomplishment.
Wonderful tips and suggestions. Your edits made everything more concise and I’m a huge proponent of not wasting people’s time, since time, in my opinion, is your most precious asset. Something that you can’t really put a price on because you can never buy it back, so be very careful how you spend yours
Looking forward to more excellent articles and tips in the future.
G Naveen Reddy,
This post is full of information. I like the style you had written. This the first time I came to know about BATNA. Negotiation skill is one of the key factors that a blogger or marketers do.
Negotiation is very important as special for professionals and marketers because they have to negotiate with their clients, their bosses and even their colleagues, so have negotiation skills is very important.
Awesome post. Arrangement is truly assumes a vital part in our everyday life and in business also. An appropriate correspondence is required ti get accomplishment in your business. A debt of gratitude is in order for this useful post.