Tips on Negotiating a Great Work Contract
Negotiating a new employment contract is an important and challenging first step to embarking on your new career. Not only will the way in which you conduct yourself during negotiations determine your bottom line; it can also play a big role in establishing your status at the new company. That said, there’s a very thin line between being tough and being unprofessional, and it can be difficult to know when it’s best to speak your mind and when it’s best to hold your tongue. Check out these top tips on negotiating a great new work contract to strike the perfect balance:
1. Don’t Be Shy - Some people are too shy to talk about money. Others think it's rude or demeaning. In many cases they're right. But, when it comes to doing a deal - and we all have to sometimes - being unwilling to engage in "money-talk" can be a very expensive business. If your counterpart (who is more than likely an experienced negotiator) senses that you are timid, he/she is likely to take advantage of that fact.
2. Don’t Get Emotionally Involved – Sometimes expert negotiators will try to stimulate an emotional response from you in order to get their way. Some can even shout, threaten, and make demands, in order to manipulate you into feeling backed into a corner. In this case, keep calm, patient and friendly, even if the other person starts losing their cool. Make sure you leave any pride or ego at the door.
3. Don’t Get Sucked into the ‘Rules’ Trick – Expert negotiators are also apt to capitalize on the fact that many people are sticklers about following the rules. Don’t let negotiators tell you that you can’t make changes to the contract because it’s their “standard contract”, and changes are not permitted. If there is something you don’t like in the contract, get it removed.
4. Never Be the First to Name a Figure – An expert negotiator will inevitably try to get you to name a number first. Asking you what you expect to earn is a high-pressure question, and it’s easy to respond by blurting out a figure that’s lower than what you really want. If asked, simply respond with the following question: “What’s the budget for this contract?”
5. Ask for More than You Expect to Get – If you are in a position where you have to name your price, ask for more than you expect to get. Few people will walk away from a deal once it's commenced, and you can let the other person feel as if they're winning by lowering your "unrealistic expectations" a bit at a time. Remember, your price can always be negotiated down; but up is impossible.
6. Let Them Believe the Final Decision Isn’t Yours – Once a negotiation starts, most people want to get it over with as quickly as possible. Let their impatience beat them. One great way of doing this is to let them believe the person they're negotiating with isn't actually you, but some other "authority figure". Say something like "Well, I'll have to talk it over with my spouse/partner before I can give you a definite yes". Tell them you'll discuss it and get back with an answer the following day. This is also a great strategy for preventing people from rushing you.
7. Don’t Act Too Interested - Just giving the impression that you're willing to walk away can do wonders for getting a better deal. Always play the reluctant buyer or seller.
8. Be Fair – Never leave the other person feeling as if they’ve been cheated. Many people try to ring every last drop of blood from a negotiation. This is a mistake. If the other person feels they've been cheated, it can come back to bite you. They may not fulfill their part of the deal, or refuse to deal with you in the future. Be willing to give up things that don't really matter to you in order to create a feeling of goodwill. Most negotiations should leave both parties feeling satisfied with the outcome.