Anytime you enter into a legally-binding business agreement, a written contract is essential. Along with that comes the need to negotiate the terms of the contract before signing. Contract negotiations can be should be handled formally, such as being represented by your business attorney. Contracts could be formed, intentionally or not, through an informal series of email exchanges. No matter how you end up negotiating your next business contract, there are a few things you can keep in mind in order to help you get what you need while protecting your interests.
When it comes down to it, a contract is a compromise between two interested parties. Part of that process sometimes involves concessions in order to iron out differences between the parties on the risks and rewards at stake within the negotiation. So, let’s look at some specific ways to help improve how you handle the process of negotiation:
Three Quick Tips to Improve Your Contract Negotiations
Do Your Research Beforehand
One of the best ways to give yourself an advantageous position during contract negotiations is due diligence before you get to the negotiation table. Knowledge is power. Write out and rank in order the priorities you have for the negotiation based upon your research. Include key information that you’ve researched and need to be firm on like what price you are targeting and what price you must walk away from.
Being reasonable in your expectations and needs and working toward a common ground among the parties is the foundation of successful contract negotiation and more generally, it can help establish trust that can be useful throughout the life of the relationship. Adhere to rules of law, propriety, business norms and common decency. Stay open to unconventional solutions until you’ve heard them through. Treat the person with which you are negotiating in the same way you’d like to be treated. Gaining rapport and establishing understanding can go a long way towards smoothing over what may otherwise be issues during the negotiation as well as helpful to the continuing business relationship.
Forget About Winning and Losing
If you want successful negotiations, approach them with the idea that you want to arrive at a mutually beneficial agreement. This type of negotiation builds trust and helps improve working relationships. Furthermore, making a favorable impression on your new business partner or ally will help properly motivate them when it comes time to follow through.
This is not a recommendation to automatically compromise what your commitments are. Rather, be flexible and thoughtful about the concession process. What are you getting for what you are conceding? Is the trade equitable? An adversarial approach to the negotiation is likely not forgotten and can be harmful to an ongoing relationship.
A business attorney can help you negotiate a contract that protects your business and those you negotiate with. But there are many more things a business attorney can do besides contract negotiations. If you have any additional questions about contracts, partnerships, or wish to discuss other related legal issues, call Stephen Rizzieri at 214.434.1017 or fill out the form on our site today.