On the face of it, I support business owners to understand, find and negotiate the right commercial premises for their business, on the right terms. Of course, as with any B2B offering, I do much more than that. One of the most challenging, and often emotional, areas I support business owners with is negotiation. While we are usually talking about negotiating their commercial lease, inevitably there are learnings my clients take away from their experience that have implications across the rest of their business too. So in this blog I’d like to give you six key areas to consider to help you get the best outcome out of any business negotiation.
Let’s start with clarity
Before you enter any business negotiation you need to know what you actually need and want, to support your end-objectives. Consider your priorities – what will be essential and what is nice to have? In a lease negotiation I always invite my clients to consider what the landlord will see as a priority, so don’t forget to consider your negotiation from the other side.
Do your research
It is imperative to arm yourself with the facts before you enter any negotiation process and try never to ask questions to which you don’t already know the answer. Look at the subject matter: what do you know already? Where might you need the support of an expert? Entering negotiations blind is often a recipe for disaster, so do your research before you get stuck in.
Know who is on your side
This might not apply in every negotiation, but it is good to take stock of who the main players will be and what motivations they have. Who is acting on whose behalf? The video below gives a great example of the role of the estate agent in a lease negotiation – and it’s probably not what you think!
Fire the first shot
Set your stall out before the other party – this puts you in a position of control. This is one of the key areas that changes my clients’ perspectives on commercial leases entirely. They assume they will be given a list of terms from the agent or landlord and it will be their job to respond, or even that this list is the only option and not even consider negotiation. However, arriving to the negotiation with a comprehensive proposal changes the balance of power right from the off.
Try to leave emotion out of it
Of course, we are only human beings! So when it gets tough and things don’t go our way, we tend to react emotionally. This is where it’s key to take a breath and pause. Allow yourself to return to the facts and calm down before you move forward. I often take my biggest challenges on a walk in the countryside for exactly that reason!
Know your boundaries
Throughout the negotiation, remember where you’re willing to flex and where you’re not. In my work, for example, we are working on a continuum between the landlord’s best outcome and your best outcome as a business owner. Trade-offs are inevitable, but remember what your priorities are and create space to negotiate – don’t box yourself into corner.
Do you need support negotiating a commercial lease for your business?
A free, 15-minute call with me could help you reach a decision that supports the needs of your business as well as saving you time and money. Click here to check availability and book a slot straight into my diary.