How to Negotiate your way to Success!

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It’s not always obvious, but the skill of negotiation is really at the heart of business success.

Don’t think of negotiation as just closing that big deal, negotiation is really about resolving conflicts successfully – conflicts with employees, conflicts with clients, conflicts with business partners or key vendors…the need for great negotiating skills is a lot more pervasive than you might think.

How do I know all this? I had a great chance to interview Mike Milich – one of the founders of SwiftNegotia (and a friend of mine).

Mike’s had a fascinating career – as he tells us, he’s a recovering CPA who started training negotiation skills a long time ago, and he wasn’t just training local small businesses…his client list include the big players of Fortune 100 companies, including teams from Nike, Starbucks, McKesson and a lot of others. He decided to jump to his own venture about 3 years ago with a business partner and he’s now expanding his focus to include more local solutions that fit smaller companies as well as the big boys.

Here’s a link to the podcast:

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If that link doesn’t work for some reason – you can also find it on BlogTalkRadio – Mike Milich.

Highlights:

Negotiation Skills – Mike shares a lot of great tips about negotiations and how it fits with entrepreneurs and business success. You’ll be surprised at how prevalent negotiating skills are when it comes to day to day operations of your business. And if you don’t know what you’re doing you’re likely giving away the farm and putting your business at risk. In fact it’s pretty common for companies trying to generate good will end up putting themselves in a hole that may be difficult to get out of. From a negotiating stand point, when you give things away or constantly give in to demands, you are training the other party that if they push you, you will give them what they want.

There’s also a great discussion on leverage and power in relationships – and in order to really get what you need, you first have to understand what your power in the relationship is. Even with seemingly one-sided relationships, it’s likely that you have more control over the situation than you think you might.

Learn why good negotiators try their best to give the other party what they want, while still making it a personal win.

Making the jump – As an aspiring entrepreneur Mike had to give up a great, well paying job in order to make the jump into the type of work that he (and his partner) really wanted to do. The jump was also driven by personal needs to control travel and to create something meaningful. However Mike shares that it’s not something he’d recommend others do lightly. A key to success for making a jump (especially into consulting) – you must have great relationships and networks that you can leverage going forward. Trying to jump into something without those relationships is a recipe for failure.

Introducing a new market / Product – There’s a steep learning curve when you try to figure out how to succeed with a new kind of market – specifically jumping from large corporate to small to medium sized businesses. This new market still needs solutions, but how they receive that help, what they’re willing and able to pay for and how you make the sale are all drastically different.

Negotiations skills will help you compete and succeed in more than just vendor / client relationships, it also applies to leading your team, selling and even creating a better culture. Mike’s journey as he and his partner create SwiftNegotia is a fascinating one and I think you’ll learn a lot from his experiences so far (and you’ll learn a lot about negotiating skills along the way).

Does any of Mike’s message resonate with you?  We’d love to hear your thoughts or questions – post them in the comments below.

Shawn Kinkade  Kansas City Business Coach

2 thoughts on “How to Negotiate your way to Success!”

  1. Shawn, Great post and podcast on Mike and his journey to independent consultant. His transition to smaller companies is an important adjustment and one that’s not easy to do when you are so close to your business! He’s meeting the market where there are needs, not trying to make a market come to him. Thanks for the insights.

  2. Thanks John – you’ve gone through a similar jump so you know exactly how challenging that can be. Great point about taking the client’s perspective first!

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