“During a negotiation, it would be wise not to take anything personally. If you leave personalities out of it, you will be able to see opportunities more objectively.” – Brian Koslow


Has it ever happened to you that you gave your customer what you thought they wanted, not what they said they wanted?  

Not focusing enough attention on the details is a widespread mistake that tends to be made by beginners and experienced professionals. 

Let’s check out 5 (of 10) easy rules that will help ensure that negotiations work to your advantage and benefit your customers.


1- Understand the meaning of the requirement

It may sound silly, but it is a significant one. Carefully analyze the customer’s specifications and technical requirements. Here is an example

“All training materials and aids shall be ready before the training.”

Is there a specific list of training materials?  How soon before training?  What does “ready” mean?  Specifics are important.  

Always ask yourself, “do I understand the meaning of this requirement?” Make it a point to clarify ambiguous and open-ended statements. Personally reviewing requirements with your customer can eliminate simple misunderstandings and moments of uncertainty.  


2- Aligning the requirement’s intent with how it is written

Remember that customers often write specifications and requirements that make sense in their world but may not make sense in yours.  Here is an example:

“If a design or production defect is found and attributable to the seller, the seller must buy back the defective product.” 

Obviously, the intent here is that the seller is responsible for resolving the issue at their cost.  But a better way of stating this would be that “the seller should simply replace the defective product at no charge.”  

You must define requirements that give you a clear target to achieve and an element of control in how you do it.


3- Negotiating for a better definition

– Aim for specific measurements.

– Define requirements in what you can control.

– Focus on the tangible result of your work, not what the customer will do with it.

For example, imagine your customer asking you to construct a swimming pool with 7,000 gallons of water.  You could make a large shallow pool or a deep and narrow one and still meet their requirement.  

Make sure the customer provides you with the dimensions they want, so there is no miscommunication or uncertainty in expectations.  Again, redefine requirements to make it easier to confirm you’ve met your obligations when the job is finished.


4- Negotiating away requirements you cannot meet

Defining the intended result is only half of your battle. It may sound obvious but do not sign up for something you cannot achieve.  Always apply a realistic context to your negotiations.

– Ask the Customer why the requirement is defined in that way.

– Explain why it concerns you or what the risk is if unchanged.

– Give an example of how this may be an issue.

– Provide alternative wording that is more suitable to the situation.


5- Identifying acceptable proof of work completion

Often, a customer will ask you to demonstrate you have met all of their requirements at the end of a project.  

Before signing a contract, spend time identifying ways you can show you have met every stated requirement in the customer’s document.  

– Take for habit, add wording into the customer’s requirement to formally define deliverables, so it is clear.

– Always ask the customer how they will verify a requirement has been met.

– Tell the customer how you intend to comply and sign an agreement.



📌Supersede: take the place of (a person or thing previously in authority or use); supplant.

📌Trickier: (of a task, problem, or situation) requiring care and skill because difficult or awkward.

📌Wording: the words used to express something; how something is said.

📌Suitable: right or appropriate for a particular person, purpose, or situation.

📌Miscommunication: failure to communicate adequately.



📌Substitute for: One that takes the place of another; a replacement.

“There is still no substitute for the manager who was fired.”

📌Act in accordance with: following the rules of standards of.

“The employees said they acted in accordance with CEO orders.”



📌Agreement in principle: in a negotiation, an agreement in which not all details have been worked out.

📌Draw a line in the sand: issue an ultimatum; specify an absolute limit in a conflict.


Related Articles:

📌How to run effective meetings https://www.englishpriority.com/how-to-run-effective-meetings/

📌Let’s talk SALES! https://www.englishpriority.com/lets-talk-sales/

📌5 tips to communicate effectively with customers https://www.englishpriority.com/5-tips-to-communicate-effectively-with-customers-2


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