11 Tips for Negotiating a Contract Like a Pro

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shutterstock_211235011Negotiations – you either love them or hate them. In either case, you will have to do it when you’re in the business world. For those who would rather not deal with them, it’s a necessary evil. The good news is that once you learn how to negotiate effectively, you won’t dislike it as much anymore. You may find it to be the most fun part of your work.

For those of you who love negotiating, you know that knowledge is power. Consider using these tips when you’re back at the table. You may just get a little more of what you want, so you can walk away feeling like a winner.

Tip #1: Negotiate

Did you know that individuals who don’t negotiate their salaries stand to lose about half a million dollars by age 60? Do you really want to throw that away? No, of course you don’t. That’s why under no circumstances should you take a contract without negotiating. There will always be room for a higher salary – you just have to prove to them you deserve it.

Tip #2: Know What You Can Base the Negotiations On

You need to know all of the details. These details are bargaining chips. Before bringing your points to the table of why you want something, be sure to know what you’re willing to compromise on and what you’re not.

When coming to a compromise on compensation, you should consider all of these factors:

  • Will compensation increase every time the contract is renewed?
  • What bonuses will there be for your good work?
  • What types of equity grants are offered?
  • Where is the job located?
  • What are the hours?
  • How much vacation and sick leave is offered?
  • What benefits will you receive?
  • What are the specifications of the benefits?

As you can see, there are many details of the contract that can be discussed and compromised on to get the compensation and benefits packages you feel you deserve.

Tip #3: Do Some Digging for Information on Previous Contracts

If there’s a way to look up previous contracts, this can be used to your advantage. You can see what was offered and then use that to get the same. You can also bring up points of the outcome of that contract and how the details of it may have had something to do with those results.

Tip #4: Back up Your Claims

If you just talk about what you want without any fuel to back yourself up, you’ll lose. People need to be convinced and the best way to do that is to explain to them why you’re asking for what you want.

Tip #5: Write Your Arguments Down on Paper

Negotiating contracts can be stressful. You can look much more put together if you have the information you want to present in front of you. Go ahead and write it all down. You can bring it with you and refer to it as much as you need to. This ensures you don’t forget to make important points.

Tip #6: Ask Questions to Clarify

Sometimes, people get tangled in the arguments that they fail to see that the person they are negotiating with is actually giving them what they want. When you don’t understand what the person is referring to, ask questions. The more you know, the better you’ll be able to work with the situation.

Tip #7: Know Who You’re at the Table With

When negotiating a contract, know the company and the important players in it. This will help you feel as though you have the upper hand because most people don’t think their potential hires know much about the organization.

Tip #8: Check Your Inhibitions at the Door

Some people will back down when they feel as though the employer is becoming upset. Don’t do that. This is your chance to be happy in the place you work. If you don’t get what you really want in the beginning, it will be much harder to get it later, and then you can end up miserable.

State your case and if the employer seems flustered, that’s on him or her. You are doing what is right for you, and the employer is just trying to do the same.

Tip #9: Always Be Nice

This is business. Keep it civil. Don’t raise your voice. Don’t walk out of the room. Keep calm by presenting your points and considering the response of the employer. Acknowledge what the employer responds with, and then come back nicely with your points of why you may not be able to accept that as part of the contract.

Tip #10: Know Your Worth

Did you know that in one study, women expected salaries that were 3 to 32 percent lower than what men expected? This lies in the worth that some women feel they have, and it can be a problem. If you’re a woman or a man who lacks self-worth, work on that. Seek a life coach, therapist or soul search to understand that you are valuable and you deserve to be compensated for it. You have a lot of knowledge that others don’t, and you shouldn’t give it away. You need to believe this deep down inside to conjure the confidence to negotiate like a pro.

Tip #11: Set the Precedence of What You Can Do for Them

This is your chance to show them what you can do for the organization when they are met with negotiating situations. When you can show that your bargaining skills are top-notch, you are basically engaging in personal branding. You are showing them that this is what you do and you do it well. This can be quite an impressive trait to have, and it may just end up propelling you into doing more for your employers than what was expected.

Go Get Them

Now you have the knowledge, so put it to good use. You can do great things and be happy when you put yourself first and present your case. Before you know it, you’ll walk away from the table feeling like a pro negotiator.