3 Steps to Successful Partnerships – Part 2: Negotiate Creatively

Got partners? What about vendors or clients? Employees?  In my last post, I shared one of my key success principles for business partnerships – communication! Today I’d like to talk to you about creative negotiation.

HandshakeBy creativity, I mean thinking outside the box – the standard partnership terms – in your business relationship.

As a media buyer at my last company, I was responsible for generating the highest return on our multi-million advertising budget. So you may think my job consisted of “squeezing” every last penny out of our advertising partners. Not quite!

Our team succeeded by negotiating creatively: in addition to price, what else can you put on the table?  Consider the cost to you and the value to the other party.

  • Payment terms is a good one: many vendors will give you a better price if you are able to pay sooner: net 30 instead of net 60? Depending on your cash flow, this may be a win-win.
  • Content – maybe you have an article, a white paper, or a training product with low marginal cost (meaning it would cost you next to nothing to product an extra) that would be of value to the other party.
  • Event Tickets – it’s no wonder event tickets make popular prizes and giveaway. The marginal cost of adding an attendee at a conference, meeting, or teleclass is usually nominal, while the value to your partner may be high.
  • Support and Your Expertise: let’s say you are talking to an advertiser who doesn’t have the right size banner available for your site. What would it cost you to have the banner re-sized? If the cost is low, or the skill is something you have, consider bring this service to the table as well.

By using creative thinking in your negotiations, you can achieve win-win and increase the value for both parties. And that’s one of the keys to a successful partnership!

What are the “cards” you bring to the table when negotiating with your vendors, clients, employees, contractors, or consultants? I’d love to hear from you.

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