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Externe Verhandlung

9 Essential Steps to Rapid & Effective Negotiations

Nothing is more important and happens more often than negotiation. Negotiating starts in a private environment with friends and family and ends in a business environment with sales contracts. We all negotiate several times a day and yet the same mistakes happen to us over and over again.

With the following 9 tips, you can further optimize your negotiation success and record faster growth. We will show you how you can prevent long negotiations, encourage quick signing and finally increase sales - no matter which form of negotiation is involved.

Negotiations are on the one hand about the content - which is indisputably very important - but also about the process on the other. Bad contracts lead to poor results: contracts that aren't signed, messy contracts that create risks, or bad experiences that strain the relationship between you and your new customers and mean lost revenue for future deals.

Thanks to our ongoing support for companies in automating contracts, by evaluating the data, we were able to identify which practices are helpful and lead to a conclusion quickly.

In the following, we give you the 9 tips that have been tried and tested in practice:

1. Keep the ball flat - use simple contracts

People prefer simple language, and not just since the 45 American president. We all prefer fluency and simplicity of language when processing information.

Trust is an asset that builds up or builds up as part of a business. Honesty, open language and direct communication help the other party to trust you. Don't make it unnecessarily difficult for your business partners to trust you. Don't try to hide products or services unnecessarily. A simple concept or simply presenting the product is by no means easy, but it will be worthwhile.

You can abstract the presentation and contracts using simple and clear layout or language.

2. External values count - the contract must appeal to your counterparty

Your contracts must not only be convincing in terms of content, but must also look good. New customers in particular have decided to sign a contract with you because they want to try something new. For this reason, your contracts, as well as your products, should also look modern and appealing. To do this, you can also use a modern and trendy layout for your contracts. Rely on a professional appearance and prove to your new customers that they have chosen the right contracting party by the time the contract is signed.

A professional-looking document can have a positive effect on a purchase decision as soon as it is sent. Poor design and errors in the structure, on the other hand, can often be the nail in the coffin for a transaction.

3. Don't hide details - Dare to be honest

Start your contract negotiation with openness and honesty. It makes no sense to start business relationships with hidden clauses or imprecise wording right from the start. All too often, your counterparty notices when you're not being honest or hiding something. It is not too rare for such attempts to backfire. If your contractual partner feels that you must hide something, the other party will be more likely to exercise caution and the contract process will be extended unnecessarily. There may even be a tendency to distance yourself from your company.

At the end of the day, we all decide — whether professionally or personally — with our gut feeling. An intentional concealment and disguised presentation, which is revealed upon request, is the sudden death of a business relationship.

Should you therefore have critical and possibly even difficult points in your contract, address them openly and record them transparently in your contract. This can take place in tabular form or even in an extra paragraph. Your contracting party will be deeply impressed by your honesty.

4. Consider the target audience - Write contracts for your clients and not for your lawyer

Every contract, regardless of which contract type it is, should be written for the end customer. He is also the one who signs the contract at the end of the day and not your lawyer. Therefore, your customer must also feel addressed and comfortable with the contract.

Therefore, refrain from complex wording of legal hunting or subject-specific terms. Your contract is the documentary equivalent of a handshake—make it friendly!

5. Better Safe than Sorry - Prepare and Listen

Be prepared for inquiries at any time and always pay attention to the wishes and comments of the other party. You can often learn from your counterpart and their wishes for change. In the long term, this learning promotes, on the one hand, the development and improvement of your contracts and, on the other hand, the improvement of your products and services.

First and foremost, before any negotiation, you should determine what you want to achieve and how you could achieve this position. It is therefore necessary to consider beforehand in a kind of role-playing game how they could react to questions or arguments from the other side. It is best to create a talk sheet for the most important negotiation points, so that you arrive at the negotiation confidently, securely and authentically.

If you use contract automation software and it allows it, you can already store various arguments and clauses directly in the contract in response to the possible request from your customers. This could, for example, take the form of liability limits that were previously automatically varied, depending on the value of the transaction. Such preparation not only calms you down, but also pleasantly surprises the customer.

Points and topics that recur over time and with different customers and where you always have to fall back on alternative positions should be noted. Set new standards if these positions are commercially acceptable to you. Such a procedure avoids further complications in difficult negotiations. However, it may also be opportune to use these points as a means of manoeuvring and to maintain them for this reason. If you keep an eye on the goal of signing contracts faster and thus optimising the overall contract, it will become increasingly easier for you to create contracts that customers would like to sign over time.

6. Friction creates heat but not money - Make the process as smooth as possible

As soon as you consistently apply the above points, over time, templates will be created that can be completed with little negotiation effort. Once this status is achieved, you should make these templates the new standard and ensure that all of your employees can benefit from them.

7. Stop unannounced changes — rely on security and control of contract access

As a rule, companies agree that their sales representatives create contracts from a defined template, but free drafting up to arbitrary changes must be prevented in all cases.

Using a Microsoft Word-based process, companies are unable to control this risk at all or only very poorly. If, on the other hand, you rely on a modern software-based process, you can restrict writing rights for contracts to such an extent that only approved clauses can be displayed. At the same time, authorized employees can make changes at any time, which can be implemented immediately globally.

In addition to mitigating risks through the coherent provision of clauses, the use of software for contract automation has other advantages: Daily use to create contracts is often accompanied by a helpful assistant. It enables every sales representative to draw up contracts independently without legal support. The electronic signature, which is usually directly integrated, also offers significant time advantages over conventional email and postal delivery until the signature is obtained.

8. Knowledge is power - digitize your negotiation

So that you and your team can get the most added value from the contracts, you should fall back on prepared and tried and tested templates, including alternative clauses for the negotiation case. This allows you to significantly reduce the length of the negotiation.

On some points, however, negotiation is unavoidable, even despite extensive preparation and previous accommodation in the form of compromises.

Dare to enter into negotiations with the other party if the proposed position is not justifiable for you from an economic or risk perspective, but conduct it correctly. Get away from the endless ping pong of Word files and negotiate — if you can — with intelligent software.

By using contract automation software with internal and external commenting and negotiation, you can, on the one hand, ensure that all negotiation data is recorded. On the other hand, professional contract software sets a secure, digital framework so that no party can get the impression that changes have been incorporated quietly and secretly into the contracts without the knowledge of others. In addition, recording the negotiation results in software gives you the opportunity to learn from these experiences and improve your contract process in the long term.

9. Complete your game - Get your contracts signed digitally

Signing the contract is the last move in a game with a long preparation. Don't wait until the customer has forgotten what they actually signed and the time spent was worthless. An electronic signature — ideally embedded in the software — allows you to seize the moment immediately as soon as the contract is acceptable to all parties.

With this in mind, you should also make it easy for the customer to sign the contract. Avoid high technical standards and outdated software with questionable data protection and rely on the tools that you and everyone else use and carry with you every day anyway. Rely on your mobile phone and digital e-signature to speed up the contract process.

Sales employees can send contracts directly to the customer on their way back from meetings or at times like this immediately after the last online meeting, who in turn signs them effortlessly with their mobile phone.

Pay attention to these 9 negotiation tips and implement the steps and your negotiations will be effective and successful.

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