For most people the thought of negotiating fills them with dread, especially when it comes to closing that all important deal. But, negotiating pricing, proving your value and timing those discussions are all essential elements for business growth.
For master negotiator Sam Trattles it is the thing she loves doing the most. Through her company, Other Side of the Table, she works with individuals, rights holders and brands to create negotiation strategies that deliver successful outcomes for both parties.
“87% of people are uncomfortable about negotiating and 44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up. You don’t learn these skills at school so many people find it hard to isolate the subject matter from the emotions of what it means to them personally,” Sam says.
Sam believes anyone can learn to be a good negotiator prompting her to recently release a workbook, I Love Negotiating, which includes tips, activities, scripts and tools to help readers prepare strategies for any given scenario.
The book’s content is the result of an impressive 20-year corporate career, which included the roles of Head of Sponsorship at Telstra and PricewaterhouseCoopers where she negotiated multi-million deals across sports, the arts and philanthropy.
As an interactive and detailed guide, the book explains how to shift your mindset, become more confident and understand your profile as either an Avoider, Dabbler, Adventurer or Mastery. It also advises on working through the four stages involved in every good negotiation:
- Stage 1 –Time to accept: You are going to actively participate in a negotiation until which time you choose not to
- Stage 2 – Let’s prepare: By researching, having a clear idea on how much to pay and by devising a game plan
- Stage 3 – Time to engage: See it as a game; manage the nerves and emotions; read the play
- Stage 4 – It’s time to close: Know that time is your friend and you can learn how to close the deal or walk away.
In addition to the workbook, Sam is looking to expand her business in other ways including launching an online course in 2017 and the development of a team training program.
Career highlights are many but she cites her recent negotiation of the iconic Tropfest Short Film Festival ‘saviour’ deal with CGU Insurance and subsequent Mumbrella award as particularly exciting.
She credits the BEC’s Jacqui Attard with assisting her in forming clear direction and messages for her company when she first founded it three years ago.
“It’s not always easy to explain to people what I do but Jacqui really understood my business and we really clicked. In our first 90 minute session, she helped me refine my key messages and narrow done the business focus so that I was able to communicate what I do and how I can assist a business.”
As a former member of the BEC board, Sam has been instrumental in establishing new partnerships and is keen to continue working with the BEC through other channels, such as committees.
Sam’s Top 3 Tips for Business Owners
- Make sure you are able to articulate the value that you bring to your clients. If the client questions your pricing, ask them: “What did you think it would cost?”. It doesn’t seem like a big question but it opens the conversation up for you to explain in detail your costs.
- Do not leave the first meeting without talking about money. You don’t want to write up a pitch or proposal and then have them say it’s too expensive. Being able to take note of their body language when you first talk money is a good indication of whether it sits well with them or not.
- Don’t discount your rates. Say to them: “What can we take out of the bucket so I can bring the price down”. It’s about reshaping the conversation and the terms of the deal.