when it comes to negotiating, it’s no secret that i relish the art of the deal. so i was just tickled to see our goal getter fitspiration journal ever-so-proudly gracing the glossy pages of SELF magazine’s july/august olympics issue - in an article about negotiating like a boss, no less. it got this (girl) boss thinking: if negotiating with mass retailers (or anyone, for that matter) were an olympic sport, which 3 strategies would win the medal? in the spirit of the olympic games, here are my top 3 goal(d) medal tactics to negotiate #likeaBOSS:
play on your strengths: i don't see myself as an underdog, nor do i see being a small, woman-owned business as a weakness. on the contrary, the key characteristics that set us apart are exactly why we've seen success. yes, we're woman-owned: that means i know my customer, my market, and frankly, guess who makes 98% of household buying decisions? yep: the ladies. my buyers know that i get it because i don't just create products that i hope fly off the shelves; i create them specifically for the customer who will end up buying it - because i know her, i relate to her, i AM her. yes, we're a small(er) business, but we don't play small. the benefit of not being a big behemoth is we have cat-like reflexes to respond to last-minute requests; we literally can create products overnight (albeit, sleepless nights, but that's how we roll), and we're nimble nellies to figuring out how to meet demands that seem otherwise impossible. (...annnnd now i have the childhood nursery rhyme "cat be nimble, cat be quick" stuck in my head). ok, but seriously. let's be real: in business (and in life), some people make assumptions or underestimate you based on perception. rather than dwell, use that to dominate. it's like a secret sneak-attack tactic! when negotiating, oftentimes perceived weaknesses can actually play to your advantage.
know your (self) worth: there is no lack of options when it comes to products that my retailers can carry - but it's my job to convince them to carry ours. i always walk into every buyer meeting confidently, with a bullet-pointed, perfectly-formatted presentation that outlines why they need us - why we're worth it. i name-drop like nobody's business. i know our sell-through rates like the back of my hand. i know the industry, my competitors, the costs, and the metrics inside + out. i’m confident in what we bring to the table. what sets you apart in negotiations is your confidence in what you have to offer - and irrefutable proof that they not only want you, but they can't NOT have you. but beware: knowing your worth is drastically different than having an air of ignorance. approach each negotiation with bold confidence - and kindness.
push/pull to a creative compromise: yes, you want to reel 'em in...convince them that the deal (with you) is worth the effort, but don't be afraid to push back. the person who is willing to walk will almost always win. when i'm dealing with big box retailers like target + walgreens, of course i don't want to walk away from deals! are you serious? i call 'em my sugar daddy for a reason: they pay the bills! BUT, i also don't want to go into deals that will negatively impact our brand image, bottom line, or operational efficiencies. oftentimes deals are set in stone - and then little things pop up piece-by-piece that chip away at the original structure of the deal. it's then that i have to weigh the pros + cons, but also go back with alternatives and options to reach a win-win for both parties. you must be willing to put your foot down to maintain integrity, because if you say yes to every request, then it's not even a negotiation situation. wisdom is knowing when to say yes, when to walk away, and when to creatively compromise.
the secret to any negotiation is this: have a very clearly defined goal in mind. is it to win just for winning's sake? good luck with that one. is it to be right? probably not a good approach. capitalize on your strengths, be confident in what you have to offer, and go in with an ultimate goal of reaching a win-win, and you up your odds of winning gold every single time.
so whether you’re goin’ for the gold, or just need to summon a little extra mettle, these tactics will definitely get you to the finish line in tip-top shape. want more olympic-inspired insights? check out what competing in sports taught these 8 entrepreneurs about successfully running a business - including yours truly!
In a race, in life, and in business, you may not always outpace the competition, but I've learned that what matters isn't speed, size, or success, but an insane amount of perseverance.
what's your goal(d) medal tactic for negotiating #likeaBOSS? i wanna send one of you a copy of our now-famous goal getter fitspiration journal signed by yours truly...in gold. all you have to do? comment below + share this blog post on social media (tag me!). ready?
let the games begin.