On the morning of August 28th, 2018 Odell Beckham Jr. signed a record-breaking deal worth $95 million with the New York Giants. You don’t have to be a sports fan to see this is an astronomical sum of money. But in the wake of the contract signing, Giants General Manager, Dave Gettleman, was not signing Odell Beckham Jr’s praises on the field, but those of Zeke Sandhu, Beckham’s agent. “It was great negotiating”, was about all Gettleman could muster.
You don’t have to be a professional sports agent to walk away from negotiations with the best deal possible. Part art form, part science, negotiating is an underrated skill to have. Everything is negotiable; it is just a matter of how taxing and difficult the negotiation is.
But few people excel in contract negotiation settings. Many people fall into the same pitfalls and mistakes. These five contract negotiation tips will ensure, like Zeke Sandhu, you walk away from every negotiation confident you got the best deal available.
Take Your Time
The vast majority of people would rather settle for a bad deal than spend time at the negotiating table. Whether a contract is legally binding for a lifetime, or even just a year or two, it is worth taking the time to hash out the best deal possible. Take your time and come to an agreement that you are happy with.
Get an Attorney
For high-stakes negotiations, sometimes it is best to call in the cavalry. An experienced attorney can be a valuable addition at your negotiating table. Choose an attorney that specialises in business law and has experience in negotiating substantial contracts, like Hampton & Royce, LC.
Use Current Market Prices to Help Your Argument
If you can draw on the industry standard practices and rates, or the current market prices to support your side of the negotiations, it puts the onus on the other party to demonstrate why the deal they are offering should not be considered the market standard. This gives you the edge and tips the balance in your favour. It demonstrates you are clearly asking for a “fair price” while the other party is trying to negotiate the upper hand.
Break it Into Sections
If you have a complex contract to negotiate, break it into sections. Start with the terms that will be easiest to negotiate. Once you have some momentum and have found common ground in the early stage of negotiations, the later stages become much easier. By the time the most challenging terms of the deal come to the table, both parties will have become invested in the deal and will be hoping to come to an acceptable arrangement.
Be Willing to Walk Away
It has been said that in any negotiation, your source of power derives from your ability to walk away from negotiations. If you can’t walk away and the other party senses that, they will use it as leverage to gain the upper hand.
Have a backup plan so you don’t feel the pressure in the negotiating room, and don’t be scared to walk away from negotiations if the terms are unacceptable.
Finally, bear in mind the wise words of John F. Kennedy. “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate”. Keep your end goal in sight at all times to secure a better deal on each and every negotiation.