How to conduct successful contract negotiations in one day. 9 extremely effective ways to speed up negotiations.

Piotr Kłodziński|
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How to conduct successful contract negotiations in one day.

9 extremely effective methods and techniques for quickly conducting negotiations that you can use, even if you are not a lawyer or professional business negotiator.

 

Since you're here, you're probably wondering - how to speed up contract negotiations?

In business, negotiations are the basic way of concluding more important commercial contracts. In protracted negotiations of these minor and essential clauses of the contract, successive versions and amendments are sent back and forth. This usually causes both parties to quickly become frustrated, or even worse, simply tired. Unfortunately, negotiating contracts is a complicated process that goes through various stages. Negotiation strategies are one thing, but what should be taken into account, above all, is the time-varying, different levels of participants' motivation. And respond to them appropriately.

Some legal and business negotiations of individual contracts and their provisions drag on forever. This is the sad characteristic of this bureaucratic side of business. However, if we really care, this process can be significantly improved by properly using knowledge about the principles of effective legal and business negotiations.

Because we lead A law firm specializing in contract negotiations throughout the country, we decided to share some of the knowledge acquired in various projects in this article. Below, we describe in 9 points how to conduct effective negotiations in business, and above all, how to do it as quickly as possible.

The passage of time usually does not benefit either party in negotiations. Moreover, every even slightly experienced businessman knows that concluding a good contract does not depend on the number of days the parties devoted to legal or business negotiations.

Briefly – what is the definition of negotiation? Are business negotiations the same as sales talks?

From a business point of view, yes, actually. By the process that we describe as concluding commercial contracts, we basically understand any negotiation of contracts and activities aimed at concluding a B2B transaction, i.e. concluded between entrepreneurs.

The methods described in this article will work regardless of whether the talks or negotiations are more of a legal or commercial nature and whether they concern a container of nails, the delivery of photovoltaic panels, photographic services, or the rental of an office premises for 5 years. Negotiation techniques are universal, although the negotiation strategies themselves are usually highly adapted to the subject of the negotiation.

As a side note, we would like to point out that a significant part of our proposals aimed at accelerating negotiations may apply not only when negotiating business contracts, but also to contracts concluded by natural persons who do not run a business, i.e. individual clients.

The most important truth is that few things are as important for business as time. As Benjamin Franklin said, "time is money" and any longer delay in implementing a project, concluding a transaction or starting cooperation means real losses. These losses most often affect both sides of the negotiating table. Unfortunately, both parties to the negotiations are not always aware of this. Fortunately, there are negotiation techniques that - with a little good will of the participants in this process - allow you to speed up and finalize contract negotiations even in one day. Reaching an agreement quickly, without significantly increasing the risk of breaking off negotiations, does not have to be difficult - read our guide.

Here are our 9 effective solutions to speed up business negotiations:

 

1. Propose your contract template. If possible, present a design as simple as possible.

If you initiate legal contract negotiations and you have the opportunity, start by sending your own contract template. Regardless of whether you are negotiating a contract extension or a completely new contract. The first offer should come from you, which will put you in a better starting position for further negotiations.

Sending your own contract template is a tactic that works perfectly in the case of simple transactions and those that are somewhat standardized - for example, the most typical contracts for your company. The simpler the structure and less complicated the provisions of the contract, the easier it will be to reach an agreement.

If your primary goal is quick conclusion of contracts commercial projects, avoid unnecessary contractual provisions in the submitted projects and focus only on key issues in order to complete the negotiations and sign the contract as quickly as possible. A good contract template is one whose provisions address only real problems. Contract clauses referring to problems that do not occur in the real world are the best signal that it's time to ask a lawyer to prepare a new, better contract template. But more about this at the end of the article.

We have contact with various clients - those who make the largest transaction in their lives for several hundred thousand zlotys and those who trade millions every day. Trust us - if you ask a very wealthy businessman about ways to achieve similar success and the criteria for assessing negotiations, you will hear that time is the key to solving the puzzle. However, to save time, you need to make as many things and processes simpler as possible.

2. Plan the negotiation and conclusion of the contract process with the other party for the day. Agree on short response times.

When starting business negotiations or simply wanting to speed up the process of signing a contract, propose and strictly enforce short deadlines for submitting corrections. For example, say that you will send your proposal at 10 a.m. and ask the other party to set a deadline by which you will have to wait to receive a response, e.g. 2 p.m. This is one of the methods that allows you to quickly reach an agreement, complete negotiations and conclude a contract.

Don't be afraid to call the other party - effective negotiations and reaching an agreement are based on conversation. And instead of making unnecessary reproaches, use positive language such as: I see that my corrections are quite a puzzle for you, which you will still have to solve?

You can also try constructively: probably the biggest problem for you is with XYZ - we can discuss this issue right away, because we really want to formally start cooperation today. If we sort this out, will there be anything left for us?

3. If you want to conclude a contract quickly, meet your deadlines.

The secret of effective negotiations is punctuality. If you do not meet the deadlines, the other party will also feel released from this obligation. Therefore, it is important to meet your own deadlines in negotiations. If you miss the deadlines, you will undermine your credibility with the other party, who will then stop taking you and the deadlines seriously. You need to show that meeting deadlines is easy, so it is a good idea to send your draft contracts or any corrections you make - half an hour or an hour before the promised deadline. The introduction of such a regime is one of the most effective negotiation strategies, which, paradoxically, the other party usually appreciates.

4. To speed up commercial and legal negotiations, improve the communication process. Agree to use the simplest and fastest forms of communication.

E-mail is still a very fast way of communication, but even e-mails are often treated as a way of communication that is becoming obsolete and even makes it difficult to conduct effective negotiations.

Instead of communicating via e-mail, you can arrange direct communication with your negotiation partner via instant messengers such as WhatsApp, Messenger, or Slack. When recipients receive a message on an instant messenger, they feel more compelled to respond quickly. Each of the mentioned messengers also allows you to easily send another version of the draft contract to the other party. This will increase the pace of negotiations, bringing mutual benefits.

5. Carry out the next stages of negotiations as soon as possible. Schedule a final meeting or conference call in advance to resolve any recent discrepancies.

If you conduct business negotiations remotely, plan a mandatory video conference at the end of the negotiation day. And if you have direct contact with the other party, it is best to meet at an agreed place.

Such a final meeting allows you to directly clarify all recent doubts and controversial issues and summarize the arrangements made by both parties. Most often, it is a direct conversation that allows for quick resolution of existing discrepancies, a clear explanation of one's arguments and the signing of a contract. If possible, keep the conversation in a friendly atmosphere and ask open questions - they will force the other party to explain and perhaps change their initial views. And this is the goal of effective negotiations.

6. Use modern technologies. Business negotiations and conclusion of commercial contracts online. Live tracking of contract negotiation progress.

Modern technologies are useful not only for concluding commercial contracts remotely, but also for stationary meetings. It is best to introduce changes to the negotiated contract in real time, immediately when all parties to the negotiations are present.

During professional negotiations, it is best to display the draft contract so that everyone can see it. Also during video conferencing, you can also work together on a document online and view and make corrections on the fly. This will allow all meeting participants to follow changes live, which greatly speeds up the entire process of business or legal negotiations.

7. Ensure that all parties to the negotiations and all necessary persons attend the final meeting.

If you want these negotiations to be extremely effective, ensure the presence of all decision-makers and necessary advisors - lawyers, accountants, bankers, etc. The lack of key people is one of the main reasons for delays in the negotiation process. Proper negotiation meetings should always take place in the presence of all decision-makers, this significantly speeds up the end of the negotiations.

8. Do not discuss the provisions of the negotiated contract that do not pose a threat to you.

Don't waste time on disputes over contractual clauses that do not actually apply to you or do not pose a real risk. For example, when negotiating a lease, do not discuss the amount of the penalty for not taking over the premises if you have an appointment to collect the keys the next day anyway, or the keys are basically lying on the table. At the same time, identify well the limits of the concessions you can afford.

Whether we want it or not, representatives of the other side of the negotiations very often consult with lawyers or bosses about changing every contractual provision, although not all of them apply to every transaction. Therefore, negotiating some of them, i.e. those that are unfavorable but essentially improbable, does not make much sense.

In turn, consulting each change with a lawyer obviously makes sense, because sometimes deleting one word literally destroys the structure of half of the contract. The problem, however, is that a bad, sad, but true custom of commercial negotiations is that the parties often present old contract templates, often completely unsuitable for a given transaction.

To speed up contract negotiations and to save money, future contractors often choose to skip the stage at which they commission a lawyer to adapt the draft contract to the transaction before sending such a draft to the other party. This saves time is doubtful, especially since it usually ends with the involvement of a lawyer in the later stages of negotiations.

Although we sometimes hear that this is due to the party's lawyer not responding quickly enough. Then you need to work on it with him. Contrary to popular belief, fast and effective legal services are achievable. And quick and effective negotiations are something your company really needs, since you've come here.

lawyer negotiator checking the contract

9. A lawyer-negotiator will be useful. If necessary, find an effective contract lawyer, i.e. one who has extensive experience in business negotiations.

If concluding a given contract is complicated or very important to your interests, or its value is high, it is definitely worth considering hiring a lawyer specializing in negotiating contracts. However, you must have a good sense of whether you have found a lawyer who 'creates and multiplies' problems or, on the contrary, helps to solve them quickly.

The negotiation and business experience of a lawyer who feels and understands the needs of business may allow both parties to save or earn more by proposing favorable solutions and contractual provisions. The key here are not secret negotiation techniques, but experience gained in business, creativity and understanding of the client's needs - key skills that allow you to end negotiations as quickly and as advantageously as possible.

It is worth realizing that a good negotiator in business is not the one who tries to harm the other party. A good negotiator is one who helps both parties reach a favorable agreement. This means that, above all, it effectively searches for solutions and areas where the interests of both parties coincide. A good business lawyer quickly identifies sensitive or conflict situations. And it introduces convenient solutions into the contract that enable solving difficult, conflict situations as quickly and easily as possible.

Summary – how to speed up business and legal negotiations

To conduct or unblock negotiations, a mix of creative legal and business solutions is most often needed. In combination with them, firm and decisive actions to overcome stagnation will work best. This is a recipe that works regardless of whether you are negotiating a contract extension or a completely new contract.

In addition to well-tailored negotiation tactics and strategies, we also need thoughtful lawyers and determined clients to effectively conduct business negotiations. Yes, of course you are also welcome to contact or arrange an initial consultation. If we have available dates, we will be happy to help, even with a single case.

However, if you want to achieve permanent acceleration and optimization of negotiation processes related to concluding commercial contracts in your company, we encourage you to carry out such a project with us. We will help you comprehensively carry out and implement it from A to Z. The difference will be significant.

We believe that it is also thanks to transparent, legal templates of commercial contracts that our clients achieved much more and much faster than they expected. Many companies have grown precisely because they have optimized the contracting process to such an extent that it is no longer a headache for business managers.

author: legal advisor Piotr Kłodzińskibusiness negotiator, contract lawyer

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