3 Great Tips to Being a Better Negotiator
May 07, 2012 by DeDe Mulligan

negotiation

Every event requires some negotiation by meeting planners whether it is making a simple request, persuading organizations to sponsor the event, or taking a hard line on pricing with suppliers. Often times planners think they need to be like lawyers or used car salespersons; trying to take, take, take and be totally adversarial. But it doesn't have to be that way — there can be a different route to success. 

Here are 3 tips to effectively get what you want and develop a win-win proposition instead of a win-lose one.

Tip #1: Do Your Research.

If you are renting audio visual equipment or negotiating a room block, you need to know the range of pricing for that specific equipment, hotel brand, or destination. Knowledge is power and the more you know, the better able you are able to bring up specifics during the negotiating phase. 

Tip #2: Know the Difference Between What You Need and What You Want.

Here are some examples:

You boss told you the event budget NEEDS to be cut by 5% from last year's conference. You WANT the budget to be cut by 10% so you look good in your negotiating efforts. 

You NEED to issue a RFP to at least 3 event audio visual equipment companies. You WANT to stick with your existing provider, regardless of price, because you have a relationship with them. 

You NEED to obtain 5 silver sponsors for your annual meeting. You WANT to have a variety of sponsors, at different levels, for a total of 10 sponsors. 

Asking for what you want from a partner is okay but knowing what you need is more important and will keep you grounded during the negotiating cycle. Make certain you give organizations plenty of time to respond to your requests and be willing to compromise where needed. 

Tip #3: It Isn't All About Price.

Perhaps you are coordinating a training meeting for 200 employees. The corporate audio visual company you have chosen is standing firm on their pricing. You look at your research and other bids and realize their pricing is very competitive. But due to recent budget slashing in your department, you need more. What can you expect and how can you get it?

First, you need to be total honest with your supplier. Tell them the jam you are in and see what they can offer. You might be surprised. For example, perhaps they can offer more wireless mics or audio recording at no extra charge. 

Second, ask for the value of the offerings. Make sure your boss knows the items being comped and why they are valuable to the meeting. 

Third, being willing to flex and bend brings about a "win-win" solution and helps build better relationships with your partner. Remember, they have bosses too and have to justify their pricing to them as well. 

AV Event Solutions, a California meeting equipment provider, is all about the win-win! In order to get started on the RFP process, fill out their express quote form which will be answered in 4 business hours, guaranteed! 

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