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In the corporate world, the person in charge of negotiations is often, by default, a department leader, the person in charge of the project, the CEO, or the business owner. Yet, there is no guarantee that they are most skilled in negotiation.

Have you ever gone to buy a car and invited a relative or friend to go with you because they are the best negotiator?

Following that example, it seems like the answer is simple, the best negotiator on the team should lead the negotiations. Yet, that isn’t always the case either. Notice that in the car example, the person buying the car doesn’t send the negotiator on their own. They go together.

That is because while the friend possesses deal-making skills, the buyer is the true stakeholder and decision-maker. No matter how great of a job the negotiator does, the deal cannot be fulfilled without stakeholder input and decision-maker approval. When negotiating an agreement, be sure to include the following people, if not directly at the negotiating table, at least in the process:

Relevant Stakeholders

Who will the agreement impact? What insight can they lend on requirements, including must-haves and nice-to-haves? Stakeholders often have key knowledge into what constitutes a favorable agreement.

Decision Makers

Who gets to decline or approve the agreement? The person or group with ultimate decision-making authority does not need to be present in the negotiations. However, they will need to be presented with all the terms of the agreement to provide final approval. To save time and avoid unnecessary back-and-forth discussions, it is essential that the person or team in charge of negotiations keenly understand the decision-maker and stakeholder needs, wants, and deal breakers.

Subject Matter Experts

There are situations in which the topic of negotiation is complex and not within your team’s collective knowledge. In those cases, you can benefit from seeking guidance from experts such as CPAs, Financial advisors, Tax Advisors, Attorneys, Technology Consultants, etc. Investing in expert knowledge can save you time, reduce risk, and save thousands, perhaps even millions, in costs.

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