The life of a fashion entrepreneur is filled with negotiation. Right from the beginning stages of your brand till its established stage, negotiation is always in the picture. You will need to negotiate with customers, vendors, investors, and even business partners.
One of the major places your negotiation skills as a fashion entrepreneur come into play is when striking major deals for your fashion brand with other businesses. This could be a deal to gain you better visibility, penetrate new markets, or win over new customers. Whatever the aim of your deal is, how well you negotiate will determine what you get. Here are 7 techniques to help you negotiate effectively with potential business partners.
Techniques to Negotiate Fashion Business Deals Effectively
1. Do Your Research
As a fashion entrepreneur, research is the first step to take before going into a negotiation with anyone. You have to know every important detail about the company you want to do business with. This includes details of their clients, products, competitors, market trends and so on.
All of this helps you know their strengths and weaknesses so you know exactly how to go about the negotiation. It helps you understand how your fashion brand fits into their vision and goals so you know how to present yourself. Research, generally, helps you know what strategy to use during the negotiation.
For example, if you want to go into an influencer marketing deal with a fashion influencer, you must understand certain things about them. Is their audience the same as your target market? What edge does this person have over other fashion influencers? How well does their audience respond to them? All of these will inform the strategy you use to negotiate with them.
2. Understand the Goal of the Negotiation
Before going into a negotiation with anyone, you must know the goal of the negotiation. Know what exactly it is you want to leave the deal with. Sit with yourself and discover what the most ideal result is and what line you cannot fall below in the deal.
This is why your opening offer is very important. In it, you state all the important details of the deal for the other party to see. Some of the details in an opening offer are the offer price, fashion products included, delivery time, terms and conditions, and so on.
You can set the stage for the negotiation with your opening offer if you are the one initiating it. This is why you must understand what exactly the goal of the negotiation is.
For example, as a footwear designer trying to strike a deal with movie producers, you must understand the aim of the deal. You need to know what exactly you want to get out of the deal, do you want all their male characters to wear your outfits or just a specific type of character? Make this clear so the partnership portrays your brand right.
3. Listen Actively and Ask the Right Questions
Listening is an important skill for negotiation. As a fashion entrepreneur, listening can give you insight into things you never knew before. When listening, don’t think of what to say next, just pay attention to what the other party is saying.
Through listening, you can find out things you didn’t pick initially during the research stage. By listening, you can gather points that will help you make the most out of the negotiation process. After listening, paraphrase and repeat to them what they have said to show you understand. It makes them believe you value their opinion.
Listening also helps you decide if you want to do business with the person or not because it exposes who they are to you.
From your research and all you have listened to, note the questions you want to ask. Ask questions boldly and don’t be shy to clarify on matters you are unsure about.
4. Negotiate with the Right Person
Before you start any negotiation, ensure that you are negotiating with the right person. The person that has the right to make a decision. This is important because negotiating with a middle man will waste valuable time and delay the process of coming to a conclusion.
So, always ask you to speak to the person with the right authority. It makes negotiation much easier and less frustrating.
5. Be Prepared to Walk Away
As a fashion entrepreneur, always enter negotiation with the mindset that you are willing to walk away if things don’t go as planned. This way, you will be operating from a position of strength. If you go in hinging all your hope on the deal, you might end up with a bad deal.
This is why you need to know the goal of the negotiation in the first place. When you go into the negotiation on neutral grounds, you can make clearer and more balanced decisions. You will be able to discard any deal that doesn’t benefit you and move on.
6. Make Sure Everyone Wins
A successful deal means everyone wins. You cannot go into a deal with the mindset that one of you might lose, it won’t work. This is why you need to understand how your strengths and weaknesses can come together to complement one another.
Don’t allow yourself to be bullied into a corner or try to back the other party into a corner. By listening and asking the right questions, you can always find ways to meet the other party halfway.
7. Know When and How to Close the Deal
In negotiation, time is of the essence. As a fashion entrepreneur, you need to be sincere and straightforward with your negotiation. Don’t waste town on unimportant details and don’t beat around the bush when asked questions. The longer a negotiation drags on, the less likely it is to happen.
Once a stroke a bargain that makes sense to you both, be ready to close the deal. It doesn’t have to be perfect but when you get to the point where you both have gotten what you expected to get out of the bargain, be ready to close the deal.
Whatever happens, always remember that the best deals don’t always come with the best price. Also, never forget to involve professionals in all your negotiation processes.