Some enjoy the art of making deals, negotiating agreements and contracts may not be a source of worry. The debate and discussion between current and future partners may be an exciting part of owning a business.

For business owners who are new to negotiation or who struggle with how to stay in control of the conversation, negotiating can be overwhelming.

Here are some signs that a negotiation is not going well (and what to do about it).

They are asking for something they know you cannot do

There are times during a negotiation where you ask for more than you expect to get. For example, you might ask for a lower price, intending to meet somewhere in the middle.

Often, a sign the other party is about to abandon the negotiation is when they ask for something they know you cannot do. If you are caught off guard, it puts you in an awkward position while letting them save face.

If you are in the position where someone is making an unrealistic request, try to take the conversation back to the last point where you agreed so you can go from there. As much as possible, you want to get an understanding of what the other party wants and help guide the conversation back to something positive.

Settling too soon

Getting to the end of the negotiation too fast is a mistake that can happen on both ends of the table. While one or both of you may want to get to the result, getting there without covering the details can be problematic.

If you suspect the other person is trying to settle too soon, try some of the following approaches:

  • Ask if they need to reschedule for another time. They may be moving quickly because they are in a hurry.
  • Make sure they understand the details of the deal. The other party may rush through the parts of the deal that they do not understand.
  • Find out if there are other members of their team who need to be part of the conversation. People who do not have the final say may rush one part of the negotiation so they can hand it off to the next person.

When both parties fully understand each other, a quick negotiation can be good for both parties. If the negotiation goes too quickly, however, the other party may not understand all the details of the deal and could proceed with unrealistic expectations.

A business negotiation should be an attempt to help both parties get what they need and feel successful. When you have a positive negotiation, you can look forward to a positive working relationship.