How do you negotiate with a startup

Current start-up dates

1. Say goodbye to the harmony sauce

Many negotiations are factual: you exchange arguments and find a consensus or at least a compromise. But there are also other negotiations that threaten to get out of hand because the other person is acting unfairly. Negotiating is like boxing without a referee to protect you. With both-and-wischi-washi you won't get any further here. In this case, the plain text variant must and may be a card that you draw without being defamed as testosterone Schröder with only Basta! After all, for you it is not about anything other than your professional existence.


2. Become a "negotiation homeopath"

Process the opponent with the "homeopathic negotiation strategy". Adapt your negotiation style to the other person, reward you like with like. Let's assume a banker is putting you under pressure - he knows that you need the loan to set up a business. So he's acting unfairly, and that relieves you of the obligation to be considerate: "Good, if you don't want to risk getting a good deal with me - there are other banks too." Certainly, not a safe undertaking. Escalation threatens. But meeting the unfair negotiator with an unconditional will to come to an agreement will get you nowhere. That means: you start with the will to cooperate, but as soon as the negotiating partner moves to the camp of an opponent and pulls harder strings, you defend yourself. If he comes back to himself, you too will again become a fan of the reconciliation of interests.


3. Define your goals and the scope for negotiation

Do you know that? Prominent boxing match, the pre-press conference at which the boxers attack each other, their full-bodied sayings while weighing? Almost every boxer promises to knock out the opponent. To beat, therefore, formulates an optimal goal. And if it is then "only" enough to win on points, that's okay too. What does that mean for you? Differentiate consistently between your main goals - these are your musts - and your secondary goals, i.e. the wants and nice-to-haves. The latter are the areas in which you can accommodate the negotiating partner and possibly lure them with concessions. Always define a desired or optimal goal and a minimum goal. You are familiar with this procedure from price negotiations, when you set an upper and a lower price limit in order to finally land on the target price, which is mostly in the infamous golden mean. Our recommendation: Open up the broadest possible negotiation corridor. Start with the maximum goal, which you understand as a tactical goal that you don't necessarily have to achieve. The following applies to concessions: Before the negotiation, think carefully about which concessions you want to make. Choose areas where it won't hurt you to come towards you. A pleasant side effect: With concessions you lull your counterpart into security. He thinks he has you down, you are already giving in! But then you relentlessly assert your interests on the points of negotiation that are of the greatest importance to you.


4. Influence the agenda

Who writes stays. Whoever (prescribes) the agenda items and specifies the TOPs steers the conversation in his own direction. But what if the negotiating partner sets the agenda, for example the bank employee who is negotiating the loan with you? Under no circumstances should you accept the TOPs without being contradicted if something does not suit you. When the agenda is presented to you in the opening phase, study the TOPs carefully and note immediately if you consider changes to be inevitable. An example from the repertoire of the unfair negotiating opponent: Sometimes the other side appears in a team of two or even with several negotiators. That was not agreed - obviously the other side wants to unsettle you, hold you in a pincer and put you on the defensive due to the majority of those involved in the negotiation. Her reaction: “That is not specified in the agenda when naming the participants. Either you reduce your team or I exercise the right to call in a consultant as well! ”If it does not work: Clarify who the negotiator is on the other side and always speak to this person.


5. Fragumentation instead of argumentation

Your attitude is right (see strategy 1 and 2), you know your goals (strategy 3), you have aligned the agenda in your interests (strategy 4) - now it's about your behavior in the tough negotiation itself. The decisive factor is: If you reveal too much about yourself, your expectations and goals, you give the other person scope to nail you down. You have to prevent that. Otherwise, the negotiating partner will always commit you to what has already been said. Therefore: ask more questions than you talk and in this way keep your options open for as long as possible. Avoid stipulations and concretizations, negotiate from the (negotiation) center of the ring. The motto is: Fragumentation instead of argumentation. Every argument you put forward is material into which the negotiating partner can sink the barb of his objections. The more you argue, the more game material you make available to him to say no to and to refute. By asking questions, you get them to take a stand and reveal information that gives you the opportunity to come forward with your arguments. The art you have to master: dress your statements in questions. You can practice this in advance, specifically in relation to the subject of the negotiation. And when the negotiating partner makes statements, you consistently drill down with questions. Of course: you counter questions with counter questions. What if you have to make an argument? Then directly follow up with a question: "What do you think about that?"


6. Prepare for confusion

Your negotiating partner will probably try to unsettle you a little now and then. It is popular to put you under time pressure, to issue an ultimatum or to raise an additional demand, although an agreement has already appeared on the negotiating horizon. "If you come to me now on ..., we will agree!" However: This aspect is not one of the areas in which you have planned concessions (see strategy 3). Reject such additional demands: “We had long since agreed on this point. Less than half an hour ago you said ... Let's go through the points discussed again. ”The example shows: It is wise to take notes on the most important points during the negotiation. In this way you can prove when he made which statement.


7. Optimize your strengths management

When dealing with the tough opponent, your ability to focus on your own strengths and the weaknesses of the other side is important. Invest a good portion of thought wax in the preparation - you need to know everything about the weaknesses of the opponent. And then analyze your competencies, optimize your hitting hand, improve your leading hand - and meet the opponent confidently and with great confidence in your strengths. After all, you have come a long way on the way to founding your company - you should clarify that now. People with low expectations of self-efficacy attribute achievement of goals to chance. They interpret failure as personal failure. With the help of a success diary, in which you describe the part of your successes in detail, and a detailed analysis of your strengths, you can prove to yourself what substantial part your skills and your achievements have played in your founding progress.


8. Counter unfair attacks at the factual level

It already sounded: In most negotiations there are hot phases in which you are confronted with unfairness. Now at the latest you have to deal with an opponent. Basically: Beware of impulsive reactions, stay cool and matter-of-fact. With his unfair approach, the opponent exposes one thing above all: himself. We recommend distinguishing between attacks at the factual level and the relationship level. The negotiating party doubts the facts, summarizes the conversation incorrectly, cites earlier agreements that were never made. The best thing to do is to become a ZDF person who works with numbers, data and facts. Ask for evidence and evidence to support the allegations made by the opponent. Take the wind out of his sails by uncovering the contradictions in which he is entangled.


9. Counter unfair attacks on the relationship level

Of course, on the relationship level, it is more difficult to be objective when faced with attacks. If the opponent attacks you and accuses you of not telling the truth, it is expedient to raise the conversation to the level of metacommunication. Negotiating is now final like boxing. Make the unfair approach the subject of the conversation: "I firmly reject your permanent attacks and ask you why you need to negotiate like this ..." And then consider what specific bargaining power you have to start the counterattack : Do you know of any personal problems that your opponent is struggling with in his company? For example in dealing with the management? Are there any power struggles he has become involved in that you can use to defend yourself against his brutal attacks? If these tips go too far for you, keep in mind: You are in a war of negotiations, so it may be necessary to behave drastically. We therefore recommend that you check such things in the preparation period so that you can use them if the other party forces you to do so.


10. Prepare for the showdown

The most important goal in the final phase is to establish binding force and conclude with a concrete result and to bring about an agreement. We cannot anticipate what the result will look like here. Certainly: you wanted to achieve all of your goals. But you know: this ideal negotiation result rarely comes about. Please note in the final phase:

  • If your interest in the factual outcome and the quality of the relationship with the negotiating partner - for whatever reasons - is weak, you can proceed differently than if it is the other way round, i.e. you have a high interest in a good result and a stable relationship with the negotiating partner .
  • If you are in a difficult negotiation with a very important partner, you should consider whether it would not be wiser to give in on the matter and accept a worse result, so not to scare off the strategically interesting negotiating partner.

Last but not least: Always off to the training camp. Tough negotiations lead to learning and development processes that will help you as an entrepreneur. Because you are constantly facing challenges that require negotiating strength and the ability to assert your interests. That is why you should refresh, perfect and practice your negotiation skills over and over again in a type of boxing-your-way training.