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Five tips on becoming a smarter negotiator

Nick Coleman recommends some tried and tested tactics for securing great deals on goods and services.

Preparation is crucial to successful negotiation (Picture: iStock)
Preparation is crucial to successful negotiation (Picture: iStock)

Most GPs and practice managers deal with suppliers and service providers on a day-to-day basis. Whether you are haggling over costs, or applying for a bank loan, negotiating is about give and take.

Below are a few tips and ideas about how to become a better negotiator.

Cost-saving tips

1. Do your homework
Preparation is crucial. The party best prepared to negotiate is most likely to win. That means knowing exactly the outcome you want and understanding what the other party hopes for.

2. Display generosity
Sometimes the best way to get something is to give something first. When you make concessions, the people you are dealing with are more comfortable with you. The best concessions are those with a highly perceived value but which do not cost much.

3. Win without making others lose
We have all heard the term 'win-win situation' in relation to making successful deals.

But just because it is an over-used expression does not means it is invalid. So don't crow when you succeed.

4. Find a sounding board
Depending on the negotiation and what is at stake, emotions can run very high. To help you keep your stress levels down and under control, focus on the facts and background, and have a trusted adviser on hand.

5. Do as you would be done by
Keep to your side of the bargain if you want to receive value for money. For example, prompt payment (rather than paying as late as possible) is valuable to suppliers who may offer preferential pricing in return.

  • Nick Coleman is a director of healthcare sector procurement specialists ProCure Health Ltd

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