9 Chestnut Grove, SW12 8JA
Ian Baxter, Chairman and founder of Baxter Freight, shares his insights on the power of persuasion
Negotiation is at the heart of life. It’s so important they should teach it in school. As well as in business, most days I have to negotiate with my wife, my children and even our dogs! They (the dogs that is) are much keener to come in from the garden if I use a treat to ease the deal.
Plenty of people have told me over the years they don’t feel confident enough to negotiate. However, in my view we all need to learn the basic skills set out below. I hope you will find them useful… and that you never use them to get the better of me.
- Have options: The best tool for getting the best deal occurs outside of the negotiation altogether. If you want the best deal then you have to be prepared to walk away. If you are selling a product, buying a house or arguing for a pay rise it’s so much easier if you are reconciled to the possibility of failure as well as being focused on success. Without a Plan B you’ll never come across as confident and relaxed enough to win.
- Be well informed: Doing your research is vital. The more information you have the better things will go. These days the internet has information on almost any subject so there is no excuse. If other companies pay better salaries or if the nicer house down the street sold for less three months ago you have to know this and use it to support your position.
- Develop a Plan: It’s no good entering a negotiation just contemplating what you would like to have – you have to anticipate the needs and desires of the other person and what their position will be. If you say X they will most likely say Y and so on. If they say Y how will you respond?
- Expect to haggle: Not everyone expects to negotiate about everything but if you buy a car, a house or take a new job there is often scope to get a better deal. As an employer myself I can tell you that I would never think badly of someone trying to negotiate with me. Whether they would succeed is another matter!
- Be friendly: Whilst some people may prefer to be formal I always think it’s better if people want to do a deal with me because they think (correctly) that I’m a nice guy.
- Ask questions: I always like to ask the questions many are too embarrassed to ask. If you have any chance to find out how much the other person wants to do the deal, do it. The more direct and open the questions and the more background you can find out the better. Be careful though not to push your counterparty to give you their bottom line because it may not really be their position yet they may feel bound to defend it. Remember to listen carefully to the answers and study the body language too.
- Let them go first: If possible get your counterpart to make the first move e.g: ‘I know this is the asking price but what reduction could you offer?’ Once they’ve made their first concession try to get them to make the next one as well.
- Be Bold: Don’t be afraid to ask for much more than you want or to offer much less than you are prepared to pay. You can always adjust your position later and you never know you might just get what you ask for.
- Take your time: The use of breaks from negotiation, time-out to seek advice from third parties or even putting talks on hold are all great ways to test the resolve of your counterparty. Silence also works spectacularly well. Say you’re disappointed with the offer and then shut up and see what happens next.
- Don’t be too greedy: As the US billionaire oil magnate and anglophile J Paul Getty said: “You must never try to make all the money that’s in a deal. Let the other fellow make some money too, because if you have a reputation for always making all the money, you won’t have many deals.”
By Darren Leigh, Founder, Leighmans.com
Corporate gifting is a valuable business practice that delivers the goods in more ways than one. As part of a considered marketing programme it can help to create new relationships, enhance existing ones and offers a cost-effective way to recognise clients and key members of staff in a meaningful way. It’s a two-way street paved with tinsel, what you sow, so shall you reap.
Gifts vs. incentives
It’s important to make the distinction between a corporate gift and an incentive. Both have their place in business, but are very different animals. An incentive programme is used to reward defined levels of activity like sales targets or attendance, whereas a corporate gift is far more subtle and should be viewed as a long-term process of relationship-building. It’s vital to ensure your recipient doesn’t feel like they’re being bribed or expected to jump through hoops, instead, they should feel valued and appreciated. In this way, the spirit of goodwill will turn full circle.
The five golden rules
1) Give gifts they actually want
Indulge in some forward planning and get to know your clients, customers and staff throughout the year. When the festive period approaches, you’ll have an idea of what they like, hobbies etc. and can incorporate this into their perfect present. Go for quality – spend the maximum your budget will allow. It pays dividends in the long run because whatever you give reflects back on your image. Research by the BPMA (British Promotional Merchandise Association) found that promotional products were twice as likely to make people feel appreciated, when compared with all other forms of advertising put together (print, online, direct mail and TV).
Make it useful, something clients will reach for on a regular basis (like a pen or a unique USB stick) and when they do, they’ll think of your company with a warm and cosy glow. Avoid cheap, useless items, which will be thrown in the back of the drawer or binned on receipt, quicker than you can say ‘Santa’s Sack’!
2) Compliance & culture
Some companies will have a gift policy limiting certain types of gifts or maybe the upper value of them and in some cases, gifts are strictly forbidden. It’s worth a call to HR to check this out to ensure you don’t end up with egg nog on your face. This will also give you the chance to work out an alternative way to make clients feel special. The same goes for culture – different countries and cultures have their own unique take on gifting, for example in China if you wrap a gift in white it symbolises death, so well worth undertaking some simple research to avoid a festive faux pas!
Even when you’ve done your research, finding the ideal corporate gift these day is no mean task. With literally thousands of suppliers offering every kind of gift and experience you can imagine, how do you choose the perfect present? Individual personalisation is key. Every wise man and woman would be well advised to focus on the personal touch this festive season. When a gift includes someone’s name, initials or something meaningful to them, it transcends the ordinary. Not only does it make the recipient feel good, but it reflects well on the gift giver too. It may well be the thought that counts, but sometimes you have to spell it out in words – engraved, embossed or screen-printed.
Indulgent products are the order of the day for Christmas gifting – popular choices include keepsakes and luxury items, like sleek Cross pens, luxurious leather notebooks, sparkling crystal awards & drinkware, innovative gadgets, sumptuous hampers and delicious chocolates & confectionary. Gifts don’t need to cost an arm and a leg to be special, that’s the beauty of personalisation and high quality branding.
4) Spread the festive cheer
You have a limited budget but need to buy gifts for everyone in the department. Instead of resorting to the cheap, useless route, go for something the whole office can share. It will raise morale and lend some sparkle to the week before Christmas. Hampers, confectionary, chocolates and fruit baskets are fantastic crowd-pleasers. But if you really want to indulge in one to one, think about small but perfectly formed notebooks in a range of colours, creatively-branded with a personal message – think clever or classy rather than cheesy, unless your client is in the business of fromage.
5) The fairy on top
Finishing touches maketh the gift. If you’ve opted for personalisation, you’re nine tenths of the way, but including a hand-written card and delivering personally, is a nice extra touch to ensure you stay top of mind with your best clients.
Out Of Office Magazine reviews The Latchmere – a spectacular public house and garden lying close to the river in the heart of Battersea.
The Latchmere was only renovated four months ago and it shows. Not only are the staff smiling and attentive, their food is first class and reasonably priced.
The menu is where the Latchmere excels itself as it showcases its dedication to all things meat – from their own home-cured British charcuterie, to their wide range of steaks, all aged in-house, as well as their succulent chicken and pork.
The chorizo scotch egg starter, which comes with a delicious truffle mayonnaise, was a particular highlight. We chose a full-bodied Rioja to accompany the seven hour pressed pork belly main, which was incredibly delicious but only left a little room for the Irish coffee cheesecake. The dessert, which is served with a shot of amaretto, certainly has the wow factor and creates a fantastic finish. For those with any room left, the British cheese board is delicious and big enough for two.
What? A hidden gem of a restaurant in the heart of Battersea.
Why choose The Latchmere? Thanks to its laid back vibe but decent, classy food it’s ideal for a meeting place for staff or client drinks or just catching up with friends.
503 Battersea Park Rd, Battersea, London SW11 3BW
020 7223 3549
Out Of Office Magazine reviews the Radisson Blu in Liverpool – a stylish hotel with a bar, restaurant and spa, a short walk away from the bustling town centre of the city
The hotel is a short walk from the town centre and perfectly placed to allow residents to explore the various popular attractions such as the Albert Docks, The Maritime Museum and Tate Liverpool. With high-speed wifi, restaurant and spa, and a stones throw from the town centre it’s also great for business travellers.
All staff members are very helpful and happy to assist with any query. The hotel is comfortable, clean and stylish.
What? A hotel with a bar, Italian restaurant and spa, with 194 uniquely designed guest rooms and suites including the exclusive River Suite, the largest hotel room in Liverpool.
Why choose Radisson Blu? A well respected chain of hotels and resorts with fantastic facilities in a range of locations around the world.
107 Old Hall Street, L3 9BD, Liverpool, United Kingdom
0151 966 1500