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Business English 1

    Part 1. Negotiation strategy

    How to get a concession on a price

    Since he was very flexible on warranty period, he used this as a bargaining chip to get concessions on delivery time.
    They are obviously using their good relationships with local government as a bargaining chip to try to negotiate exclusive rights to sell our product in this market.
    It’s too early in the negotiation to throw away bargaining chips – never give something up without getting something in return!

    Tactics usually refers to details, whereas strategy often refers to general principles.

    We always have to keep in mind our long-term strategy of building a good relationship.
    Tactical concerns include discount and delivery; using this client to establish a relationship in this new market is more of a strategic concern.
    It’s time to go beyond just thinking about short-term tactics and start considering long-term strategies.

    Our BATNA is what we will do if we don’t reach an agreement, so our bottom line – the worst possible agreement we can accept – should be better than that agreement, so our bottom line – the worst possible agreement we can accept – should be better than that.

    To determine our BATNA, we have to consider not just the other offers on the table, but also potential buyers that we haven’t yet talked to.
    Before you can determine your bottom line, you need to put a value on your best alternative.
    Sometimes your best alternative is to do nothing at all.
    Several not-so-obvious things go into deciding your BATNA, including the timing of the deal – a bird in the hand may be worth two in the bush.

    Deal sweeteners

    If we’re going to get them to agree to our offer, we’re going to have to think of some ways to sweeten the deal.
    Why don’t I sweeten the deal a little by increasing our discount by 1%?
    There’s a variety of deal sweeteners that we can use to make buying our company more attractive

     Agreement, compromise, and concessions with some example phrases

    If there’s going to be any agreement, it’s necessary for one of us to make a concession.
    The only way to reach a compromise is to make a concession.
    The negotiation was finally successful when the other party backed down and compromised on a key issue.

    Part 2. Negotiation strategy

    Discussing the element of strategy

    It’s not always obvious at first glance who the decision makers are.
    Often, there are more than just two parties to a negotiation – deals may be complex, and we must also consider government or shareholder involvement.
    It’s important to recognize the real parties to the negotiation and identify the key decision makers

     Discussing interests 

    I don’t think I really understand where he’s coming from on this issue.
    We asked them about their motives for the merger to get a feeling for where they were coming from.
    It’s not at all clear to me where she is coming from.


    After many mergers, the promised synergies fail to materialize, often because of cultural and management differences.
    A lot of what we are doing in negotiation is looking for synergies between our companies.
    Identifying synergy effects requires creative thinking.

    Creative thinking

    I particularly admire his ability to think outside the box – he’s very original.
    In many tough negotiations, it can really help if there is someone on both sides who can think outside the box.
    Often, finding and creating value requires thinking outside the box. 

    How to overcome any obstacles?

    It was a real challenge to remove the barriers that had been set up, but in the end we succeeded.
    Overcoming blockage is a process of getting rid of obstacles in the road to an agreement.
    A typical impediment to compromise is an overemphasis on price  

    Strategic consideration

    Fierce competition can be both a blessing and a curse.
    Time constraints can be a blessing and a curse – both speeding things along and causing people to give up without reaching agreement.
    Having a clear bottom line can be both a blessing and a curse – it’s often better to be fairly flexible in your approach.

    Corporate responsibilities

    Corporate social responsibility is an area of great potential value to companies these days, since it can help companies build brand image and loyalty.
    More and more companies are recognizing the potential value of environmental protection.
    There is good evidence that expanding and protecting shareholder rights actually can have a positive effect on stock price. 

    Part 3. Building relationships

    How to start off the conversation?

    It’s great finally to have the opportunity to meet you in person.
    I’m grateful for this chance to talk.
    We’ve heard a lot of great things about you.
    Your reputation precedes you  

    Mutual needs

    What direction are you taking your business?
    What would be an ideal outcome for you?
    What are the top five things you value most in a business relationship?
    What do you like most about your current supplier, and what would you like to change?
    What are you hoping to achieve in the next year?
    What are your medium and long-term goals?  

    Useful expression for this purpose

    We have a lot of common ground.
    There are definitely many areas where our interests are aligned.
    There is great potential for synergy between our two businesses.
    Our needs in this area complementary, don’t you think?  

    An effective method of building a strong relationship  

   Our long-term partnership can only contribute to the success of both our companies.
   This is a great chance to forge an even closer and more productive working relationship.
   By working closely together, we can achieve great things.  

   Joining forces

    Because we faced such fierce competition from larger companies, I suggested joining forces with some of our competitors.
    Originally, they were on opposite sides; but then, when they faced a common enemy, they joined forces to defeat their competitor.  

    Proposing the next step  

    This is an area that’s worth exploring further.
    Let’s try to hammer out an agreement.
    Why don’t we get together next Thursday or Friday to talk?
    The next step, I’d say, is to get all the parties around the same table. 

    Part 4. Getting started

    How to establish a goodwill at the beginning of the negotiations?

    I feel sure that you share our desire to find a solution.
    We are committed to being your partner in developing long-term, mutual value.
    We are dedicated to building a lasting relationship.
    We really look forward to working with you

    How to express your purposes in a reasonable way?

    May I begin by saying that we have looked at your quotation very closely.
    First of all, let me give you some background on our proposal.
    We understand that you are looking for a solution to this problem.  

    How to make discussions more efficient?

    We have three main issues we’d like to discuss with you today.
    I was thinking we could start by discussing the details of the order, then moving on to price  

    How to set ground rules?

    Before we go on, could we agree on procedure?
    Why don’t we break after an hour for lunch?
    Please feel free to interrupt me at any time if you have any questions.  


    What exactly do you mean by that?
    If I understand correctly, you’re saying that production costs will be much higher than expected.
    Right. So I think what you’re saying is you are not prepared to offer a higher discount unless we increase our order, is that right?
    Can you perhaps go into a little more detail on that?
    Before we discuss this point, I’d like to be sure about your position on exclusivity.  

    Probing phrases

    Could you tell us more about your product’s special features?
    Could you go into more detail about your standard delivery terms?
    What kind of special offers do you have?
    Wouldn’t it be possible to ship the goods through South Africa?
    Have you got an example of this?
    I can’t see how your position ties up with the rising raw material prices.

    How to create value?

    I would like to explore a number of options with you.
    There are a number of ways to look at this.
    I think there are a number of possibilities we’d suggest looking at.
    I’m sure we can find some common ground.  

    Vague language

    Hmm… I’d need to think about that.
    That could be a possibility.
    That might be worth trying.
    That depends… can you tell me more?
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