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Why All Online Marketers Should Master the Art of Negotiation

7 min

The art of negotiation has never been as important for online marketers than now. The digital era is in full swing and online marketers are the creative foundation to what people browse and purchase online.

A Pew Research Center 2015 report found that 73 percent of Americans browse the web daily. And 21 percent of Americans say they are constantly online, which is good news for online marketers. In fact, a 2015 online shopping report by Mintel found that, “Over two thirds (69 percent) of US online adults shop online at least monthly, with 33 percent shopping online every week.”

Online use has become part of global culture too. According to Internet Live Stats, on average there are nearly 3.5 billion people online. That is roughly 40 percent of the world. Online marketers have leverage with clients to meet the online masses, but landing those accounts has a lot to do with the art of negotiation.

Bringing client vision to life with the art of negotiation

Online marketers will need to understand their client’s vision prior to moving forward. They need to make preparations, long before any meetings take place. Once that’s done, bringing that vision to life is simply a matter of meeting in the middle. And getting what you want while delivering the best service has much to do with your ability to negotiate.

John F. Kennedy once said, “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.” As a savvy business minded online marketer, you should never fear the negotiation table. Negotiate for what you want and deserve as a professional. If your client sees the value in your work, you will both agree quickly.

Enter negotiations with a partner mindset

Online marketers often get repeat projects from clients. These projects can be continuous, or you may get a project from a client you had a year prior. If you approach the negotiation table with a partner mindset, you build long-term relationships.

Creating a sense of partnership also keeps negotiations relaxed and enjoyable. You will find the “yes” you’re after more often with a partnership approach.

“In a negotiation, the seller needs to view a potential customer as a partner rather than an opponent,” says psychologist and author Sherrie Campbell. “It changes the whole mindset and creates a communication space based more on agreement than desperate acts of getting.”

the art of negotiation

Savvy online marketers plan prior to negotiations

When it comes to the art of negotiation, planning is vital. Online marketers know the value of planning, and planning as a negotiation tactic is no different. You need to have a very clear idea of what you want before sitting at the negotiation table, according to The Huffington Post.

Budget, support elements, software, and the need for other creative team members are just a few elements of getting a project done. Knowing exactly what you need and for how much you can make it happen for will move the negotiation in the direction you want it.

According to Keld Jensen, the managing director of MarketWatch Centre for Negotiation, having a negotiation strategy will also give you more negotiation confidence and lead to success. It is simply a negotiation skill you can’t live without.

Never compromise your value for less money

Online marketers have unique skills, and if you are good at what you do, get paid for it. You may have found yourself sitting across the negotiation table with a powerful savvy businessperson.

However, despite talks of budget, never compromise your value. In fact, always ask for more. Any good negotiator will expect it and respect it. Lori Greiner, an American inventor and entrepreneur said, “As an entrepreneur, you can always find a solution if you try hard enough.”

This can be an important part of your negotiation strategy, since most companies will start in the middle, leaving wiggle room for your counter offer. Harvard Law School’s Program of Negotiation notes, “Strategies prepared before coming to the bargaining table are one way to anticipate events during negotiations.”

Online marketers use negotiation in hiring

Negotiations rarely end with client interaction. Most people negotiate all day long without even knowing it. And online marketers are certainly no different. You may actually find the art of negotiation to be helpful when it comes time to hire new team members.

After all, the hiring process is a two-way street, according to career platform Monster. You need a team that exudes the professionalism you embrace. You want to root through all those potential candidates and find the best and brightest creative you can.

American businesswoman and Shark Tank investor, Barbara Corcoran said, “Make sure you pick good people to build your business with, as they’ll determine 80 percent of your success.”

The art of negotiation also boosts team retention efforts

The HR process for online marketers can be challenging. You most certainly don’t want to search for candidates, spend days reading through applications, hire new team members, and then train them, just to lose them months later.

However, online marketers moonlighting as HR recruiters in their own business can use the art of negotiation to boost team retention. The American Payroll Association suggests, “Make sure newly hired employees are fully aware of their duties, as well as the company’s organizational structure, goals and long-term objectives.”

If new hires get the full outlook of what their new career will entail, they are less likely to be job-hunting right after you hire them. When negotiating salary, you can add value with projects you know your potential new team member can’t say no to. Career platform Monster recommends offering a mix of intrinsic, extrinsic, and lifestyle values to seal the deal.

Positive vendor relationships hinge on your negotiation skills

Online marketers are often conductors of various elements, whether it’s achieve success or simply finishing a project. In order to get things done, online marketers need savvy negotiation skills to develop positive vendor relationships.

One important aspect of negotiating with vendors is options. The more options you have on the whiteboard, the less you “need” and the more you “want.” Options will let you approach negotiations with vendors in a relaxed, anxiety free way.

This will in turn make the vendors want to work with you, and the relationship could turn into a long-term one. “Remember, your impatience with the process is the other party’s best leverage,” says Forbes contributor, Jim Blasingame. “Good negotiators practice patience.” Approach each vendor with relaxed intelligence for successful contracts.

Silence is invaluable when negotiating with clients and other teams

When negotiating with clients and other teams, having a strategy built around silence can be useful. There is certainly a fine line between speaking too much and not enough. However, silence is a well-worn tool in any professional negotiators toolbox.

Silence puts clients and other team members in a calm state while making you more powerful at the negotiation table, according to Steven Benna of Business Insider. During silence, clients and team members might add to an offer, it gives you time to plan your next move, and silence allows for key reflection during the negotiation process.

Award-winning writer and essayist for Time Magazine, Lance Morrow says, “Never forget the power of silence, that massively disconcerting pause which goes on and on and may last induce an opponent to babble and backtrack nervously.” Online marketers who employ silence get results.

Listening is the most profound and powerful aspect of negotiation

Building a negotiation strategy that encompasses active listening is powerful. Online marketers who harness the art of listening will have the upper hand in any client or team negotiation.

“Active listening is a general approach to listening that helps you gain more information, improve your understanding of other points of view, and work cooperatively with others,” as defined by the MIT Sloan Communication Program. However, active listening is one of the most challenging elements of negotiation to master.

Harvard Law School’s Program of Negotiation found three important aspects of active listening, including paraphrase, inquire, and acknowledge. Online marketers that employ these aspects of listening will discover strengths, weaknesses, needs, and value points their clients and other team members find difficult to turn down.

The art of negotiation is valuable in any field, but especially useful to creative people such as online marketers. The daily interactions and the need to build positive relationships make negotiation skills powerful for those who possess them. Online marketers not only need to negotiate, but negotiate in a way that encompasses positivity, success, and growth. Take your online marketing business to the next level and negotiate like a pro.

Over to you

Have you had success in using the art of negotiation in your business? Share your thoughts in the comments below.