The Power of Negotiations: How to Negotiate with a More Powerful Counterparty

Negotiations are pivotal to a business’s survival and progress because they determine
the future growth trajectory of that company. While negotiations are an important part of
a business, they’re often overlooked. An overwhelming lack of negotiation skills among
negotiators can ultimately lead to losses of undetermined value for companies.

Not only does it cause monetary losses but results in a loss of essential time.
Therefore, negotiation skills training is important to ensure the progress of a

Often untrained negotiators find it hard to negotiate with powerful counterparties
primarily because of an inferiority complex that unconsciously compels them to overlook
their own potential. Negotiation skills training can equip negotiators to achieve beneficial
deals for their companies by adopting strategic, sharp, and responsive moves at every
turn. There are numerous ways in which smaller companies can negotiate with powerful
counterparties and still ensure a productive, beneficial deal for themselves. In this
article, we will discuss the elements required to prevail at the negotiation table without
being aggressive.

Do Your Homework

Smaller companies often make the mistake of succumbing to an unjustified belief that
powerful counterparties are in some way doing them a favour, by dealing with them. It is
highly important to establish a strong conviction before taking a seat in the conference
room that you are entering as an equal party. After all, the whole reason your
counterparty is in the room in the first place, is because you have something of value to

Deals are forged out of mutual gains that should be clearly established upfront. The
party that has a thoroughly researched argument often prevails at the negotiation table
because they’re aware of the needs, priorities, and requirements of the other party
which they can use to strengthen their argument. Negotiation training also delivers
extensive courses that assist negotiators to develop their planning and research skills.
Therefore, if we want to stand a chance at the negotiation table, conducting extensive
research about our counterparty and crafting our strategy accordingly is essential.

Learn to Control Your Body Language

Gestures, body language, and the overall posture we use when delivering our
arguments are all essential and hold utmost importance at negotiation tables. In a room
filled with people having an eye for detail, the negotiator’s body language carries
immense significance. Those from smaller companies or firms sometimes enter
conference rooms with defensive, closed body language. Again, it is important to
appreciate that we’re as important to them as they are to us. Negotiators lacking
negotiation skills training are often undermined by a lack of self-confidence that can
hugely harm their company’s future. When it comes to maintaining our own in the
conference room, it is pivotal to remember the key points about the counterparty that
you discovered while in the planning stage, to assist with your approach.

Focus on Your Goals

Diverging from your plans at the negotiation table is a no-go because your carefully
honed strategy is the means by which your company can ensure the most productive
deal. Subservient body language and environmental pressure can lead to a free fall at
the negotiation table because negotiators representing smaller companies, may
succumb too easily to the proposals of their more powerful counterparties, which, to
make it worse, may in fact contradict the wider goals of their own organizations. A key
part of negotiating productively with powerful counterparties is maintaining your own in
the heat of the moment and displaying strong confident body language.

Ask Reasonable Questions

Posing tough and shrewd questions can derail any unhelpful competitive opposition
coming from your counterparty. It’s important to remember that we are not on a
battlefield but that as representatives of our company we are nonetheless dedicated to
achieving the best win-win outcomes through intelligent dialogue. Carefully honed
questions are a vital aspect of adopting a truly assertive, collaborative approach at the
conference table. While there’s a chance they may backfire, the sign of a good
negotiator is sensing the moment and pitching the right question at the right time.
We may be wondering how questions can be used to tilt the negotiation in our favour?
Ultimately, the counterparty’s inability to answer our question, or to defend their
argument may deplete their position. For example, if the powerful counterparty
nonchalantly claims that they’re just negotiating to broaden the options on their table
and a negotiator from the other side counters by presenting their need for the deal and
questioning the previous claim, it will automatically push the ‘powerful’ party on to the backfoot.

Therefore, questions are important as a way of leveraging the weak points of
a powerful counterparty.

Master the Art of Negotiations through Negotiation Skills Training

Negotiation skills training programmes always teach a fundamental principle of
negotiation; namely that we should leave our emotions out of the conference room. And
there have been numerous instances where emotions have resulted in disastrous
negotiation outcomes. Emotions are often driven by personal agendas that have no
place in a business environment. Displays of personal vulnerabilities can be used by the
other party to leverage their position at our expense. It also gives an insight into our
inner state that can be exploited and aggressively pushed on by the counterparty
resulting in a weak, unsatisfactory deal for your company. When dealing with a powerful
counterparty that has an eye for detail, we mustn’t commit the tactical blunder of
allowing ourselves to become hostages of our own unhelpful emotions during a

As important as both the deal and the counterparty are to us, we must always recognize
our own boundaries. Overstepping these boundaries in order to close a deal is a
regrettable blunder. While the deal may be important to us, drawing a line is even more
important. When things don’t work out, it is better to walk away than to agree to a deal
that causes monetary loss or even moral degradation. To do this, you’ll have to chalk
out the alternatives. As an essential prerequisite of an unsuccessful negotiation,
constructing alternative plans to fill any monetary gaps is important. An essential aspect
of negotiation training skills is that negotiators must build alternative strategies to avoid
feeling unnecessarily cornered during a negotiation.

In Conclusion

The above points are intended as a way of highlighting the genuine opportunities for
creating leverage that is available to smaller companies in negotiations with stronger
counterparties. These chances can be amplified and turn into productive results only if
companies recognize their own value. Ultimately, negotiation with powerful
counterparties is essentially about trusting in one’s own abilities and also in the
essential groundwork we put in at the planning stage, as research is undoubtedly one of
the most important components of effective negotiations.