How to win at B2B negotiations

All those who work in the business to business trading world will have encountered the need to be highly skilled in negotiations. If you have any flaw in the strategy you follow you may end up in overpaying, or alternatively undercharging for your services. This highlights why it is integral to do everything you can to ensure you get the best deal for your company.

The concept of B2B negotiations varies slightly from when you are bargaining with a consumer. If you are running a retail store and a customer would like a discount, it is often an informal affair and is more akin to the haggling at open markets and bazaars. However the way you approach negotiations when dealing with other companies is much more formal, resulting in the need for prior planning.


The initial step before you proceed with entering into a negotiation is to do sufficient research and preparation. This means finding out much more information than just pricing, costs, but also relevant information about the other company. By familiarizing yourself with what they do and what they offer, you will not leave yourself open to being in a weak unknowledgeable position.

When it comes to B2B negotiating, leverage is an incredibly important factor. How the other party sees their position in relation to you can determine how much power you have over the negotiation. B2B can be difficult, as both parties often have a strong history of business knowledge and experience they can use to their advantage. You need to determine which party has the most power to use to their advantage, and the best way to exert this power.

Besides knowing the other company inside out, you should also know the traditionally required information relating to the amount of products or services you can provide and for what price. You should understand the constraints of the budget and your sales targets impact these figures.

Usually when you enter into a negotiation when dealing with B2B clients both sides of the agreement ends up compromising. Therefore it is without a doubt integral to understand what aspects you can compromise. If you do not have this knowledge beforehand you may be entering into a deal that provides no relative benefit to your own company and makes you miss out on a significant opportunity cost.

Often if you are unwilling to compromise past a certain price point, it can be worthwhile to sweeten the deal by changing non-monetary terms. This could be by extending credit terms or offering to deal with the logistical aspect of the deal to add something extra which won’t result in you losing out financially.

Either way, it all boils down to making sure you have done the required amount of research and prior planning. When you are a new company you may feel like it is worthwhile to take a deal that isn’t quite what you want, just to get your foot in the door. However, if you truly offer a good service for a reasonable price, compromising beyond your will can cause more damage than good in the long term.