Email negotiations are more important than ever in this economic disaster

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How to handle email negotiations

In this article we will explain how an understanding of negotiation can benefit you in this economic disaster and will show you where you can get help.

Emails are the most prolific form of business writing today. With the economic collapse, many more businesspeople are working from home. Some face economic ruin. Businesses have gone under. Many people are thinking of ways to produce income to survive.

Remember that technology is changing how business is being conducted. Now more negotiations are held via multiple communication channels. Face-to-face negotiations are being replaced with email, video conferencing, online conferencing via Skype, Microsoft Team and Zoom (not at present because of the security issues).

Whatever your income and business circumstances, you will face many new opportunities for negotiation, but most will be via digital communications.

Before we proceed, let’s make one thing clear. Everyone negotiates all day long. Think about the negotiations you have daily at home and at work.

But there’s another thing about negotiation – everyone thinks they know everything about negotiation. For those who are self-deluded, the know-it-alls, and wishful thinkers, it’s best not to read further.

Like a Zen Buddhist, you need to clear your mind and with a healthy and humble approach understand that you do not know it all and there are important things that you can learn from those who have studied and practiced negotiation at various levels.

Let’s be clear on what isn’t negotiation:

– Going to the shops to buy groceries

– Buying products and services on-line

– Bartering with a seller at a market or bazaar

Why is this so?

It’s because there is no room for negotiation in fixed price selling situations. Bartering could be seen as negotiation, but it is really only bargaining for a price – a take-it or leave-it transaction with little or no mutual value between buyer and seller.

Take my example of what one would think is a negotiation but really isn’t. At the beginning of the stay-at-home requirement, I called up an insurance broker to try get me a discount on my car insurance because my car would be at home. The insurance broker got the insurance company to lower the monthly premium by, wait for it, R53.00 (less than three US dollars). That is not a negotiation. It was only begrudging tiny discount because I had used a strong argument.

Think of other things that are presently non-negotiable:

– Your mortgage (you think your bank is going to allow you to pay less)

– Your monthly rental (landlords won’t)

– Your insurance payments (forget it)

– Your monthly group scheme levy for flats and townhouses (in my case the governing body has actually raised the levy – little wonder from a property management company that has a cozy decades-old relationship with the governing body)

– Your health insurance (you might as well fall over backwards and laugh like a fool – that one   big monopoly of a health care company would never budge an inch)

That’s enough. Point made. You can think of the other annuity income barons who are creaming it. Not that annuity income is bad. It’s good if you can get it for a small business such as a maintenance contract, etc. The point is that the annuity income payments I have mentioned are non-negotiable.

Now back to the reason why email negotiation is so vital to you in this economic devastation. If you begin any kind of business or income generation activity to replace what you have lost, you will be faced with many different opportunities for negotiations. If you know how to go about it, you will save yourself thousands but if you don’t you will lose previously hard-earned money that is very scarce in these times.

What are these areas of negotiation that you will need to navigate?

– Obtaining a bank loan (don’t for goodness sake provide your home as surety)

 – Securing services from suppliers (you must be sharp in this area)

– Offering goods or services to customers (some no longer will be able to afford annual contracts, and you may want to reduce the periods to quarterly or monthly)

– Rental of office, warehouse or retail space (if not home-based) (you must use this first “window-of-opportunity” to get the best deal you can because you are going to live with your agreement for possibly a long time.

That’s enough to give you an idea of the many opportunities you will have to set your business or income generating opportunity on the right footing through negotiation the majority of which will be done via email.

Technology may be more cost-effective to conduct meetings and negotiations online but unfortunately it may not improve the effectiveness of your negotiation. Text-based communication is not effective for negotiations. You will most likely have trouble with the tone or inflection, visual clues and body language in text-based negotiation which you need to establish the emotions of the other party.

In the course on email negotiation that we are offering you will learn:

– When to use your cellphone in negotiation (and one of the biggest flaws in telephone or cell phone negotiation)

– How to establish your negotiation interests and tradables

– When to identify the need and opportunity for negotiation

– What to watch out for (dirty tricks, techniques and underhand behaviour from the other party)

– Pitfalls in negotiating via email (and how you can overcome them)

– How to grapple with concealed information in business negotiations

– How to profit from email negotiations

Please note – and I can’t stress this enough – this negotiation course is for real businesspeople in real-world situations whatever these size (from the one-person outfit to the those with several employees). It is not one of those ivy league negotiation and conflict resolution courses developed by academics for ethereal big-corporate management positions nor for giant supply chain overlords (with annual targets to squeeze every cent out of their tiny, struggling suppliers).

Rest assured I have the academic background with specialization in negotiation from one the best negotiation academics and universities in the world (and I can send you proof) but I’ve found that, barring some useful fundamental concepts, all of this is worthless when it comes to the real word.

What’s more valuable is my experience of more than thirty years in the business world and starting, succeeding and failing at small business. These are far, far more valuable lessons I have gained from the University of Hard-Knocks and its illustrious (tricksters, pathological liars and con artists) professors that I wish to share.

If you are interested to take the course and want to find out details, send me an email at to find out more about my email negotiation course.

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