The Importance of Improved Deal Making Skills If UK Businesses Want To Win Internationally

By Clive Rich, Professional Negotiator and Media Lawyer

We live in a new "Deal Economy" where everybody needs to make deals in order to succeed; yet negotiation skills are seldom taught or practised. This represents a big risk for UK Businesses.

It has never been more important to have international trading partners. Technology has made the world a much smaller and more inter-connected place, but we need partners to be able to reach global markets. Technology also enables everybody to operate in everybody else's space, so we need partnerships to help us compete effectively. Technology also means that we have to respond quicker than ever to market opportunities before they disappear - so we need partners to help us execute at pace.

The most successful people at creating partnerships will be those who are effective negotiators. Yet the UK potentially faces a "negotiating deficit" which is just as significant as its current trade deficit. Indeed the two are directly related. Do UK companies have a command of negotiating process? Do they know which stage of a negotiation they are at any particular time? Do they know how to select the right behaviour for the right negotiating opponent? Do they know how to identify and exploit bargaining power? Are they adept at the tactics required for dealing with tough guys? Do they thoroughly prepare for negotiations? Are they effective at bidding and bargaining? Do they know how to close a deal? Do they use specialist negotiators or do they just rely on instinct when they negotiate? Do they bring a positive attitude to the negotiating table? Can they identify the negotiating needs of the other side and work with those needs (rather than against them) in order to secure an even greater win for themselves than they thought possible?

If the answer to any of these questions is "no", then the UK has a problem. Negotiation skills are becoming ever more important as China and India grow in negotiating strength, as emerging economies like Brazil become more powerful, as the demands of technology place an ever greater premium on effective deal partnerships, and as the lingering effects of recession and the credit crunch continue to squeeze the availability of working capital.
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Much is made of the need to understand cultural differences when negotiating with the Chinese, or Middle Eastern countries, and it is true that any intelligent negotiator would take these cultural differences into account. However, the same essentials of effective negotiation underpin any deal, regardless of the nationality of the participants.

So, British companies need to become far more effective at negotiating if they are to prosper in the new "Deal Economy". They need to prioritise the acquisition and development of negotiation skills, not as a training exercise, but as an investment in a precious asset, which will deliver a measurable, return. They need to prepare themselves to negotiate smarter. And we all know that if you fail to prepare you prepare to fail!

[] Clive Rich [/nurl] helps companies with their negotiations – either assisting in the set up and preparation of a deal or even running the deal on their behalf – ensuring UK business wins on their terms.

Despite the challenges posed by current global economic conditions, UK companies are still competing on the international stage and the [] 2010 International Trade Awards [/nurl] celebrate these ventures and successes.

Give your business the recognition it deserves — if you have a good story to tell about your international business success - then come and tell us. Go to [] [/nurl] today to find out more and apply.