4 Common Mistakes of Business Negotiations

Robyn Ward is a Business Development Executive with BetterWorks (http://betterworks.com).

  1. Pursuing deals too aggressively
  2. Spending more time talking rather than listening
  3. Structuring deals with an unbalanced outcome
  4. Discussing terms too early in the process


Four common mistakes that I see sort of on the other side of the table for folks that are wanting to do a business development deal or in negotiations, the first one is really being too aggressive. There is definitely a difference between persistence and pestering in business development. It’s a fine line. You can really turn somebody off if you’re aggressively pursuing them.

The second one is talking more than listening. This is also just very true in sales. You really want to listen to the partner that you are potentially working with and really understand what is their pain-point and what are they looking to get out of the deal.

The third angle is really structuring a bias deal. You do not want to do that. Every deal, honestly, should be a win-win. I hate using that statement, it’s a little overused but when you’re doing a business development deal, both sides of the table need to walk away extremely happy.

The fourth is premature discussion of terms. Oftentimes, you know, we haven’t even gone through the listening and talking and how is this going to work and somebody will send me an e-mail with a term sheet. Again, that is very aggressive and often that term sheets are biased deal. You really want to avoid that.

If you avoid those four common mistakes of business negotiations, you’ll be well on your way to making great partnerships.