The BBC follows where MD2MD led – on negotiation skills

At our Managing Directors’ meeting this month we decided, in the current economic climate to focus on ensuring the deals we do get are the best possible deals we could get and so the topic this month was Advanced Negotiation Skills.

Given that some members of the group are, I know, already advanced negotiators, I was worried that the speaker would struggle to bring new thinking to bear on the topic.  But I needn’t have worried.  The speaker Derek Arden went down very well and I’m delighted to see the BBC have followed where MD2MD led and have featured him in an article on haggling today.

Here is a summary of what Derek had to say:

Personnel and Place

Choose the right person to negotiate and try to do it at the right place. The person with the best skills and not someone emotionally involved in the outcome.


Make sure you are well prepared. Know your most favourable position, your walk-away position and assess their likely initial stance? Research everything you have that might be of value to them that you can trade for concessions – and do the reverse.


Social chat can build rapport.


Ask open questions. Avoid making statements. Listen to how things are said. Watch body language an eyes for hints. Listen for key words that suggest flexibility.


Understand what the other party’s objectives are. Look for the win:win opportunity. Be friendly and use humour to build the relationship.


Reduce expectations first. Don’t accept the first offer. Give concessions gracefully and positively. Strike a balance. Giving away nothing may not build to a deal. Give away too much too soon and you’ll be seen as a soft touch… and interestingly research shows the deal will be less secure as they may feel they’ve not got the best deal.


Explore all avenues. Brainstorm & be creative to find ways forward. Think outside the box.


Dress the part. Look the part. Feel the part. Be confident. Relax. Use deep breathing & visualisation techniques.

Bob Bradley

Bob is a specialist in running high value added service businesses, having run five such businesses as General Manager, Managing Director or Chief Executive. His last employed role was as Chief Executive of a £16M, 200 person family owned business having previously been Chief Executive of an AIM listed company for which he raised £5M funding and which he grew from £4M to £12M in three years through two acquisitions and organic growth, and a corporate PLC subsidiary where he was Managing Director responsible for delivering £10M profit on £45M turnover through 450 staff.

Bob is now following a portfolio career providing entrepreneurial business leaders with mentoring and coaching around business leadership, business growth, merger integration and exit planning.

Core to his portfolio is MD2MD. Having experienced for himself the value of having a strong sounding board of fellow Managing Directors he founded MD2MD in 2004 to provide groups of business leaders with a confidential environment within which they can support and challenge each other to raise their game as leaders and by doing so improve the success of their organisation.

More about Bob

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