Dos and Don`ts of Partner Negotiations – Part 2

5 min.

Negotiations are never easy, especially if you are pressured into reaching some sort of agreement at all costs. But as we have established in Part 1, the agreement itself should not be the goal of partner negotiations.

Sometimes making the right contacts, mapping out the road to a future deal or simply treating business talks as a learning process is enough. Looking at numbers with a cool head and analyzing pros and cons of the deal always helps to stay away from bad partnerships and carry out negotiations only with businesses that bring value.

And now to our next dos and don’ts:

Don't be Seduced by the Best Examples

At about this point in negotiations, when you are working out the details of the deal, you see a lot of portfolios and case studies while names are dropped of super successful clients working with this company. Start by removing the best performance example because the worst one was removed without you, believe me. Then drop optimistic expectations and just look at the middle-of-the-road and bad cases and projects. In general, assessing overall quality based on the worst job is a good indicator of how experienced your potential partner is. Professionals always produce consistent results, and their worst job rarely differs in quality from their best.

Not having a “golden” portfolio is not necessarily a downfall either. In general, if a company has twenty successful projects, it may not be particularly interested in the twenty-first. A successful case as an unrealistic ideal should not greatly affect the outcome of negotiations. Logic suggests that regardless of the credibility of the partner you will get an average result. If the average minimum quality is not enough for you, that’s a deal breaker.

If I take a mobile app example, many mobile developers send in five or six of their best examples supported by stats of their own newsletter and outside publications. Your goal is to find a couple of less popular products and ask for statistics on them. Often people tell you stats for their home page so when you hear disappointing numbers on other pages, you are shocked.  Look at numbers that are not supported by corporate blogs and inside traffic. Better have thousands of quality users rather than millions of those who stumbled upon the site by accident.

Do Look Out for Signs of Unproffesionalism

If your project manager writes letters full of misspellings and grammar errors, if the contract looks funky and the request to change paragraph 4.2.2 is followed by “we are not able to” and multiple excuses, and especially if money matters are mismanaged – it’s all not a very good sign. Note that this is still a grooming period, a kind of a honeymoon. “Marriage” itself will be much worse.

When the contract is signed, all of this will be your harsh day-to-day reality. The general principle is simple: if you see that you are treated like a fool, even in small things, it is best not to work with such “partners” even if the project promises you mountains of gold. Put your bets on the right people. Nothing is more important.

I know an example of a super successful contract between remote colleagues, where, alas, the coordination of the last image took six months. All this time the company was losing money on license expenses every day because one party thought a subpar job would be enough while the other didn’t want to accept a low quality result.

Do Create Demand Through Your Own Passion

Selling means creating demand. For example, we don’t sell toys and games to people; we sell emotions. Therefore, it is important to appeal to emotions when making a sale, showing a preview of what the customer can expect.

Often when negotiating, you just don’t have the product, but you can demonstrate means of production. Right there you have to understand what the partner needs, show them that you can deliver that without having any tool at hand, get information on prices and only then start developing the product under contract conditions.

It’s hard to give someone a taste of something that only exists in your head but sometimes that’s exactly what you need to do. At times, you need to ask for a second meeting in a few days, and bring a prototype to make expectations less ambiguous. For example, bring a game that you can play there and then. In the past people only demonstrated executed projects to show how good they were. Thanks to demos of real products potential partners can use, sales can go through the roof and you may become a best seller in our niche.

Business is a joint activity. You earn profits and experiences together, and the general rule is to pick partners who are sincere, open, realistic and level-headed. So spend the time to find the right partner, not reach an agreement with the one you don’t really need.

Do you agree with these points? Have anything to add? Share your ideas below and tell us about the tricks you use in negotiations.