Office of Finance Negotiation Strategies

Negotiation in any setting is a combination of skill and strategies. Your goal within the Office of Finance is to develop negotiation strategies that result in successful agreements and a healthy bottom line.

Identify Skills that Create Successful Negotiation

Take stock of the skills you have that will serve you well during negotiations.

  • Communication is at the top of your list. Make note of your ability to:
    • Make others feel comfortable and respected.
    • Clearly and objectively express expectations and limitations.
  • Seeing things from another’s perspective helps you to be aware of a vendor’s or contractor’s position.
  • Confidence in your interpersonal abilities allows you to reach out to competing companies as you seek the best service/product for your organization.

Review Proven Negotiation Strategies

Review strategies that have worked in your past negotiations. Whether you are seeking agreement on the terms of technology upgrades, or brokering for marketing services, turn first to tried and true methods.

  • Be transparent about your terms from the outset. The agent you meet with is then encouraged to do likewise.
  • Build rapport with the other person, encouraging in-person meetings and regular communication.
    • Get to know each other’s commonalities and organizations.
    • Keep in mind your businesses’ association may develop into a long-term relationship. Starting off on the right foot is respectful for all involved.
  • Reach out to other competitors.
    • Communicating with other contractors and vendors informs you about available services, terms, and products.
    • Bring what you learn to the negotiation.

Keep the Negotiation Moving

Time waits for no one, and that is certainly the case with reaching an agreement.

  • Develop a negotiation plan before your initial meeting.
    • Detail in-house goals, including agreement absolutes and financial limits.
    • Request a list of must-haves and non-negotiable terms from leadership.
    • Prioritize other potential negotiation points such as discounts, agreement duration, and service/product upgrades.
  • Make concessions that are reasonable for both parties.
  • Avoid an item-by-item approach, focusing instead on bundled trading points.
  • Take a risk and try new approaches if negotiations are reaching a stalemate.


Ending on a note of respect, regardless of the outcome, sets a positive tone for future interactions. It also adds to your organization’s reputation of being astute, reasonable, and fair.


For more communications tips, check out Communication Skills for Workplace Success.