Preparation before contract negotiations is very important. Good preparation means not only knowing my client’s goals and alternatives, but also the other side’s. How do I find out about their goals and alternatives? I listen.
When the other party asks for something that seems unreasonable, or refuses to accept my request, I ask them: ”What are your concerns with this request?” When I understand not just “what” they want but also “why” they want it, I can figure out how to help them reach their goals and get to a win-win result.
One of my best tips for negotiations is to listen more than you talk. When the other party does most of the talking, they’re more likely to reveal something that you can use to advance the negotiation.
If you follow this advice, you'll never have to say “Wow, I did not see that coming!”