Boss Lady

From contact to contract: how to close a business deal faster


This guide outlines the steps to fastracking the process to make a business deal, with strategies to move to a contract swiftly.

Deals: your business might be eager to make them, but there can be too many barriers that unexpectedly hold up the process. You could find that the other party is reluctant to make their best offer, and leads the talks to drag on for months or even years.

The longer that negotiations go on, the higher the chance that a competitor of your business will succeed with swooping in and nabbing the deal from under your nose.

How to close a business deal sooner

Fortunately, you can help yourself to close a business deal sooner if you heed the following tips…

Establish the ground rules right from the start 

Before talks proper even begin, you should negotiate an explicit process for how they will unfold. The points you must address at this stage include who will facilitate the meetings as well as what issues you will discuss with the other party and when.

Mapping out in advance how the negotiations will proceed can help to prevent you from making false assumptions in the course of the business deal talks.

Specify a realistic but ambitious final deadline 

This tip comes from Professor Robert C. Bordone of the Harvard Law School — and its Program on Negotiation clarifies: “What happens if you fail to meet a benchmark or deadline? Explicitly discuss whether you need to set a new schedule and how you can improve going forward.”

A deadline can make each party at the negotiating table more open to thinking creatively and making concessions for a business deal , as research by the University of California at Berkeley professor Don A. Moore has indicated.

Have a ‘shut-down move’ at the ready 

As acknowledged earlier, there is the threat of a competitor derailing negotiations by coming in with a more appealing business deal. For this reason, you might want to try a certain strategy advocated by Harvard Law School professor Guhan Subramanian…

Here’s how it works: you offer incentives, like access to valuable networks or PR expertise, for the other side to agree to negotiate exclusively with you for a limited time, such as a week.

Ask a trusted third party to help 

In the past, you might have found certain negotiations reaching a stalemate due to at least one of the parties resisting putting their best offer forward. So, the next time you are on the hunt for a particular business deal, you might want to arrange for a neutral third party to engage each side separately so that it can be more easily ascertained whether there is a zone of possible agreement (ZOPA).

For example, if you are eager to seal the deal on a new office, you could ask a specialist broker like Office Freedom to negotiate the price and terms for you.

Stay transparent and genuine 

Don’t say something simply because you think it will get someone ‘in the door’ with a business deal. In an Entrepreneur article, Jonathan Long — the founder of brand development agency Uber Brands — warns that “a fake façade can be spotted a mile away and it won’t help build the initial level of trust required to get a deal closed.”


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