Ask The Hard Questions
Sam Mustafa, CEO of Charleston Hospitality Group shares his thoughts on the importance of having strong business negotiation skills and how this translates into the success of your company and standards for future contacts.
Let me ask you this. You may or may not be a business owner, but you are reading this blog because we have a thing or two in common, and I can attest that starts with being a leader. With that being said, what are some characteristics commonly associated with leaders in your industry? In the industry of my company, Hospitality the few that come first to mind include dedication, sweat equity and a lot of trial and error. It is for certain that these characteristics do not describe all CEOs in the hospitality industry, however, I can say that most share these commonalities.
Throughout the stages of owning Charleston Hospitality Group and Toast! All Day Franchise, I have transitioned from working inside the four walls of my restaurants to more recently, focusing on the sustainability and growth strategy behind these two LLC’s. Being successful in the Hospitality Industry, you have to be skillful, knowledgeable and always up-to-date on latest trends. Throughout the years, I have learned a lot about myself as an entrepreneur and businessman.
One skill I have always been good at since I can remember is influencing those around me. If entrepreneurship didn’t find me, you can be for certain that I would’ve been a salesman. The importance of strong negotiation skills, understanding the value of tangible things and genuinely connecting with people should never be underestimated.
1) Be Prepared
Usually with business negotiations, you are facing an opposing party who is also after the same intentions that you are- the best offer. That best offer differs depending on your end goal, however, the negotiator who has done their homework and is best prepared typically receives the better half of the deal.
Always be ready to react to the way the other party will respond.
2) Your Goals
What are you looking to accomplish by negotiating? Your goal is what will guide you throughout your negotiation process. By understanding and being focused on your goal, you set yourself up for a better case and why the other party should consider your request.
3) Have a Back-Up Plan
Things don’t always go as planned. Great CEOs and entrepreneurs understand that you will constantly be thrown new challenges and opportunities. Becoming so laser-focused on one negotiation is counter-intuitive to you and your business. Not to mention, it can be quite exhausting!
4) Know Your Value
You didn’t get to where you are overnight. Your professional career you have honed through many experiences that have taught you new lessons and kept you educated on what you deserve and your worth. Whatever you are negotiating for, make sure that it is what you deserve!
5) Take Your Time
The world is filled with business opportunities. Never feel like you have to take the first opportunity that you’re presented with. Take the necessary time to evaluate all components of the negotiation before you write on the fine line.
6) Communication is KEY
You deserve to know everything you are willing to announce. When you are in the middle of negotiating your terms, make sure that the other party understands what you’re asking, is willing to hear you out, and can reasonably negotiate with you. This will establish trust. It is important that all parties feel respected and heard. By finding commonalities, you are able to build rapport.
7) Listen and Respond Inherently
Everyone is entitled to their opinion and it is important to validate other’s on their thoughts and suggestions. Who knows, they might have a better option for you!
8) Explore All Outcomes
You must be willing to compromise when necessary.
9) Try a Different Approach
Not all business negotiations are going to go as planned. Sometimes what you want is out of budget, the deadline has passed, or it’s simply unrealistic. When these setbacks happen, absorb your pride and better prepare for the next opportunity.
10) Maintain An Open Mind
Knowing what you want, conducting yourself professionally, and maintaining an open mind are key to negotiating your way to success!
Sam Mustafa is the the CEO of Charleston Hospitality Group and Toast! All Day Franchise. Named one of the nation’s 100 most influential CEOs by Nation’s Restaurant News and frequent speaker on Joe Pardavila’s Podcast on ForbesBooks Radio. Sam is one of the leading voices in the Restaurant Industry.
1) 10 Tips for Strengthening Negotiation Skills. Strayer University. (2020, May 14). https://www.strayer.edu/buzz/10-tips-strengthening-negotiation-skills.