The high stakes art of negotiation is a business skill every successful Health IT consultant needs to master. However, this is easier said than done.
Negotiating consulting contracts can be a little stressful and challenging whether you are just starting your Health IT consulting career or are a seasoned professional. To navigate the negotiation process with confidence and set yourself up for success, follow these five tips:
1. Be confident in the value you create
Approach each consulting contract negotiation with a belief in yourself and the value you create. Have the confidence to promote your unique mix of skills and experience, your ability to deliver and the ROI you bring to the engagement. Prospective clients will have a difficult time believing in you if you don’t believe in yourself.
2. Ask questions and actively listen
Asking questions and leveraging the soft skill of active listening in the negotiation process brings a clarity to the process that can help you achieve the best outcomes. Ask questions about what the client is trying to achieve, what is important for them in the project and what project success looks like.
As prospective clients respond to these questions, put active listening into practice, making a conscious effort to hear, understand, and retain all the information relayed in these responses.
Following this tip will give you a better understanding of what a particular engagement involves and what is needed to successfully complete the project. All critical information for setting acceptable rates and contract terms.
3. Know your market value
Understanding your market value eliminates the question of should you be receiving a higher rate or are you asking for too much. This knowledge will help you determine what to ask for on the high end and establish a bottom line low end in rate negotiations for each engagement.
4. Be prepared for objections
To be fully prepared for negotiating a consulting contract, anticipate objections and how you will respond to them. As objections arise, make sure you understand them before addressing them.
If budget is a sticking point, respond by emphasizing the value and ROI you can bring to the project. If the client is determined to negotiate the project budget, look at ways to adjust the scope of the contract before negotiating on rates.
As you are fielding objections in negotiations, don’t take them personally. Think of negotiation as a conversation which works toward a middle ground where you and your client get the critical things you want and need.
5. Know when to walk away
If you can’t settle on middle ground when it comes to issues like payment terms, scope of work or deadlines, it’s time to walk away. Accepting terms that you can’t deliver on might damage your professional reputation and no contract is worth that. It is okay to walk away.
Negotiating contracts can be stressful but following these tips can help you navigate the process with confidence and set yourself up for success.
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