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Can Negotiation Training Improve Performance?

Most sectors of business employ some form of negotiation when it comes to creating sales, ensuring agreeable solutions, and maintaining positive relationships. Without this learned ability, it can be difficult to navigate many challenging situations. While not everyone understands why or how negotiation training can be helpful to improve both performance and efficiency, we believe it is essential to utilize this critical business tool.

Why Is Negotiation So Important?

Too many business owners limit their perception of negotiation as a process that occurs between employees and clients for the direct benefit of the business. However, negotiation—both formal and informal—occurs on many levels of your business every day. Your employees must negotiate to determine the priority level of current tasks and projects and to establish their individual or department-level needs within the company setting. Of course, on a more literal basis, your sales, marketing, and distribution teams must negotiate with clients and vendors to reach agreeable solutions that benefit your company’s bottom line.

However, even those negotiations that occur on an interpersonal level are important. Your employees’ ability to negotiate conflicts among themselves can limit the need for HR involvement and eliminate the source of productivity roadblocks. Increased productivity, a rise in employee satisfaction, and improved sales figures all speak to the importance of effective negotiation skills.

What Is Negotiation Training?

Excellent negotiation skills aren’t an asset most newly-minted employees bring with them to your business. While many individuals develop their own negotiation techniques over years of experience, waiting for this process to occur means you could be missing out on valuable productivity and sales opportunities in the meantime. Additionally, there’s no guarantee these self-acquired negotiation techniques will be optimal for your business’s success. These concerns have led many business owners to choose negotiation training for management, sales staff, and even entire workforces.

Negotiation skills training usually involves calling in a team of experts to guide your staff through a series of proven negotiation tactics. Developing a uniform framework upon which your team can structure their own negotiations ensures the habits built by each employee adhere to your chosen negotiation model. Participants can experience simulations and other opportunities to practice their newfound negotiation tactics before they need to put them to use in the real world, where they can affect your business. Thus, every level of your company, from executive to employee, knows what to expect and how to achieve an agreeable solution that benefits the company.

How Effective Is Negotiation Training?

While all of this certainly sounds appealing, it is important to assess the real benefits negotiation skills training can have for your business—and for most, that means asking two specific questions. Does negotiation training actually increase employee performance? In turn, can this lead to improved revenue?

In fact, experts have determined that when negotiation training is implemented within the workplace, it can have a positive effect on employee negotiation performance. In a meta-analysis of 57 different lab experiments published in the Journal of European Industrial Training, researchers found that instituting negotiation training often led to improved negotiation performance. The length of the training appears to directly correspond with the level of improvement. For example, short bouts of negotiation training showed a small increase in negotiation performance, while those who received a longer duration of negotiation training saw a significant increase in performance. The best results were apparent in those who had received initial training along with multiple chances to follow up to improve their skills.

Can Negotiation Training Improve Employee Performance?

So, how does improved negotiations skills correspond with overall workplace performance and company success? As it turns out, better negotiations benefit the overall business in almost exactly the way we’ve outlined above. Improved employee satisfaction and reduced conflict boosts retention rates and minimizes your turnover costs. Meanwhile, a study from Suez Canal University shows that employees who receive negotiation skills training improve in other skills areas as well, including active listening, conflict resolution, time management, adaptability, collaboration, and even emotional intelligence—further increasing their relative performance level.

Negotiation training is effective at reducing turnover expenses, improving your margins, boosting sales, and developing effective employees that possess the soft skills necessary to build relationships with one another as well as your clients. Together, these performance boosts serve to improve your bottom line. For the majority of businesses, the overall time and revenue gains made possible by negotiation training can provide a significant return on investment.

Improve Your Bottom Line With Negotiation Training

There’s no denying that negotiation is a skill that is incredibly relevant to many fields of business. In addition, negotiation skills apply to employees at every level—not just management, HR, and sales. Negotiation training is an effective means to improve negotiation ability and overall job performance in tandem and can benefit your company in multiple ways, inspiring an overall positive effect on your bottom line.

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