The 5 key stages of the negotiation process

The people who will be involved in the strategic deployment of the company internationally are the key decision-makers within the organisation. To succeed in their internationalisation, companies, including start-ups, must mobilise their executives with a high level of responsibility, those who have the skills to manage international or intercultural negotiation. 

The main actors in international trade negotiations

  • The manager: Whether it is an SMB, a startup or a large international group, the presence of the manager is extremely important during international commercial negotiations since the aim of the decisions taken is his right;
  • The import-export manager: He must be an excellent negotiator. Indeed, he is responsible for finding an agreement and reaching a judicious agreement with foreign stakeholders in order to improve the import and export flows that will drive the organization’s activities;
  • The purchasing manager: In the context of international commercial negotiations, the purchasing manager analyses the best offers in terms of costs and purchasing partners. In this way, he negotiates the prices and terms of acquisition of raw materials from suppliers abroad;
  • The sales manager: As the head of the sales team, he is responsible for identifying potential growth levers that help boost sales in the targeted geographical area, and for drawing up prospecting and competitors identification strategies. In order to master sales techniques, he must also be tenacious during international commercial negotiations to defend the organisation’s commercial interests;
  • The international major account manager: He has to defend margins while ensuring compliance with the client’s specifications and the key performance indicators (KPIs) imposed by the client during international commercial negotiations;
  • The regional or global product manager is responsible for handling the consistency of the organization’s objectives when promoting the product in the destination markets. In addition, he has to study the needs of foreign consumers to adapt the product to their tastes, negotiate the manufacture of the products with suppliers or subcontractors abroad, and draw up the marketing plan for the international marketing of the brand;
  • The development manager: he is responsible for implementing a commercial strategy abroad based on the results of market research. Therefore, he must have a perfect knowledge of the tastes and customs of the foreign country with which he is negotiating in order to adapt his approach (consumption habits, or the level of development of new technologies);
  • The subsidiary manager: If a company is interested in setting up a subsidiary abroad, it must be represented by its subsidiary manager during international commercial negotiations. He must know how to be convincing, particularly in terms of compliance with the application of the policy advocated by the parent company in the destination territory. Knowledge of the language of the target country is an essential skill for the implementation of the subsidiary.

The different stages of international trade negotiations

Like any negotiation, international trade negotiations can be carried out in the 5 following steps :

1.     Investigation

First of all, it is important to seek as much information as possible about the other stakeholder (culture, interests, etc.) so that communication is flexible and user-friendly. It is also necessary to collect concrete and viable information about one’s own organization to serve as arguments during the negotiation.

Then, we must not forget that establishing contact is not an insignificant step, as it it the first step in getting to know our interlocutor. Therefore, it is fundamental to make a good impression. In international trade negotiations, emailing and telemarking.

2.     Exploration

The objective is to attract the potential foreign partner’s attention by explaining him  what he has to gain from the trade negotiation. It is required to make an in-depth analysis of his attitude, motivations and any doubts that may arise as the negociation progresses, thanks to a careful listening and observation. This explains why the negotiator must be someone skilful, inventive and astute, in addition to being an excellent speaker.

3.     Demonstration

The negociator exposes all of his arguments during this step of the international business negotiation. The method frequently used is the CAB method (Characteristics, Advantages, Benefits) supported by concrete evidence in order to persuade the other party to adhere to the desired agreement objectives.

At the end of the negotiation process, the negotiator has to deal with all objections effectively.They should be judiciously transformed judiciously into opportunities, so that they do not become obstacles to the international trade negotiation agreement.

4.     Conclusion

The “closing” closes the business negotiation. Indeed, it is necessary to know how to conclude once the potential future collaborator is fully convinced by the proposed approach and when an agreement has been reached between the two parties involved in the negotiation. The urgency card is generally used to put pressure on the other party and thus obtain his agreement.

Generally, in case of obvious failure, it is better to bet on the excuse card when all attempts have failed. Then, then negotiator apologises for failing to meet the expectations of his potential partner before bringing the international trade negotiation to a definitive end.

5.   Monitoring

If the conclusion is positive, it is the duty of the other people involved in the international trade negotiations to ensure the proper implementations of the actions taken during the negotiation. On the one hand, this allows to build the loyalty of the foreign business partner. And on the other hand, to maintain regular contact in order to find solutions to improve business internationally. It guarantees the possibility of a long-term partnership.

Finally, a good contact helps to expand the company’s professional network so that it can extend its activities to other foreign countries and thus further increase its turnover.