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The Art of Negotiation During a Project: Tips for Convincing External Partners

How to negotiate with external partners or vendors for projects can stump even veteran interviewees. This article provides a structure and tips to help you negotiate like a pro and increase your chances of job success.

What is the hiring manager looking for?

Hiring managers want to know that you can effectively negotiate with external partners or vendors to achieve the best outcome for your project. They want someone who can build relationships, communicate clearly, problem-solve and win over others.

How to structure your answer

Arrange your response according to the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result):
1. Situation: Describe the situation you were in, the project you were working on, and the external partner or vendor you had to negotiate with.
2. Task: Explain your responsibilities in the negotiation process and what you were trying to achieve.
3. Action: Detail the steps you took to negotiate with the external partner or vendor, including specific tactics and communication strategies.
4. Result: Describe the outcome of the negotiation, emphasizing the positive impact it had on the project and your professional growth.

Tips to answer this interview question

Do’s:
– Be prepared: Research the external partner or vendor, their interests, and their strengths and weaknesses. -Come up with a clear negotiation strategy and objectives. -Practice your communication and negotiation skills. -Be confident and assertive, but also respectful and professional.
Don’ts:
– Don’t be afraid to walk away from the negotiation if it’s not going well. -Avoid getting emotional or aggressive. -Don’t make promises you can’t keep.

Example interview answers to this question

Strong Sample Answer 1:
“In my role as a project manager for a software development company, I was involved in a project where we needed to procure a new software license from a third-party vendor. The vendor was initially asking for a much higher price than we were willing to pay. Through a series of negotiations, I was able to convince the vendor to lower their price by 20% without compromising on the quality of the software. This saved my company a significant amount of money and allowed us to complete the project on time and within budget.”

This answer is strong because it clearly demonstrates the candidate’s negotiation skills and the positive impact they had on the project. The candidate used the STAR method to structure their answer, providing specific details about the situation, task, action, and result. They also highlighted their ability to build a relationship with the vendor and find a mutually beneficial solution.

Strong Sample Answer 2:
“As a marketing manager, I was tasked with negotiating a partnership with a major influencer for a social media campaign. The influencer was initially hesitant to work with us due to a negative experience they had with a similar campaign in the past. Through careful negotiation and active listening, I was able to address their concerns and convince them to join our campaign. As a result, the campaign was a huge success, generating a significant amount of engagement and driving sales for our company.”

This answer is strong because it demonstrates the candidate’s ability to negotiate with a challenging partner and overcome obstacles to achieve a positive outcome for the company. The candidate used empathy and persuasion to build a relationship with the influencer and ultimately convince them to join the campaign. They also emphasized the positive impact of the campaign on the company’s sales and engagement.

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