There’s a fine art to negotiations. It’s not a skill that most people have already mastered when they graduate from college. It takes practice and understanding – and there’s definitely a learning curve.

As the owner of a small business for over a decade, I’ve negotiated my share of contracts, and I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t work. Below are some insights that I think everyone should have going into a negotiation.

If you want to successfully negotiate a contract:

First, understand what everyone wants.

What do you want most out of the deal? What does the other party in the contract want? Make sure you come to a mutual agreement with both sides believing they’re benefitting. Which leads me to…

Both sides should feel like they’ve won.

No one should walk away from a negotiation feeling like the deal was one-sided. After all, you want to work with your clients again and again. Never let people walk away feeling like you took advantage of them.

Be willing to concede.

If you think you’re pushing too hard for one item, you probably are. Try to see the deal from the other party’s point of view. For example, if I’m negotiating a contract with a seller, I never want him or her to think I’m essentially asking for free services.

These are the points I always keep in mind during negotiations – but I know my readers must have some great points of their own. What are your favorite advice regarding negotiations? I look forward to reading your suggestions in the comments section!