Negotiation in English


1st conditional – used when we are more certain, persuasive (the action is more likely to happen)

If + present simple + will

If you agree to the new working conditions, we will sign the contract now.


2nd conditional – more tentative (less likely and express more caution)

If + past + would

If you accepted 5%, we would be prepared to negotiate the second point.


The six stages of negotiation

1.   Create a rapport

  • Thank you all for coming
  • We´re looking forward to productive meeting

 2.   Agree a procedure

  • Perhaps we could begin by outlining our initial position
  •  Would you like to set out your requirements first?

 3.   Put forward proposals

  • What we´re looking for here is...
  • Ideally we would like to see.....

 4.   Check the facts

  • So what you are saying is...
  • Let me just check I understand you correctly.

 5.   Enter the bargaining phase

  • We´d like to see some movement on price
  • I´m afraid we could only accept this on one condition.

 6.   Work out the details

  • Great, I think it´s everything.
  • Okay, let´s just tie up some loose ends.


Presenting proposals

  • We propose that.....
  • I´d like to suggest that...
  • Our standard conditions for first time orders are...
  • We are hoping to...
  • If we...., you would...
  • If you...., than we can...

Paraphrasing (checking understanding)

  • So, in other words, you are saying...
  • Does that mean...?
  • Now let me check if I get it right/understand...
  • Correct me, if I am wrong, but do you mean...?
  • You mean, if we ordered....would....?
  • Sorry, could you explain in little more details?
  • Could you be a little more specific? 

Bargaining and making offers

  • What about... How about...?
  • I can offer you...
  • What if I offered you.../to...?
  • Could we possibly...?

Trading concessions

  • If we reduce the price would you consider...?
  • We might be able to make an exception if you...?
  • We are prepared to ... providing that you....?
  • Would it be acceptable for you if we...?
  • Could we perhaps agree on that you... and you...?

Accepting and agreeing

  • I think, we can agree to that.
  • That would be fine.
  • OK that´s a deal.
  • I totally support that.
  • We have no objections to that.
  • I´ll second that.

Rejecting an offer

  • I´m not sure about that.
  • That would be difficult for us.
  • I'm sorry, but we can't agree to that.
  • I'm afraid, but I can't accept that.
  • I can't agree to that but I could....
  • That would be difficult but I might agree to...
  • I´m not convinced
  • That could be a problem

Summarizing, closing the deal

  • Perhaps we could just recap the main point...
  • As we've agreed, we will take care of ...and you will...
  • Let me sum up our conclusions/agreement so far...
  • I think we've covered everything.

“So much of life is a negotiation - so even if you're not in business, you have opportunities to practice all around you.“   

Kevin O'Leary


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