Tips for Communicating with Your Trading Partner

Direct and honest communication with your business partner is the best way to overcome trading conflicts.

Here are some tips that can improve your ability to work things out with your buyer or seller:

  • Show respect and understanding towards your business partner. Usually problems are a result of simple miscommunication or mistaken assumptions. Therefore it is not advisable to go into a dialogue with your buyer or seller assuming they're acting unfairly or unreasonably. Explain your trading partner from the start that you don't assume they've acted with bad intentions and that you see the situation as resolvable. They usually will appreciate your open and not blaming attitude.

  • Deal with the problem, not the person. Focus on the situation you would like to resolve and suggest potential solutions and do not focus on your assessment of your trading partner's character. Blaming your trading partner may cause you satisfaction for a while, especially if you think they've acted in an inappropriate manner, but it almost always makes the situation more difficult to resolve.

  • Look for creative solutions. Think about common goals you share with your trading partner in order to suggest win-win solutions. This way both you and your trading partner get what you're looking for. Believing that any gain for you is a loss for the other side leads to a combative, me-versus-you situation.

  • Remember the broader picture. Think of the future, dealing conflicts without emotions and with the right perspective increase the chances for more business and transactions in the future. Try to understand the situation through the eyes of your trading partner; it may help you understand the perspective from the other side. Sometimes the one who wins in this time is actually the one who loses in the long run.

  • Customer satisfaction and your reputation. Sometimes being compromising and flexible to your business partner can be good for your business in the future. Research has shown that people are 10 times as likely to spread negative words of a buying or selling experience, as they are to talk about a positive experience. Remember that your reputation is always at stake and that it is your biggest asset.