What are the different ways of negotiating with a client (online, email, face-to-face meeting, etc.) and what are the best practices in each of this case?

I know that it can depend on the specific case or situation but I guess that one can acquire these practices based on their experience.

It would be great if you could provide examples of successful negotiations (a way of negotiating, challenge, what you have done to overcome obstacles, etc.).

Thank you for any examples.

  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because although client negotiation is part of a project manager's repertoire, this is not a Project Management question. An internet search will yield many online resources discussing the "art" of negotiation and when it can and should be employed.
    – Marv Mills
    Mar 22, 2016 at 11:51
  • I think it is a PM question. Negotiations are part of not only the initial agreements made between seller and buyer but touch nearly every process, including communications, change management, risk management, procurement, etc. Mar 22, 2016 at 12:08
  • Negotiation is a tool used by PMs, but this question is far too general to be on-topic for Project Management IMO, not to mention that it is Opinion-based and asks for a list of practises and procedures.
    – Marv Mills
    Mar 22, 2016 at 12:38
  • 2
    @Cronax Requests for lists of anything are off-topic, particularly lists of standard practises or procedures when not in the context of solving a specific Project Management issue. There is no universal definition of "best practise" hence the members of any such list are a matter of personal opinion and therefore off-topic. Requests for negotiation techniques in the context of solving a specific Project Management issue would be on-topic, but this question is not contextualised at all, it is an open-ended request for information on negotiation.
    – Marv Mills
    Mar 22, 2016 at 13:01
  • 1
    I agree with @MarvMills. As currently posted, this question is entirely too broad to allow for a canonical answer, and solicits anecdotes and lists.
    – Todd A. Jacobs
    Mar 25, 2016 at 13:59

2 Answers 2


Preparation is key. The more you study your situation, the better your position. Never sit at the table until you know most of the answers.

"Getting to Yes" written by Ury, Fisher, and Patton is a fantastic read. Also, you will want to research various cognitive biases that play a key role during negotiations, including primacy and recency biases, framing, group think, and anchoring to name a few.

In all, negotiations are critical for successful project management as you are engaging in some form throughout the entire project.


No matter what negotiations are you in, consider this when negotiating:

  • Who makes THE decision? Negotiating project budget with Client who approached you first, and with client which you approached and are trying to get project from - are very different negotiation processes.

  • Your status vs. your opponent If you are a PM that will be negotiating with CEO, you will have a disadvantage in your role. Try to have someone else on your side, like CFO, or CTO or VP of PMO. Someone with more authority to back you up.

  • Having knowledge about the item/field of negotiations can leverage negotiations. If you think you are losing here, try to take an expert in that field to negotiations.

  • Having unique resources that your opponent needs. In order to leverage negotiations, you better have something that your opponent needs - skilled resources, unique product that opponent needs, etc.

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