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Continuing education is important in any field, but especially in the ever-evolving field of construction credit. I recently participated in Advanced Negotiations, a course component of NACM’s Graduate School of Credit and Financial Management (GSCFM). 

Related: Read the interview with Anne Scarcella, Levelset’s Credit Manager of the Month for October 2021

About the Course

As credit managers, we often find ourselves in circumstances requiring contract negotiation, compromise with salespeople, and creative solutions to customer problems. This class reinforces the importance of being a creative, strategic, intuitive participant in these instances while maintaining character and credibility. The goal? To achieve the ultimate result of a win-win for each party involved.

Read more: Qualities of a great credit manager

The Advanced Negotiations Course was an 8-hour class via Zoom over two days, providing a format for learning and professional development opportunity without the cost of travel. An added bonus: The 4-hour sessions were minimally disruptive to the needs of the credit department during the two-day offering.

Instructor Dr. Bill Russell

Dr. Bill Russell

The course was taught by Dr. Bill Russell, who is currently Dean of the College of Business at Northwest Nazarene University, and formerly the institution’s General Counsel and Associate Vice President for Advancement. 

He speaks widely on business management issues, and consults with a variety of companies on strategic planning, risk management, governance, and more.

Cost

On its own, the NACM Advanced Negotiation class is $1,499 for members, and $1,999 for non-members. 

It is also offered as part of the GSCFM. The cost for all four components together is $5,200 for NACM members, or $6,700 for non-members.

7 Takeaways from Advanced Negotiations

Below are my key takeaways from Dr. Russell’s class. I found these lessons applicable not only in the office, but anytime I find myself in a situation that needs compromise.

1. Gather as much information as possible. More information will result in a better negotiation. Bold negotiations come from having knowledge.

2. Be patient. Negotiating is a skill that is best served by being patient and is improved with experience, requiring creative solutions and the willingness to compromise.

3. Negotiations are voluntary. Remember that customer conversations are not a one-sided demand. Negotiating often requires you to put your cards on the table, allowing each party to make a decision based on all the relevant information.

4. Keep it respectful. Maintaining an amicable environment and controlling reactions and emotions will promote trust.

5. Negotiations are artful and subtle. Persistence is the difference between success and failure.

6. Identify what is important to you. When you have a clear picture of what your company values, it is easy to recognize a good deal when you hear it — and jump on it.

7. You’re not always right. While this is definitely a lesson I learned long ago, it’s an important reminder during any negotiation.

The importance of continuing education

Continuing education is a priority for me, both personally and professionally. Participating in these classes has given me an opportunity to collaborate with a wide range of people in varying industries. Though the course is not specific to the construction industry, the different geographical regions and education backgrounds provided a learning environment that I found extremely beneficial.

Thea Dudley teaches credit & collections

Join the free certificate course to learn the foundations of credit & collections in construction with 30-year industry veteran Thea Dudley.