BEP 208 – Contract Negotiations 1: Seeking Concessions

In this Business English Pod lesson, we’re going to look at language for negotiating a contract.

As we’ll be discussing contracts, you might want to check out our Video Vocab lessons on contract law to refresh your memory.

A lot of business is done with a verbal agreement and a handshake. But it doesn’t take a lawyer to know that you’re usually better off having everything written down in a contract. Contracts protect both sides of the arrangement and spell out exactly who must do what and at what time and where.

If you’re familiar with contracts, you know that there are certain parts and clauses that are almost always included. But exactly how those are written can vary greatly from contract to contract. “The devil is in the details,” as the saying goes, which is a traditional way of saying that details are very important.

And when it comes to contract negotiations, you will have to focus on a lot of details. You might agree generally on what type of arrangement you want, but working out the finer points is crucial if you want a contract that works for you. Negotiating these fine points requires several key skills. Today we’ll cover highlighting concerns in a contract, seeking concessions, and citing previous arrangements to strengthen your position. We’ll also look at agreeing with hesitation to a concession as well as emphasizing the positive.

We will hear Sam negotiating a vehicle leasing contract with Larry, a leasing company rep. Sam wants to lease several cars and vans for his company. He and Larry have agreed on the major points and are now discussing the draft contract over the phone.

Listening Questions

1. Why does Sam mention that their account reps try to stay in close touch with customers?
2. What does Sam say about their last leasing situation?
3. What does Larry offer to do for Sam?

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