The Art of Negotiation for Startups

Aanan Contractor / January, 2020


Aanan Contractor — VP of Engineering, Customer Experience Aanan joined Walmart November 2018, with a vast amount of technical expertise in the retail and financial space, as well as a strong leadership track record. Prior to joining Walmart, Aanan led end-to-end customer experience engineering at American Express where she championed transformational cultural, talent, and technology change. Prior to that, she spent 11 years at PayPal, where she played a key role in building mobile commerce, the core checkout experiences, and retail products like PayPal Here and PayPal for Marketplaces.

Video Transcript

Negotiation is a discussion aimed at reaching a common agreement. It is part of the uber sales process, but focused on achieving the best outcome of the deal. When you think about the most commonly mistakes during negotiations, the first thing that comes to my mind is not listening. It’s not just about listening to the directly spoken words, but you really have to pay attention to indirect signs.

When you are sitting in the room, you have to pay attention to body language, you have to pay attention to the tone, how engaged the room is during the time. You really want to pay attention to not just to what you are saying, but how you are communicating. You always want to start out with really calm, confident and enthusiastic voice remember that negotiation is about both parties winning. So coming to the table it is very important for you, that you know your boundaries.

Making sure you are putting a good plan into creating what are the best case scenarios you are willing to start with, but also figure out your bottom line. Many times the decision maker is not in the room while you are negotiating because there are different teams dedicated for to negotiations in bigger corporations. So you want to make sure that while the decision maker processes the options and alternatives, keep the conversation going.

And the last thing I would give you an advice is to stipulate a very concrete timeline from the get-go. Remember that people like to work those who are working hard to meet them halfway. So be kind during the process and enjoy the whole process of negotiating!



  • Aanan Contractor, Walmart
  •  January, 2020
  • 2:06
  • Negotiations

Next Up

Term Sheets 101

How do you decide your startup valuation?

What are some misconceptions about fundraising?

How can Japanese entrepreneurs improve their pitch to investors?

How do I find investors in Silicon Valley?

Join the Startupedia Community

Connect with VCs and unlock vital startup advice!