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Struggling to secure a negotiation? Here's one approach that 'formidable negotiator' Claudine Collins applies

Meghan Markle (L) as Rachel Zane and Gina Torres (R) as Jessica Pearson in 'Suits'.
Ian Watson/USA Network/NBCU Photo Bank | NBCUniversal | Getty Images
Meghan Markle (L) as Rachel Zane and Gina Torres (R) as Jessica Pearson in 'Suits'.

In the corporate world, negotiating for the best outcome is a fact of life for many.

For Claudine Collins, the managing director of the U.K.'s largest media planning and buying agency, she's definitely no stranger to this.

Having worked in the industry for over two decades, Collins is renowned for her negotiating skills with many having said she's changed the face of media buying in Britain.

MediaCom U.K., where Collins works, defines itself as "The Content + Connections Agency," whereby it plans, researches and buys across different types of media platforms. One job Collins is responsible for at MediaCom is to help assist in the relationships between clients and media owners.

Claudine Collins is the Managing Director of MediaCom UK, the largest media planning and buying agency in the UK.
Credit: Chris Hopkins
Claudine Collins is the Managing Director of MediaCom UK, the largest media planning and buying agency in the UK.

When she started out in the trade, Collins described it as very male-dominated and at times aggressive, with her having witnessed shouting between some buyers and salespeople. Instead of following the crowd however, the businesswoman chose to take an alternative response.

"When I started dealing with people at my level and slightly higher, we'd be polite to each other, I'd go through the figures, I'd be quite charming with them — and I seemed to get much better deals than my older, male colleagues," said Collins, MediaCom U.K.'s managing director, to CNBC Make It.

Even though Collins has been described as a "formidable negotiator," she admits that she has previously hit impasses during the deal-making process. When a resolution doesn't come easy for Collins however, she has an extra card to play if needed: change the environment.

"I remember I was negotiating with someone from (U.K. newspaper) the 'Mail on Sunday'," she said, recalling how the pair kept on failing to reach a solution.

"(One time,) he walked into the office and I said 'Uh-uh, turn around. Out. We're going to The Ritz for tea' and he went 'What?' and I said, 'I booked a table, we're going to The Ritz for tea. There's a car waiting, come on, we're going.' And we got there, and within about half an hour, we'd done the deal," Collins added.

"I think it's just about taking yourself out of your normal environment," she added when talking about going the extra mile, explaining how the client was "a bit on the back-foot as he wasn't expecting that" response from her.

Business partners having lunch together
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It's a technique that she's done a few times, after it seemed to work the first-time round. Not only has this idea been suggested for negotiating, but author and teacher Charlie Morley has said this is one effective way to tackle blocks on creativity.

"People often think that the best place to work is somewhere quiet, very secluded and by yourself. I would say the opposite. I would say that is too much of a safe place to work," Morley previously told CNBC Make It, adding that this is why people can feel so inspired when on vacation, as their minds are more aware of what's going on around them, and therefore their brains operate differently in new locations.

Aside from altering the overall ambiance, Collins says it's important for her as part of her job to do something a bit more personal when negotiating with clients, as it's important to have a strong relationship with one another. On top of that, if one side pushes the other too much, it may see someone leaving the table feeling quite aggrieved.

"I do believe that both parties have to leave the table happy, otherwise it's not a good deal."

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