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Tips for negotiating in French

Negotiating in French: the basic vocabulary you need to know

Negotiating in a language other than your mother tongue can be difficult. And yet, in the commercial world, knowing how to manage a negotiation is sometimes essential to your personal development or your company's growth. But how do you do it when it's in French?

Here are a few basic vocabulary points to help you with your negotiation.

  • Une offre: an offer
  • Un devis: a quote
  • Une vente: a sale
  • Une augmentation commerciale: a business case
  • Une attente: an expectation
  • Une contrepartie: a counterpart
  • Conclure une affaire: making a deal
  • Conclure an agreement: closing a deal
  • Discours commercial: sales pitch
  • Keeping in touch: garder le contact
  • Terms of payment: conditions de paiement
  • Order preparation: préparation de commande
  • A tactic: une tactique
  • Une prospection: a prospecting
  • A negotiation: a negociation

For a successful negotiation in French, you need to prepare your strategy

Even if you've done countless negotiations, any professional will tell you that you need to prepare in advance. Whether you're negotiating in English or in French, you need to be ready to deal with the unexpected, offer fallback solutions, know how to answer questions that are a little out of the ordinary, and so on. Having practiced beforehand can really make the difference in reaching a win-win agreement, and the same goes for job interviews!

Here are a few examples of strategic guidelines for a successful negotiation in French:

  • Clearly define the objectives of your negotiation: what do you want to get out of it?
  • Define your position clearly, so you can argue on the spot.
  • Identify and understand the interests and expectations of the person you're negotiating with.
  • Create a glossary of French terms and expressions that will help you during the negotiation.
  • Anticipate potential obstacles and compromises

Scenario sentences for negotiating in French

Negotiating in French doesn't necessarily require an exceptional level of fluency, but it does require a solid grounding in the vocabulary of business jargon ( to avoid being taken by surprise and succeed in convincing). Here are a few scenarios that will help you succeed in your exchanges.

To clarify a suggestion in French:

  • Je veux juste être sûr de comprendre votre point de vue.> I just want to make sure I understand your point of view.
  • Pourriez-vous être plus précis sur…?> Could you be more specific about...?
  • Avons-nous enfin trouvé un accord? > Have we finally reached an agreement?

To conclude a negotiation in French:

  • Que pensez-vous de cette proposition? > What do you think of this proposition?
  • Êtes-vous prêt à faire votre proposition? > Are you ready to make your proposition?
  • Je voudrais vous proposer de concrétiser tous les éléments que nous venons de voir ensemble. > I would like to propose to you to concretize all the elements that we have just seen together.

To accept a proposition in French:

  • Après avoir lu le contrat, nous sommes prêts à signer > After reading the contract, we are ready to sign.
  • Cette offre nous semble correcte > This offer seems right.

To refuse an offer in French:

  • Je suis désolé, mais cette offre ne me convient pas > I'm sorry, but this offer doesn't work for me.
  • Je suis désolé, mais cette offre ne me paraît pas convenable > I'm sorry, but this offer just doesn't seem right.
  • Je suis désolé, mais je dois mettre fin à notre négociation > I'm sorry, but I have to end our negotiation.
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