Here are techniques to master negotiation that will have you getting what you need, without damaging any relationships along the way.
Create a third position
It’s important to remember that a negotiation is an exchange of energy. Place two people face to face and they will feel confronted. Creating a third position, where both people turn to face the problem, diverts the intense energy of each person away from confrontation and focuses their attention on solving the issue.
Look for the 'why?'
Most people will make a decision based on reason. Finding out what that reason is can be an invaluable strategy as it gives you the opportunity to create a solution, often in return for what you want.
Avoid getting personal
No one likes to be attacked personally. Even when you’re negotiating through a third party, you have to assume that this third party may communicate your every word to the person you are trying to settle a deal with. So keep it polite and remember that you’re trying to get them to cooperate.
The more flexible you can be towards the other party, the more likely they will be willing to give you what you want. If you can decide what you want before you go into the negotiation, such as your best offer and what terms you can and can’t waver on, you can often give the other party what they want without having to sacrifice your position.
Think of the other person
At the end of the day, a negotiation, however brief, is a relationship. If you fail to consider the other person’s feelings or what they want, then it is unlikely you will have much success.
If they are resolute about particular terms of the negotiation, it can be beneficial to withhold your judgment and put yourself in their shoes. Is there a reason why they’re being so firm? Is there something important to them that you haven’t considered? After all, you may very well do the same thing if you were in their position.
One of the secrets to a successful negotiation is to never give anything up without asking for something in return, even if it’s small. Using ‘if’ through your negotiation is a good way to handle this.
If I give you … then I would like …
I’m happy to give you … if …
If you can … then I’d be more than happy to...
If you can … then I’d be more than happy to …
Silence can be useful for difficult negotiations as it can give the time needed for both parties to ‘cool off’. Sitting back can give you the perspective you need to get a better understanding of the situation and provide you with the long-term view that you need.
Sometimes it can be difficult to draw the line between offering help and asking for business, especially with people with whom you have developed a relationship within a casual setting.
If you feel that you’re approaching a level of information that you feel you should be charging for, it can be handy to say things like ‘call me if you would like to work together on something’, or ‘this is the sort of information I often provide to my client base’; that way you’re being clear on your expectations for the future, without severing the lines of communication altogether.
Strike a pose
While most of us have come across an overbearing tyrant trying to win power by force, an equally destructive force can be approaching a negotiation lacking confidence and presence.
Harvard’s Amy Cuddy has a wonderful presentation on conveying ‘presence’ in front of peers which shows that it can be as simple as the way you hold your posture before you enter the room. Two minutes with your head up, shoulders back and hands on hips can really provide the confidence you need to stand your ground and muster the courage to ask for what you want.
The biggest misunderstanding surrounding the art of negotiation is in its actual definition. It’s important to remember that negotiation is not used to get the best deal possible or get the most out of someone for the least amount of budget; it’s about coming to the most positive outcome for all parties involved. The origin of the word negotiation comes from the Latin term negotiates, meaning ‘to carry on business’, and with the right techniques, you will carry on closing deals, securing clients and building relationships.
This is a slightly amended version of an article written by Josh Masters, author of new book and investment guide, Why Property Why Now. It has been shortened to make it suitable for web publishing.
The art of negotiation is one that is truly underestimated in the corporate and small business world, with many professionals fixated on playing either good cop or bad cop when it comes to sealing a deal. This turns what is actually a science, into a gambling game where the high stakes don’t always pay.