Negotiating skills are important in both business and life. You may find yourself negotiating a business deal, a compensation package for a new job, or the price and options on a new car you want to buy. No matter how much negotiating experience you have, there’s always room for improvement. You just have learned some basic principles first and then devote a lot of time to mastering the art of negotiation. Here are some great tips to improve your skills.
Prepare your plan beforehand
Quite simply, the better prepared you are before you enter the negotiation, the better your prospects of ending up with a good deal. While many people enter a negotiation with their basics figured out (such as maximum price or desired delivery date), good negotiation planning will cover much more than that. Here are a few things that a good plan will include.
- Make sure you know what you want, and why. The why is important?
- What are the other sideâ€™s interests? What do they want, and why? Try to look beyond the obvious.
- What do you know about the other partyâ€™s negotiating style?
- What could you offer, that would be worth more to the other side than it is to you?
- How could you position this as joint problem solving?
What is your alternative to a negotiated agreement? This is your fallback plan, in case the negotiation does not work out. It also gives you an alternative to gauge against any offer they make. Donâ€™t accept any offer that does not beat your alternative plan.
Listen, listen, and listen
Many people are not good listeners. Rather than paying attention and absorbing what the other person is saying, they are already planning their own response. Listening is a key skill for negotiation, perhaps one of the most important. This is how you can dig out information about the other partyâ€™s interests that could be useful to you later in the negotiation.
Practice active listening
Respond to the other personâ€™s statements, asking for more detail in places. Also, restate back to them what you heard, with something like â€œSo what youâ€™re saying is that you really need …â€ This makes it more likely that you will have a correct understanding of what they meant. It also lets them know that you really are listening and paying attention to them. This sends them a positive message, and increases trust.
Think beyond just compromises
What is your approach to negotiation? Do you see it as a game that the other person has to lose in order for you to win? Or do you see it as something that can end in a win-win outcome, where both parties are happy with the result? Many tough negotiators take the first approach, and want to win in the battle against their adversary.
A different approach is to look at the â€œwhysâ€. Why do you need this project completed by July 1? Why are they concerned that this does not leave enough time for testing? Rather than just looking at the fact that you disagree on the delivery date, you can try to understand the underlying reasons. You may find that there are some common interests that you both have. This lets you turn an antagonistic negotiation into one where you are both seeking to address a shared problem. That changes the dynamic of the negotiation, and can lead to a win-win outcome.
Work on your technique
There’s no such thing as the perfect negotiation technique. Things can always go south no matter how prepared you are. Regardless of your business domain, it’s important to have a good strategy laid out. Gather as much information as you can about your opponents and be honest and frank when it comes to making demands.
Dominating negotiations in marketing can be challenging. You have to really know what you’re doing to persuade people that your ideas are the best. Communication is vital; remember that; it’s just as important as patience. Let counterparts talk first and listen carefully to everything they have to say. Ask questions to get clearance and be ready to negotiate. Think in the best interest of your organization, and if a deal doesn’t live up to your expectations, walk away.
By Jason Phillips and TheGapPartnership!