How you prepare for a negotiation can determine the outcome

How you prepare for a negotiation can determine the outcome
Image Credit: Thomas Edwards

What we’d all like to have in our next negotiation is more control. The big question is how can get this? It turns out that the answer is fairly simple: we need to do a better job of preparing for the negotiation than the other side does. A big part of this preparation is obtaining information about who we will be negotiating with.

Why Is Knowing The Other Side So Important?

Getting ready for a negotiation takes a lot of work. There is the identification of all of the issues, understanding what concessions you’ll be willing to make, clearly laying out what kind of deal that you are looking for, etc. Why the heck should we spend even more time researching the people that we’ll be negotiating with?

When you go into your next negotiation you need to know who you’ll be negotiating with if you want to any hope of getting that deal that you want. The things that you need to know include what the backgrounds of the other negotiators are. One of the most important things that you are going to want to find out about them is what their negotiating track record is: what has happened during other negotiations? You’ll also want to know what negotiation styles and negotiating techniques they like to use.

The reason that you are so interested in finding out as much information as you can about who you will be negotiating with is because any kind of insights that you can gain regarding the people that you’ll be negotiating with can help you to get a better deal. What every negotiation really comes down to is two sets of people talking with each other. This means that the more that you know about them, then the better prepared you will be to get the deal that you want. If it turns out that you know more about them then they know about you, then you are probably going to walk away with the best deal.

How Can You Find Out About The Other Side?

If I’ve convinced you that taking the time to find out as much as you can about the other side of the table is a good thing to do, then the next logical question is how can you go about doing this? One of the best ways to go about doing this is to actually talk to someone who has negotiated with them in the past. This can’t possibly be their first negotiation, so find that other person and ask them what they learned about their opponent.

We are living in the 21st Century and what this means to you is that there are a lot of different ways to get information about the people that you’ll be negotiating with. An obvious source is the Internet. But if you are going to be negotiating with a lawyer, then don’t forget to check with the Bar Association or perhaps the Better Business Bureau.

One of the best sources of information about the person that you’ll be negotiating with can come from other people who work with them. If you are having meeting with people who work for the other side’s company in order to set up your negotiations, then ask them about the people that you’ll be negotiating with. Key questions include how they make decisions and do they move fast or slow.

What All Of This Means For You

In order to get the deal that you want out of your next principled negotiation, you need to prepare for the negotiation better than the other side does. What this means is that you need to take the time to learn everything that you can about the people that you’ll be negotiating with.

The reason that knowing about the people that you’ll be negotiating with is so important is because the more insights that you have, the better your outcome will be. Knowing what motivates the other side allows you to score more points during the negotiation. Getting the information that you need is straightforward. Talking with others who have negotiated with them is a good place to start. Next, searching on the Internet and checking with professional associations will also help.

Any negotiation that you participate in is going to require time, energy, and effort on your part. It makes sense that you’ll want to do everything possible to get the best results. Take the time to discover everything that you can about who you’ll be negotiating with and you’ll boost your chances of getting the deal that you want.

- Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that you should hire people to find out more about who you will be negotiating with?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Negotiator Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Negotiator Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I wish that there was a way that when I first met the other side of the negotiating table that I could instantly size them up and know what negotiation styles, negotiating techniques I should use with them. I’d like to know how they were going to approach this negotiation: were they going to be an aggressive “winner take all” negotiator or a let’s find a way to make this work” one? It turns out that some researches just might have come up with a simple way to figure this out before the negotiating begins…

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Having a game plan will help your next negotiation go much better

Having a game plan will help your next negotiation go much better
Image Credit: Ed Yourdon

Our goal for any negotiation that we participate in is to be able to walk away with the best deal possible no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques were used.. However, all too often we go into a negotiation with no clear idea just exactly how we are going to achieve that goal. What can be missing from our planning for a negotiation is a game plan. Just knowing that you need a game plan is one thing, understanding what goes into one is something completely different.

What Needs To Go Into A Game Plan

I’m hoping that we can all agree that a game plan is needed before you enter into your next negotiation. However, where things tend to get just a bit fuzzy is when we start to talk about exactly what needs to go into a game plan. Ultimately a game plan is just a set of answers to a number of very important questions.

The trick is for a skilled negotiator is to know what questions he or she needs to have an answer to before the negotiation starts. Some of these questions are fairly basic. Things like what are you planning on saying at the start of the negotiations? How will you react to what the other side says to you? In the event that the talks come to a deadlock, what is your next step going to be?

As you can see, these are some fairly basic questions that for each negotiation you are going to have to answer and then add both the question and your answer to your game plan. If you have the time, you can go even farther. This means that you’ll need to come up with answers to questions like what kind of concessions are you going to be both willing and able to make during the negotiations? What kind of concessions are you going to be expecting from the other side of the table? Finally, just exactly what do you know about the people that you will be negotiating with – do you have a good understanding of what is motivating them to negotiate with you?

How To Use A Game Plan In A Negotiation

If you’ve taken what I’ve told you to heart and gone ahead and created a game plan for your next negotiation, then that is fantastic! Having a game plan is really all about control. It turns out that the more that you know about the negotiation and the other side both before things start and while the negotiation is in progress then the more control you will have over how it all turns out.

Using your game plan will allow you to explore different possibilities during the negotiation because you’ll always know where you want to go. By doing this it’s almost as though there is a script or a storyline that you are following. No, things probably won’t go exactly like you thought they would at the beginning; however, if you start with a game plan then you’ll be organized from the start.

Things always change during a negotiation and so your game plan will undoubtedly need to be changed during the course of the negotiations. However, every negotiation is all about power – who has it and who does not. By having a game plan you’ll be prepared and if the other side does not, then you’ll have even more power!

What All Of This Means For You

In order to get the most out of your next principled negotiation, you are going to need to have a plan. What this means is that you’ll have to take the time to create a game plan before the negotiation starts. The key is to know what goes into a game plan and how to use it.

A game plan consists of answers to questions that you believe need to be addressed before the negotiation start. A lot of this has to do with you planning out what you will be telling the other side. However, you also have to anticipate what you believe that they will be telling you and how you’ll react. Having a game plan allows you to script out the entire negotiation. Yes, things will change, but having a game plan will allow you to be organized.

Every negotiation is about control. Who has it and how they are going to keep it. Having a game plan allows you to start out a negotiation with control and maintain it as the negotiation progresses. With a game plan you’ll be better prepared to get what you want than the other side will be.

- Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: How much time do you think that you should spend creating a game plan for your next negotiation?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Negotiator Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Negotiator Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

What we’d all like to have in our next negotiation is more control. The big question is how can get this? It turns out that the answer is fairly simple: we need to do a better job of preparing for the negotiation than the other side does. A big part of this preparation is obtaining information about who we will be negotiating with.

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