4 Ways To Simplify Your Next Negotiation

by drjim on October 24, 2014

Simple is always better

Simple is always better
Image Credit

Let’s face it – with all of the different negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that we use, negotiations can become very complex if we are not careful. As a negotiator you should always be looking for ways to simplify the negotiating process. However, at the same time you need to make sure that you’ll be getting the best deal possible. Exactly how to balance these two goals is what the following four tips are designed to help you do…

Split The Difference

We’ve all heard this one before. When we’ve run into a disagreement with the other side about some part of the negotiation, generally the price, we tell them that we should just “split the difference”. This means that we’re willing to meet them half way on whatever the gap is between our current positions.

This can be a powerful technique to simplify a negotiation. However, you need to be careful here. You are going to have to decide if a split would be to your advantage. If it is, the simplicity and apparent fairness of this approach often makes the other side willing to take you up on your offer.

Discuss It Later On

It’s entirely possible that your negotiation has ground to a halt simply because the two sides of the table have been unable to agree on a single issue. Don’t let this derail your negotiations. Instead, suggest that you discuss that issue later on.

The reason that this technique can work to simply your next negotiation is because it give both sides of the table time to cool off. After you’ve worked through a number of other issues, you’ll be that much closer
to reaching a deal with the other side. When you both get back to the issue that was causing you so much trouble, you’ll both be calmer and more motivated to resolve it.

Let Someone Else Decide

As a negotiator, we can often think that it is our responsibility to solve every problem that comes up during a negotiation. This can cause problems because sometimes we just don’t have the answer to a sticky issue – the solution may be, as they say, “above our pay grade”.

In these cases, a simple way to resolve the issue that is causing you so much trouble is to hand it off to your boss or another responsible party to have them solve. it. Once they’ve come up with a solution that both sides can live with, you can then get back to the job of hashing out a deal with the other side of the table.

Think Outside The Box

This phrase has been overused in the past few years, but it is still a powerful concept. It is entirely possible that during your next negotiation you will run into a brick wall – neither side will be able to propose a solution to the other side that they can live with. If you are not careful, a deal just is not going to happen,

In this case, sometimes it’s a good idea to take a break, go get some other sensory inputs and clear your mind. When you come back to the negotiating table tell the other side that you are committed to finding a solution that both of you can live with. Then start brainstorming with them. Throw out every idea that comes to you and see if you can find an idea that may seem outlandish, but which they could agree to. This is how outside of the box thinking can save your next negotiation.

What All Of This Means For You

Occam’s razor states that sometimes the correct answer to a problem is often the simplest answer. When it comes to negotiating, we can make a principled negotiation so complex that no deal is going to be possible. What we need to do is to find ways to prevent this from happening.

We’ve discussed four different ways to simplify a negotiation. The first is to offer to split the difference. The next is to put off the issue that is proving to be hard to resolve until later. We can also punt and offer to allow someone who was not involved in the negotiations to make a decision. Finally, we can suggest that both parties think outside of the box in an effort to come up with unique solutions.

No matter which approach we end up using, making a negotiation simpler improves our chances of being able to reach an agreement with the other side. Take the time to pick one of the techniques that we’ve discussed and see if you can make your next negotiation simpler and more successful.

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

Question For You: Can you think of a reason why you might not want to make your next negotiation simpler?

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’m not perfect – are you? I’m willing to bet that you are willing to admit that, like me, you are not perfect. However, when we know that we are not perfect a most peculiar thing seems to happen: we try to ignore it. It turns out that this is a big mistake and when you combine it with all of the negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that are used during a negotiation, it can have a dramatic impact on the types of deals that we can reach.

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The Power Of Favors During A Negotiation

by drjim on October 17, 2014

Favors can get you more than just a thank you

Favors can get you more than just a thank you

Image Credit

In a negotiation we want the other side of the table to make concessions to us so that we can get what we need out of the negotiations. However, in all honesty, no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques we use, they probably are really not all that motivated to give us the concessions that we want. What this means for us is that we’re going to have to find a way to get them to want to give us what we both want and need. Hmm, how can we make this happen?

One Good Turn Deserves Another

When we want the other side of the table to make a concession to us, there are a lot of different ways to go about making this happen. One that comes to mind right away is to force them to give in to us. In some cases we might be able to do this; however, the rest of the negotiation just got a lot harder because now they are going to be resenting us.

A much better way to get what we want out of a negotiation is to make the other side want to make a concession to us. One of the best ways to go about making this happen is to use the “one good turn deserves another” technique. Note that this is very different from the concept of a “freebie” – in this case you are not giving something away. Rather, you are doing something for the other side and you expect them to then do something for you.

The key to making this technique work for you is that you need to know what issues that are being negotiated are important to you and which ones are not. You are going to want to give in to the other side on a number of the unimportant issues and then ask them to give in to you on one of the important issues.

How To Be A Good Negotiator

You’ll never be able to get your way on every issue in a negotiation. A good negotiator knows that he or she is going to have to exchange some minor losses for some major wins.

Using this technique where you give in on minor issues to get them to give in on major issues is how you get the other side to be willing to make the concessions that you want them to make. What a good negotiator realizes is that not all issues are equal – the exchange of concessions does not have to include items of equal value.

An example of this would be if you gave in on five different items and then asked the other side to give in on one. Those five items may have had very little value to you, but the one that you want them to give in to you on might be a very big deal to you. Make sure that you keep the value that you place on the different items that are being negotiated hidden from the other side.

What All Of This Means For You

Getting the other side of the table to give us what we want is what negotiations are all about. It’s how to make this happen that is the hard thing to do.

The key to getting the concessions from the other side that you want is to make concessions to them. Give in on the little issues that you really don’t care about, let these mount up and then ask them to give in on something that you really do care about. Don’t be afraid to make concessions to the other side. This is all part of the process and you’ll need to give in order to get.

Skilled negotiators realize that a principled negotiation is all about both giving and getting. Taking the time to give into the other side will allow you to get them to give in to you one the issues that, in the end, really matter to you. Learn how to do this and you’ll be the negotiator who always gets what you want from a negotiation.

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

Question For You: How many issues do you think that you need to give in on before you can ask the other side to give in to you?

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

Let’s face it – with all of the different negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that we use, negotiations can become very complex if we are not careful. As a negotiator you should always be looking for ways to simplify the negotiating process. However, at the same time you need to make sure that you’ll be getting the best deal possible. Exactly how to balance these two goals is what the following four tips are designed to help you do…

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