How high can you go during a negotiation?

How high can you go during a negotiation?
Image Credit: Hartwig HKD

When you are negotiating with someone, should you aim high and risk losing the deal or should you aim low and risk leaving money on the table? We’ve all heard the phrase “Ask for more and you’ll get more” right? However, in the world of high stakes negotiating with all of its negotiation styles and negotiating techniques, does this really apply? It turns out that it does; however, your job just might be working against you.

What Should You Be Asking For During A Negotiation?

When we enter into a negotiation we have a series of decisions to make. When we present a proposal to the other side, we’d like to present them with a proposal that would create the best deal for us. This type of proposal might have the highest price, or the longest delivery time, etc. Deep down inside, we know that the other side will never agree to this, but it’s a good place to start.

One of the things that you need to realize about a negotiation is that there is a direction associated with every negotiation. What this means is that if you lead off your proposal with a value that you feel is going to be too high – they’ll never pay this, then you still have options. You can lower your price / shorten your delivery date / etc. However, if you start out offering the other side a low price and they accept it, you won’t have the opportunity to go back and raise it later on.

It turns out that in negotiations, if you aim higher, then you have a better chance of coming out better. As an example of this, if the value of your product with a nice profit margin is $100, then you should ask for $120. No, you probably won’t get the other side to pay you $120, but every dollar over $100 is going to be pure profit for you and so you need to ask for it. There have been a number of scientific experiments that back this up – if we ask for more, we end up getting more.

Why Do We Have Such Problems Asking For What We Should Be Asking For?

If we understand the basic concept of “if you ask for more, you get more”, then this naturally leads to the question: why don’t we do it more often? Rare is the time that we ever believe that our company has set its prices too low. The reason that this never happens has to do with the jobs that we currently have.

Our jobs do us a disservice – they have trained us to be poor negotiators. Due to a wide variety of inputs that we get while we are working at our jobs day-after-day, we get messages that tell us over and over again that the price and other features of our product are too high or not right for our customers. What this means is that quickly we forget about all of the power that we have as negotiators and we allow ourselves to get knocked down.

As negotiators we run into a lot of people who tell us “no”. What this means is that when we enter into a negotiation, we often go in with a negative frame of mind. All too often we have heard people saying bad things about our product in terms of its price, its features, its shipping, and perhaps even good things about our competitors. What you need to do is to shift gears. You need to take charge of your thinking process and realize that negotiating power is in the eyes of the beholder. What you need to realize is that in negotiating power is simply a state of mind and you actually have as much power as you think that you have.

What All Of This Means For You

When we are getting ready to start a principled negotiation, we are faced with a number of critical questions. One of the most important of these is if we should start out asking for a lot or play it safe and ask for just a little bit. We all have heard the phrase “Ask for more and you’ll get more”, but when it comes to negotiating does this really apply?

When we are making our first proposal to the other side of the table, we need to decide if we want to present them with a deal that we know that they probably won’t accept. The answer is yes – they won’t accept it, but it does provide everyone with a place to start from. The reason that we want to do this is that it’s always easier to lower your price than to try to raise it later on. Studies have shown that if you ask for more, then you are going to end up getting more. We often don’t have the courage to ask for more because our jobs are filled with rejection and this teaches us that we don’t have power. However, it turns out that we may have more power than we thought that we did.

The next time that you enter into a negotiation, make sure that you do so with a good attitude. You need to remind yourself that you have more power than you realize and that you should present the other side with a deal that will allow you to negotiate to the deal that you want to get to. Believe in yourself and you’ll be able to get the deal that you want.

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

Question For You: What’s the best way to get a positive frame of mind before a negotiation starts?

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

When I’m working with negotiators who are just starting out, I’m often asked the question “how can I win a negotiation?” Outside of the obvious issue with “winning” a negotiation, the question is actually a fairly good question. What my students are really asking me is what they can do in order to make sure that when they walk away from the negotiating table, they feel that they’ve been able to reach a good deal with the other side. I turns out that this all comes down to how much power we have.

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Just Exactly How Do You Negotiate?

by drjim on September 15, 2017

If you want to do a good job, you first have to know how to negotiate

If you want to do a good job, you first have to know how to negotiate
Image Credit: Brian Kelley

Often when I’m working with new negotiators, they’ll ask me the classic question “how do I negotiate?” This is a fair question – even if it is a bit broad. We all negotiate every day even if we don’t really realize that we are doing it. What my students are really asking me is how they should go about conducting themselves during a formal negotiation. This may be a new experience for them, so that makes the answer to this question very important to them.

You Need To Understand The Position That You Are In

So when you enter into a negotiation, what do you really have going for you? One of the most important things that you have on your side is the power of commitment. What you need to realize is that this is exactly what has allowed other negotiators to be very, very successful.

What you are going to be working with is going to be a willingness to take risks – you are going to be willing to gamble with the outcome of the negotiations in order to see if you can capture a bigger deal than you thought was possible. You are going to be working with the power of legitimacy – you are supposed to be right here, right now. You will use your power of wooing the other side. You will use your power of knowledge of what you want and what the other side is trying to get. You may also in certain circumstances have the power of competition. All of this is based on you having the power of time which in the end will control how your negotiation turns out.

When you are dealing with a negotiating situation in which you are part of a team that is involved in the negotiation, you will have a key responsibility. It will be your job to enhance, fortify, and bolster the morale and powers of your team. They will experience ups and downs as a part of the negotiation and you need to be there to make sure that they have the support that they are going to need during the entire process.

How To Go About Conducting A Negotiation

All of this discussion about what powers you’ll have when you enter into a negotiation is nice, but it does lead to the most important question that my students ask me: how do I actually go about conducting one of these negotiations properly. The first thing that you have to do is before the negotiations even start, you need to take the time to look at yourself, what position you’ll be taking, who you’ll be negotiating with, and the negotiating process.

Once you feel that you have a good understanding of everything that is going to be in play during this negotiation, you need to have an understanding of what the other side is going to be doing. They will be using their negotiation styles and negotiating techniques along with tactics and you are going to have to realize that what they are doing may be true or they are using tactics. When this happens, you are going to have to buy yourself some time. You’ll use this time to think about how the negotiations are going. You are going to want to determine what things you can do in order to counter the tactics that the other side may be using.

Once you have this all worked out, you need to take the next step. You need to make a decision about how you want to proceed with the negotiation and then just plunge in and do it. Your goal needs to be to be searching for ways that you can help the other side to change their mind. You’ve got a lot of options that you can use to make this happen, but perhaps you won’t have to use them. Your goal needs to be to find ways to entice the other side with your proposal and get them to commit to it. You’ve got to realize that negotiation is a game and it has to be played the right way.

What All Of This Means For You

Negotiating can appear to be a complex undertaking from the outside. Often first time negotiators are dealing with the question of just exactly how they should go about starting and conducting a formal principled negotiation . It turns out that they actually have a great deal more going for them at the start of a negotiation than they may realize.

They’ve got the power of commitment. They’ve got a willingness to take risks, the power of legitimacy, and all of the power that time grants them. When the negotiation starts, they need to realize that they need to start by taking the time to look at all of the people and issues that will be involved in the negotiation. Next they need to realize that the other side will be using tactics as a part of their negotiating strategy and so they need to buy themselves time to evaluate how they want to respond to the tactics. They need to have a goal to win the other side over to their way of thinking by playing the game of negotiation correctly.

Negotiating is a skill. Just like any other skill it can be learned by both study and practice. As negotiators, we need to understand that the other side will be using their learned tactics against us and we need to both recognize and then react to them correctly. Take the time to plan out your next negotiation and you’ll discover that you are able to walk away with the deal that you were looking for.

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

Question For You: When the other side starts to use tactics against you, do you think that you should respond with your own tacitcs?

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

When you are negotiating with someone, should you aim high and risk losing the deal or should you aim low and risk leaving money on the table? We’ve all heard the phrase “Ask for more and you’ll get more” right? However, in the world of high stakes negotiating with all of its negotiation styles and negotiating techniques, does this really apply? It turns out that it does; however, your job just might be working against you.

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The Role That Identification And Morality Play In Negotiations

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How To Change People’s Behavior During A Negotiation

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Three Ways To Get What You Want Out Of Your Next Negotiation

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The Secret To A Successful Negotiation: PPP

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The trick to being successful in a negotiation is finding some way to get the other side to do what you want them to do for you. Although this is easy to say, it turns out that it’s actually quite difficult to do. We never want to go in to a negotiation blind and that’s […]

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Why Are Some Negotiations So Hard To Wrap Up?

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Every time that we start a negotiation, we have the same hope: that we’ll be able to use our negotiation styles and negotiating techniques to quickly and efficiently get to the end of the negation and walk away with a deal that we can be proud of. However, all too often it seems like sometimes […]

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