The Ultimate Secret Of Negotiating Success

by drjim on August 5, 2016

The secret to being a successful negotiator is to care, but not too much

The secret to being a successful negotiator is to care, but not too much
Image Credit: Dennis Skley

As negotiators we all want to be successful. We may define what we mean by success differently, but in the end it all comes down to the same thing – we want to get our way in the negotiations without having to give too much away. Although there are many different negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that we can use to make this happen, it turns out that there is really one thing that is going to control just how successful we’ll be in our next negotiation.

Negotiations Are Always Better When You Are Negotiating For Someone Else

There are a lot of us out there that tend to believe that one negotiation is pretty much like any other negotiation. Oh sure, there are the big ones and then there are the smaller ones, but in the end we believe that we approach all of them in the same way. However, it turns out that this is not the case. We negotiators view negotiations that we agree to do for other people very differently than those that we do for ourselves.

When we agree to do a negotiation for someone else, we are agreeing to attempt to get what they want to get out of that negotiation. I’d like to say that in most cases we do a pretty good job of negotiating for the people who are paying us to do so. Why you ask? It’s pretty simple – we don’t really know them very well. What this means for us is that we don’t really care about the result that they get out of the negotiation. Yes, we want the best deal for them, but it’s not going to be the end of the world for us if they don’t get it.

It is by having this attitude that we are able to gain some perspective on the negotiation. It allows us to take a step back and observe how things are unfolding in a cold, detached way. We do care about the people that we are working for, but we really don’t care about them all that much. This allows us to let the other side of the table know that we could live without a deal. You can make them think that you have other options or other alternatives. This provides you with a great deal of power in this negotiation.

Why It’s Important That You Not Care Too Much

A lot of what makes us a good negotiator for someone else goes out the door when we are negotiating for ourselves. One of the reasons that these negotiations are so different is that we can view negotiations that we do for others as being a form of a game. However, when we are negotiating for ourselves it’s no longer a game.

The biggest problems that we face in these personal negotiations is that we really do care about the outcomes. What we are going to be able to get out of this negotiation is going to have a direct impact on our lives. Unfortunately what this means is that the other side of the table is able to tell we really want this car, house, or bank loan and so all of a sudden they find that they have the upper hand in this negotiation.

If we want to become a better negotiator for ourselves, we are going to have do some hard work. What we are going to want to do is to take some of the skills that we bring to the table when we are negotiating for others and use it during our personal negotiations. What we need to stop doing is allowing the other side to determine that we both need and want a deal with them. Instead, we need to find ways to communicate to them that although we do care about this negotiation, it’s just that we don’t care all that much about the negotiation’s outcome.

What All Of This Means For You

Everyone who engages in a principled negotiation wants to be successful. The trick, of course, is to make sure that you fully understand what success is in your next negotiation. You’ll want to be able to reach the deal that you want and need without having to give up too much to the other side. In order to make this happen, you need to fully understand what it’s going to take to make you successful.

We generally engage in two different types of negotiations. One set of negotiations are where we are negotiating to get something for ourselves. The other set is when we are negotiating to get something for someone else. What is somewhat surprising is that we generally do a much better job when we are negotiating for someone else. The reason for this is that we really don’t care all that much about the outcome. We don’t necessarily have a personal stake in it and we know that we can always walk away from the deal. This is often not the case when we are negotiating for ourselves.

In order to become better negotiators in our personal lives we need to take the time to understand how we can introduce more distance into our personal negotiations. Just like when we are negotiating for someone else, we need to understand that we have to be able to walk away if the deal is not one that we can live with.

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

Question For You: If you really want a personal deal to go through, what can you do to distance yourself from the outcome?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

When I’m working with negotiators who want to become better, one of the questions that I’m presented with the most often is not about different negotiation styles or negotiating techniques, instead it is “what is the best way to start a negotiation”. The answer to this question is “any way that will end up getting you the deal that you want”. However, perhaps we need to be a little bit more specific about the things that you need to be doing in order to start your next negotiation correctly.

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