So why do we even bother negotiating with the other side? The answer is simple: we need the other side do or provide us with what we want. Study after study has shown that most people (this includes me) believe that we’re so smart that nobody can sell anything to us. Good negotiators know that the truth turns out to be that we can be persuaded to do something if, and only if, we don’t recognize that the other side is using a “sales” technique on us. Why should this matter to you? Simple – when you are negotiating with the other side and you take the time to use a few persuasion techniques then you will be taking advantage of what modern psychological research has revealed about how we can make our ideas and negotiating positions more credible and more believable. Let’s talk about how you can accomplish this…
Use a rifle, not a shotgun: If you want the other side to accept your ideas and make them their own, you need to aim at a narrow target. This means that you need to stop doing what we all instinctively do during a negotiation: back the truck up and dump all of the information that we’ve collected about our position all over the other side. It turns out that this will just end up overwhelming them and not do much to bring them over to our side. Instead, what you should do is some field work before you even start to negotiate. You need to find out what’s important to the other side. This will allow you to focus your persuasion on those and only those points.
Make It Story Time: Stories are a fantastic way for us to learn and they can be very effective way to persuade someone. However, if it sounds like you are giving a sales pitch, then you can be assured that telling a story won’t work. Instead, if you focus on a story that has real meaning, then the other side’s unconscious mind will automatically draw the necessary connections without any help from you and the result will be that they end up doing the persuasion for you. The key to telling an effective story is to once again pinpoint what matters to the other side and then tell a story about a similar idea or concept. This indirect approach is the secret to winning the other side over to your way of thinking and keeps them from feeling like you are using a hard sell technique on them.
How have you won the other side over in the past? Have you ever tried something that did not work out the way that you had intended? Has someone tried to persuade you to do something with a story during a negotiation but blown it by turning it into an obvious sell job? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.