November 10, 2017

In Negotiating, It’s All About What You Know

Knowledge is power especially in negotiations

Knowledge is power especially in negotiations

Image Credit: pedro veneroso

If you have a chance to talk with experienced negotiators, you’ll often hear them tell you “knowledge is power”. What they are talking about, in simple terms, is that the more that you know as you go into a negotiation, the better you can expect to do during the negotiations no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques are being used. Depending on how much you know about what is being negotiated, what the current situation is for the other side of the table, and even what’s going on at your company, you’ll be better equipped to walk away with the deal that you are looking for. The trick is knowing how to get the information that you’ll need…

What Kind Of Information Do You Need?

When it comes time to making sure that you have the knowledge that you are going to need to be successful in your next negotiation, there really is no limit as to what kinds of knowledge that you should be looking for. If you go into a negotiation lacking the basic sets of knowledge that you’ll need, then you are going to be left with an overall feeling of powerlessness.

So what kinds of information should you be looking for? You should start with making sure that you know everything that you can about your own product and as long as you are doing that you should become an expert about your company. Once you have this information under control, you need to start to gather as much information about your competition as well as the other side of the table and the organization that they work for. The more of this type of information that you’ll be able to collect, the stronger your position will become.

To get the most out of your next negotiation what you need to have is answers. Answers to a lot of different questions. These questions include how the customer currently feels about your product or service. How much of a risk taker the other side of the table is. Has the other side had any experiences with your competition and if so, what do they think about them? How important is this negotiation to the other side?

How Can You Get The Information That You Need?

Knowing that you need to collect information before starting your next negotiation is one thing, actually getting the information that you need is something else. The good news for you is that a lot of the information that you want won’t actually be coming from the other side of the table. Rather, it will often come to you from the other people who are a part of the other side’s organization. This means that collecting this information may not be your job – you can have other people in your organization help you out and collect it.

If you take the time to educate people in your organization as to what types of information you are looking for before a negotiation starts, then they’ll know what to on the lookout for when they talk with their peers in the other side’s organization. Time is always an element in any negotiation and this means that as negotiators we need to realize that if we want to get the deal that we need, we’re going to have to take the time to collect the information that we’ll have to have.

It turns out that one of the best ways to collect the information that you are going to need in order to get the most out of your next negotiation is to become a good listener. You become a good listener by being an active listener. This means that you have to keep looking at the other side while they are speaking and, at times, you need to encourage them to tell you more. The more that he or she talks, the more you are going to learn about their situation. We need to realize that we like to hear ourselves talk; however, during a negotiation we need to shut up and let the other side do the talking. You don’t want to argue with them. You don’t want to interrupt them. Don’t let yourself be distracted. Instead, take the time to listen and learn. The negotiation will turn out better for you if you can do this.

What All Of This Means For You

There is the classic saying that “knowledge is power” and nowhere is this truer than in a principled negotiation. The more that you know about your product, your company, and the other side the more likely you are to be able to walk away from the negotiation with the deal that you are looking for.

When we walk into our next negotiation, the amount of information that we have about the negotiation will determine our level of power. More information means more power, less information means more powerlessness. In order to go into your next negotiation with the information that you need, you first have to make sure that you know everything about your product and your company. Next, you have to gather information about your competition and the other side of the table. You’ll have to use other people in your organization to help you get answer to the questions that you have. You can get a lot of the knowledge that you need by becoming a good listener and getting the other side to talk more.

Becoming a good negotiator is almost like becoming a good mind reader. You want to be able to anticipate the other side’s every move before they make it. In order to make this happen you are going to have to have collecte as much information about them and about the negotiation as is possible. If you take the time to master the art of collecting knowledge, then you’ll be able to get the deal that you want out of your next negotiation.

– 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 allocate to collecting the knowledge that you’ll need for your next negotiation?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

So what’s your goal for your next negotiation? If I was going to hazard a guess, I’d be willing to bet that in one way shape or form you are going to be trying to maximize the amount of money that you walk away from the table with no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques are used. No matter if it is how much the other side is going to pay you or how little you are going to have to pay them, the goal is the same – maximize the amount of money that is in your pocket. How to make this happen can be a bit of a mystery; however, it turns out that it all revolves around time.

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