When I’m working with negotiators who are trying to become better, they always ask me what the secret to moving to the next level is. For years I always told them that there was no “silver bullet” that would allow them to make the jump. It was just going to take a lot of hard work.
Lately I’ve decided that I’ve been wrong. It turns out that there is one thing that any negotiator can do that will allow him or her to move up to the next level. This secret turns out to be something that all of us should be doing anyway. In fact I think that it should really be part of the negotiation definition: planning the negotiation.
Negotiating Is Dynamic, Why Bother To Plan?
Nobody could possibly object to the idea of creating a plan to guide your actions during a negotiating session, right? If this is what you think, then you’d be wrong. I get a lot of push back from my clients when I suggest this.
What they tell me is that they view negotiations as being a dynamic thing. They don’t think that a plan will do them any good – it will quickly become useless and so why waste the time creating one in the first place?
I have a saying that I share with my clients when they say this: plan your work, work your plan, and it will all work out. Yes, a lot of things that you can’t possibly anticipate may happen during a negotiation process. However, by having a plan you’ll know where you want to go during the negotiations and you’ll know how you want to get there.
The Best Way To Develop A Negotiating Plan That Will Work
If I’ve been able to convince you that having a plan for your next negotiation is the way to go, then perhaps your next question will be how can you get better at creating plans for negotiating? It turns out that this is actually pretty easy to do.
The first thing that you’ll want to do is to do some role playing. Because of the dynamic nature of negotiating, you’ll never be able to know exactly how the other side is going to react to your proposals. If you can get someone to play the role of the other side of the table, then when you make your proposals you just might be surprised by their reaction. This is a good thing – you can update your plan to take this kind of reaction into account.
Additionally, during the actual negotiations you will want to make sure that you and your team have enough time to make sure that you are staying on plan. This means that you should plan on taking frequent caucus breaks. Only by re-synching with your team will you be able to get your side of the table back onto your plan if things have goon awry.
What All Of This Means For You
All of us want to become better negotiators. We spend a lot of time researching new negotiation styles and negotiating techniques; however, it turns out that one of the most powerful ways to become better has been under our noses all along: practice planning. It’s so simple that we’ve overlooked it for too long.
Sometimes a negotiation seems to be too dynamic. I mean how could you ever hope to plan for something that changes that much? However, it turns out that by having a plan, you’ll always know where you want to go and how you’ll get there.
In order to make sure that your plan will work for you, you can take the extra step and do some role playing before the actual negotiations start. By doing this you can adjust your plan so that it accounts for the actions that you believe that the other side may take.
Having a plan gives you something that every negotiator needs before a principled negotiation starts: self-confidence. If you know what you want and how you’re going to get it, then there’s a much better chance that what you’ve negotiated is going to end up producing a good deal for both sides.
– 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 spend creating a plan for your next sales negotiation?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
The goal of any negotiation is to get the other side of the table to see things your way. Hmm, how are we going to make that happen? What you are going to have to do is to become skilled at finding ways to support the position that you are taking. In order to get better at doing this, I’ve got 5 tips that will boost your skills…